The undercover operations exposed involve two Special Branch units that focused on protest groups and what would in the 2000s be given the name Domestic Extremism. These were the Special Demonstration Squad, operating since 1968, and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit. The lack of supervision and oversight of their undercover police operations has led to more than a dozen official inquiries, most of which are internal and confidential. Convictions of campaigners have been overturned, and declared unsafe because it had not been disclosed that undercover police officers were at the heart of activities, and it is highly likely that further convictions will be challenged. A number of court cases have been initiated by women tricked into intimate relationships with undercover agents (and in a few cases having children by them. Hearings in Parliament have questioned the more extreme methods employed, such as the use of death certificates of children to provide a false identity for the spies involved; while using Parliamentary Privilege, Green MP Caroline Lucas has accused one spy of being an agent provocateur, committing arson while an activist with the Animal Liberation Front.
Elsewhere another officer, Peter Francis, came forward with details of how the undercover police were used to smear the Stephen Lawrence family. It has become apparent that a culture of abuse grew up around the units involved in covert policing and how that intelligence was used. So much so, that a public inquiry was announced in 2014.
Follow the links below to learn about the secretive world of undercover policing, the shadowy units and the personalities involved, as well as context for the stories seen in the news.
Undercover Operations in Policing Protest and Dissent
- The Undercover Officers: profiles of known undercover police.
- The Covert Police Units: the units which spied on protests and protestors.
- Police Officers: the senior police who knew and had oversight
- International Surveillance and Undercover Groups
- Non-UK undercover police
- Known Infiltrators
- Corporate Intelligence Agencies and Private Investigation Agencies: the private security firms who have spied on campaign groups.
- UndercoverResearch: Ex-Cops in the Security Industry: police officers who have taken their knowledge and experience to the corporate world.
- Smearing of the Stephen Lawrence Campaign
- Use of Identities of Children
- Sexual Relations
- Domestic Extremism
- Convictions Overturned
- Consultancy Association Blacklist
- Far Right
Holding Authorities to Account
- Official Inquiries
- Rules & Regulation on Undercover Policing
- Parliamentary Hearings and Questions
- Cases in Court
- Official Inquiries, Cases in Court & Questions - Abroad
- International Policy and Agreements on Undercover Operations
Targets and Background
- Targeted Groups
- Targeted Events