Mark Jenner, alias Mark Cassidy, was an undercover officer who was deployed against left wing groupDs in North London from 1995-2000, though was most active in the period 1995-99. He worked as part of the Metropolitan Police's Special Demonstration Squad and much of his infiltration would have served under the supervision of its then head of operations Bob Lambert. His targets were a number of groups based around the Colin Roach Centre, particularly union organising and anti-fascism. It is also believed that some of his work was to monitor groups and individuals who had potential sympathies with Irish republicanism.
He was publicly outed in 2011, and this reached national interest in 2013 when his former partner "Alison" testified before a Home Affairs Select Committee accompanied by an expose in the Guardian. The Metropolitan Police have maintained the position of neither confirming or denying that he was deployed by them.
Part of the story of Mark Jenner's deployment - his work with Red Action - is missing. If you are able to help us, even with filling in background material from the time, we are keen to hear from you. Likewise, if you encountered Jenner as Mark Cassidy and have recollections of him and his activities, please get in touch. Email us at undercoverresearch.net.
- 1 Cover Story & Personality
- 2 Deployment
- 3 Colin Roach Centre
- 4 Anti Fascist Action / Red Action
- 5 Irish Republican interest
- 6 "Alison"
- 7 Exit
- 8 Exposure
- 9 Concerns
- 10 Blacklisting
- 11 Other undercovers in Hackney
- 12 External resources
- 13 Notes
Cover Story & Personality
When Jenner arrived on the scene in early 1995 he claimed to be aged 27, born in Dublin but raised in Birkenhead with a Catholic background. He said he was previously with Militant in Liverpool.  He gave his occupation as a builder / joiner and said he was still involved in that trade, but was new to Hackney. To support this cover he had a bag of tools and a fake job at the Manor Works in Clapham.
The account he told to Alison was a story of a father who was killed by a drunk driver when he was aged eight and that his mother had remarried to someone he did not get on with. A half-brother lived in Rome, his grandmother was dead. His grandfather was apparently alive, but when Jenner and Alison visited to Birkenhead where he supposedly lived, he was away on a church outing. He would close down or deflect conversations that that would cause him to touch on his childhood or past life, and Alison did not meet his family or friends. Most of the other undercover officers had similar legends of a difficult youth and deceased family to explain away the lack of close relatives in their lives.
Jenner is described as exuding a 'tough, working-class quality', tough and coarse as well as being irreverent and funny; he also apparently saw himself as 'something of a poet'. Alison speaks of him making friends easily, while Mark Metcalf says he was ' an outgoing character who had few problems in engaging with people'. Another friend of his at the time, Melanie, agreed with these assessments and said that he could be kind and funny and was also good at listening to people; he seemed interested in people’s opinions and backgrounds but never aroused suspicion. She added that he came across as genuine, he didn’t try to be everyone’s friend and was rarely drunk at activist social gatherings; he was well respected within their network.
Until he moved in with Alison, he lived in a small, bare bedsit in Hackney (which he may have kept on). Jenner also drove a red ex-postal van which he used extensively to transport activists around, something which would have allowed to find out where they were living. Later it was replaced by a white transit, supposedly from his work. Once he insisted on driving Metcalf to his parent's house in the north of England despite the van breaking down. Alison also noted that he was a 'phenomenal driver', at one point doing a journey from the top of Scotland to London in one day, and a good photographer.
A football supporter, he said he followed the Birkenhead based Tranmere Rovers, going to about eight or nine matches a season, attending a number of their matches of it with Mark Metcalf and Alison. It also appears that he had a wife and family who lived in south London and whom he visited while on deployment.
He was also a strong person who did not back away from physical confrontation, including challenging aggressive strike-breakers. When during a self-defence practice session his nose was broken accidentally by Mark Metcalf, he did not blink. Also self-educated and read a lot.
His initial appearance was with a mullet and rat-tail, though in 1997 he removed this and took to wearing the then typical green bomber jacket style preferred in AFA circles.
Colin Roach Centre
The focus of Jenner's deployment was the Colin Roach Centre] (CRC). Founded in 1993 the CRC was a leading centre of radical activism in North London, based in Bradbury Street in the borough of Hackney. It was the home of, or connected to a number of community and family justice campaigns (some of which were targeted by the Special Demonstration Squad as the Ellison Inquiry found out - see Ellison Review, published March 2014). One of the campaigns was the The Hackney Community Defence Association (HCDA), which had been successfully highlighting police corruption in the borough to the point that the police were constantly loosing court cases. In December 1994, the Centre was burgled and damaged, though money and valuable equipment was left behind. It is believed this was an attempt by the State to find the Defence Information Service, a database on corrupt police created by members of the HCDA; in fact it was stored elsewhere.
The Centre was also a base for trade-union activism, squatting advice and is was affiliated to Anti-Fascist Action, a group which targeted the far-right presence on the streets at the time, and had strong connections with the surrounding Turkish and Kurdish communities. Along with other AFA connected groups, the CRC sponsored the founding of the Independent Working Class Association in 1995 and affiliated to it.
Jenner at the CRC
Jenner appeared in the North London left-wing scene late in 1994 and turned up at the Colin Roach Centre in early 1995 attending events and meetings. According to Mark Metcalf, who was coordinator for the Centre:
- Within weeks he had thrown himself into virtually every area of the centre’s political life and quickly began writing for our internal bulletin and the quarterly magazine (called RPM) sold to the public. As the owner of a van he could also be relied upon to transport people and equipment to meetings and ensure they got home safely afterwards. Always polite and happy to help out, he soon became well liked and respected.
- As the main reason for wanting to get involved, Jenner claimed to have seen TV coverage of a demonstration by the families of people killed at the hands of the police, and radical lawyer Gareth Pierce speaking afterwards.
This demonstration is thought to have been the annual 'We Remember March', commemorating those who had died at the hands of local police, which took place on 18 March 1995 that year.
Melanie concurs with Metcalf's assessment of Jenner's activity, saying that in the period 1995-1997 he was at many meetings in the centre, including attending a meeting at the Centre in the evening of the day he first turned up. As well as trade union and anti-fascist work, he was also interested in the Malcolm Kennedy and other justice campaigns. By associating himself with individuals such as Metcalf, he would have gained social cachet. He and Alison were at Glastonbury one year with the Workers' Beer Company, raising money for the Centre.
Articles written by Mark Jenner included:
- A review of the report 'In the Line of Fire' published by the Pat Finucane centre (RPM Issue 1)
- 'Election selection - BNP? Not for me' (RPM issue 3)
In the article on the British National Party (BNP) Jenner is referred to as 'Mark C, member of the Colin Roach Centre and founder member of resistance'. Resistance was the imprint of the CRC and a number of pamphlets by Metcalf, Higgins and others were published through it. It was founded in July 1994 with the adoption of a Code of Conduct before Jenner arrived on the scene. However, he did contribute to the drawing up of its Constitution and participated in its first conference, which adopted the Constitution in October 1995.
The mid-1990s was a period of intense left-wing political activity in north London, particularly within the Colin Roach Centre; however, it was considered by some within the CRC that Jenner was not being as active as others. He demonstrated a lack of interest in the migrant / asylum seeker support work done by CRC (though he was not unusual in this) or the other help surgeries that the CRC provided for local people; likewise he displayed little interest in the links with the local Turkish and Kurdish communities.
During his deployment Jenner would have learned of activities and details of individuals of interest to the police, including attending the funeral of a prominent individual from the Poll Tax riot. To get this intelligence, Jenner used his association with Metcalf, who as an activist with the Trade Union Support Unit and the Poll Tax Union was involved in supporting those arrested during the Poll Tax riots.
Half-way through his deployment Jenner begins to scale back his involvement with CRC itself, partly through his increasing interest in Red Action and a cooling relationship with Metcalf (see below). However, it is thought by some that part of his deployment was to work towards the closing of the CRC
Trying to cause tensions?
In the Summer of 1997, during a social event at a pub, he accused Melanie of making a pass at him. Though this caused bad blood within CRC, it did not become a major issue. Early on in his relationship with Alison, he had made the same claim of another leading individual within the Revolutionary Communist Party. Commenting on this incident, Melanie said she would not have done such a thing, and in hindsight regards as it a manipulative, ridiculous action for him to have claimed. The incident happened not long before Jenner started switching attention of his activities away from the Colin Roach Centre and AFA, and towards Red Action.
Union activity and blacklisting
Much of the work Jenner engaged within the Colin Roach Centre was union related, and remained so through-out his infiltration. In particular, he appears to have focused on the Building Workers Group (BWG) of which he became a member The building workers' union UCATT has said they have records of him as a member from 1996 to 1998, posing as a joiner living in Hackney and paying by direct debit - something which implies he had a bank account under his false name. During this period the union was negotiating over a series of high profile construction projects including the Jubilee Line extension and the Millennium Dome.
Jenner’s 1996 diary, left after he disappeared at the home he shared with “Alison”, show that he monitored meetings of UCATT and other unions. It lists attendance at a UCATT meeting (February), pay talks (May), a conference in Sheffield (June). Other notes from him also mention individual unions members of other unions such as TGWU and EPIU, as well as UCATT. On 12 July 1995 it is knewn he visited a meeting of the RMT Midland District.
Alison told the Mirror newspapers that union activity formed a “large part” of his day to day work. His activities included transporting people to picket sites where he would sell the BWG newssheet, and he was known for being a regular attendee at them. This activity included support of the Dahl Jansen and the JJ Fast Foods strikes (see below). He would often type up his handwritten notes of the union meetings he had been at, and asked Alison if he could use her mother's typewriter for this.
In 2014 UCATT placed a Freedom of Information Act request to the Metropolitan Police which included a specific question: "Did any member of the Special Demonstration Squad ever hold membership of construction union UCATT?", to which the police stated they would 'neither confirm nor deny'.
The JJ Fast Foods strike is a significant labour struggle that took place in Tottenham Hale, north London in late 1995 - early 1996. The majority of the employees were from the local Kurdish and Turkish community who had unionized under the TGWU banner, and it saw attacks on the strikers by the Metropolitan Police's Territorial Support Group (TSG) and fascists. For four months it was a leading site of disupte in north/east London, and saw a considerable amount of TSG deployment, with the police setting up a permanent control unit in a nearby car-park. The Colin Roach Centre, which was linked into the local Kurdish and Turkish community, joined with the Haringey Solidarity Group to form the JJ Fast Food Locked Out Workers Support Group, with their first meeting on 3rd November 1995. Working with the strikers, and local Kurdish and Turkish political groups - communist and anarchist) and other political activists (Militant Labour, individual Labour Party members), the Support Group planned various activities including collections, speakers, flyposting, boycotts and pickets. It also produced the Tottenham Picket bulletin. Pickets spread to companies being supplied by JJ Fast Foods - including demonstrations at Jenny's Burgers across north London. Exchanges with other sites of union resistance such as Liverpool Dockers and Hillingdon Hospital were also organised.
 It is known that Jenner attended pickets for this strike. and that militancy within the Kurdish community was of specific interest to Special Branch at the time.Cite error: Closing
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In 1997, Jenner was elected as Secretary of the Brian Higgins Defence Committee. Higgins was a well-known radical building worker and secretary of the Building Workers Group, who held also helped organise The (Workers) Republician Forum, a debating group focused on republicanism within the United Kingdom. He was sued by Dominic Hehir, a UCATT union official, for libel for having suggested that workers were not being properly defended by the union. The Defence Campaign started soon after Higgens was served with a libel writ (with threat of an injunction) on 9 November 1996 and ran until Hehir discontinued legal action on 28 January 1999. Jenner's role in as Secretary was mostly as a figurehead however; most of the actual work on the campaign such as answering correspondence was done elsewhere.
Anti Fascist Action / Red Action
From the beginning of his arrival, Jenner was very interested in anti-fascist street politics, and he became involved in Anti-Fascist Action - AFA.
This was a loose national coalition that tackled the right wing presence on the streets, made up of various groups, including Red Action and Workers Power, the anarchist Direct Action Movement (now SolFed) and other unaligned activists. The Colin Roach Centre had affiliated to North London AFA, the main branch of which was based in Islington and Jenner is known to have taken part in AFA events and knew various individuals who were involved with it. Some considered him a key activist in AFA in north London, though others recall his role as mainly being part of the collective rather than being a dominant figure, and that he had arrived on the scene after the period of significant AFA campaigning in East London in response to racist attacks had passed.
His interest in AFA was apparently sparked when he attend a talk given by Morris Beckman circa 1995. Beckman had discussed his involvement in the antifascist '43 Group' (active 1946-50). Afterwards Jenner went for a drink with some AFA members. Sometime after Alison discovered he had brought home the Red Action newspaper and he said he had joined 'to see the bigger picture'.
On 27 April 1996, Jenner is involved in an AFA protest against an Orange Order parade in central London. In a breach of agreement with his group he moves ahead of them and breaks a window of the White Hart pub on Theobalds Lane where Combat 18 and other loyalist elements were gathering. As a result of this breach, the police were able to take action and pen in the AFA contingent - leading to AFA activists being demonstrably angry towards him.
Jenner's only known arrest is on 16 November 1997, when he took part in in a counter-demonstration against a march by the National Front (NF) in Dover who were protesting against Romany asylum seekers. On the day, two counter protests had been called by the Socialist Alliance and Anti-Nazi League respectively and large a large police operation was in place. There was also a separate mobilization by Anti-Fascist Action which managed to confront the National Front marchers directly. TV footage of the day show Jenner as part of one group that had got in front of the NF march (Images 3), and was subsequently involved in scuffles with the police, at least one police dog being used against the anti-fascists(Image 4). In another bit of footage he can be seen shouting at the National Front, and then again with a group in front of coaches through which police were trying to clear a path so the National Front marchers could leave (Image 5). The arrest followed a fight between AFA activists and right wing squaddies associated with the National Front; charges were either dropped against Jenner or he was given a caution. ITN News reported six arrests.
- We are interested in speaking to others who attended this protest with Jenner / Cassidy. If you were there, please get in touch.
Initially, Jenner concerned himself only with AFA as a whole, attending meetings as someone from the CRC. However, by 1997, he was becoming more interested in Red Action, and by the end of his deployment was more involved with them than he was with CRC - something that became between him and Metcalf, who was at the time moving away from Red Action having previously been more involved.
It has also been noted that three trade union activists known to Jenner had the details of their involvement in a protest against fascists against a wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph war memorial in November 1999 passed on to the Consultancy Association. One of those mentioned, Steve Hedley, has pointed the finger at Jenner.
Irish Republican interest
Through-out his deployment, Jenner displayed an interest in Irish republicanism, presenting himself as naive about the background but wanting to find out more. Mark Metcalf has reason to believe that one aspect of Jenner's deployment was to check out his sympathies for republican paramilitaries because of his long standing support, exemplified by his previous involvement in the Troops Out Movement (TOM) for Irish independence. Melanie, who was also involved with TOM recalls being asked questions by Jenner in one conversation early on, something she now feels was him checking her out. She remembers him as being interested in republicanism and being on a journey to learn more about it. Though he was not that involved in Troops Out Movement, it seemed enough for him to join a 1995 delegation which afforded him an opportunity to meet Republican ex-prisoners and other important figures. Melanie also recalls that he was somewhat shocked following this visit to Northern Ireland.
The delegation occurred in August 1995 when Jenner used his red ex-postal van to take campaigners on a several-day trip to republican West Belfast and Derry with other English activists to learn more about the nationalist struggle, which included meeting Sinn Fein councillors (the visit was organised in part by Derry Sinn Fein councillor Mary Nelis). During this trip, while they were staying in West Belfast, Jenner rose early one morning to take a walk down the loyalist Shankill Road; something that gave rise to safety concerns, particularly for Jenner himself. He subsequently took part in the fighting, when nationalists clashed with the loyalist Apprentice Boys of Derry march on 12 August which left him with a bruising on his side. This was a significant event at the time when the Royal Ulster Constabularly mobilized in large numbers to allow the march to take place through nationalist areas. Over 100 plastic bullets were fired on republican counter-protests and the actions of the RUC were singled out for their violent nature.
According to Rob Evans and Paul Lewis:
- Special Branch sources believe Cassidy was asked to gauge the appetite among hard-core republicans for an end to violence. (...) The fact he was trusted to spy in Ireland was testament to his reputation. Among other SDS officers, Cassidy was considered a top operator.
He is also known to have attended events which had Irish nationalist sympathies.
It is of note that two years prior to Jenner's deployment, leading north London Red Action and AFA activist Pat Hayes had been convicted for a series of bombs in the capital claimed by the IRA. Hayes had acted as chief steward for a large AFA march in Bethnal Green, including a meeting with police. When the police raided Hayes' house in March 1993they seized a list of names of AFA activists, including a number of people who were associated with the Colin Roach Centre. One of the conversations Melanie recalls having with Jenner is him asking about Hayes, though it is likely to have been a topic of discussion at the time.
However, despite Red Action's Republican sympathies, AFA as a whole did not express Irish republican sympathies, as other constituent groups within AFA did not share them. Likewise, AFA's magazine did not make reference to the cause.
Alison is the alias of a left wing political activist who was involved with the Colin Roach Centre and anti-racism/fascism activity in Hackney from around 1993. Jenner joined CRC in late 1994 and they began a relationship in Spring 1995. Melanie recalls this relationship as having started quite quickly after Jenner made his appearance. Alison was 29 at the time and he moved into her flat in February 1996. Alison describes this relationship as: 'he was completely integrated into my life for five years', and he was being welcomed into her family. Nevertheless, he avoided public affections. In hindsight, Alison believes that she was selected to provide him with 'an excellent cover story': he was able to build on the trust she had in her causes and because he participated in family events. Evans and Lewis also make the point that his relationship with Alison was crucial to his success as a police spy from the point of view of the SDS.
During his time living with Alison, Jenner maintained the fiction of being in work, rising at 6.30am and earning enough to take long holidays to the Middle East and Vietnam. Unlike many other known undercover officers, Jenner's relationship with Alison appeared to be full time, he lived permanently at their shared flat, despite him having a wife. She describes the relationship from her point of view as being a very committed one, and that she was deeply in love with him. At some point Jenner was seeing counsellors over issues in both relationships simultaneously, in relation to Alison this was discuss his reluctance to have children.
Commenting on the effect of Jenner on her life, Alison said:
- Some of the consequences of that have meant that I have, for the last 13 years, questioned my own judgement and it has impacted seriously on my ability to trust, and that has impacted on my current relationship and other subsequent relationships. It has also distorted my perceptions of love and my perceptions of sex, and it has had a massive impact on my political activity.
and I withdrew from political activity.
Elsewhere, Alison describes the relationship as ultimately being abusive because of the humiliation, the impact of his disappearance and the revelation that he was a police officer so she had been deceived for five years of her life.
On 3rd February 2013, Alison was part of a group of three women who spoke in a private session to the Home Affairs Select Committee on the nature of their relationship with undercover officers and the effect it had on their lives. She submitted further evidence in a written statement shortly afterwards.
In the run up to his exit, Jenner, starts acting erratically (like most other undercovers before and after him). Christmas 1999 he is called away 'up north' (apparently as he had received a message on his pager saying 'Call Father Kelly', and which he responded saying that his grandfather in Birkenhead had a stroke). However, he did not let Alison come with him, and she now says of him: 'When he came back he was a very different man, and I don’t know what happened'. In Undercover, Alison says that he claimed to have rowed with his stepfather and punched him, and he subsequently went into a withdrawn, 'downward-spiral'.
In March 2000, Jenner leaves the home he shared with Alison, leaving a note saying 'We want different things. I can’t cope. We want different things. When I said I loved you I meant it, but I can’t do it'.
Following a distressed phone call from Alison, he returns the following weekend and stays for ten days, during which time he sleeps on the couch in his clothes and presents as depressed. She notices he has taken to wearing white trainers, which was not his usual footwear; he has also much less possessions than he had previously and said he had got rid of much and also left his work. He also had an investment magazine, and when asked about this he said was going to come into a large sum of money when he finished his last job and for her to 'indulge his idiosyncrasy'. In another odd incident during this time, while out on a walk together she notices that a car seems to be following them, to which Jenner responded 'take no notice'. Alison, having reflected on this time, believes it is possible that he should not have come back to see her. She wonders if he wanted her to know the truth. During the ten days when he returned he told her her: 'I'm the devil, I'm everything you hate'; he left a copy of the Franz Kafka book 'Amerika: The Man Who Disappeared'.
Jenner vanished for good in April 2000, leaving a note saying he is going to Germany to look for work He subsequently contacts Alison, claiming to be in Germany, sending a postcard and later a letter from Berlin. Evans and Lewis refer to his tactic of extracting himself as 'standard operating procedure for departing SDS spies'.
Melanie notes that though she had heard concerns by 1999, Jenner's departure did not cause much suspicions at the time.
Alison becomes suspicious within a month of Jenner's disappearance. She checks with the company he claimed to have worked for only to be told he had not the 'employment status' with them that he had told her, and that they had no contact number for him.
A number of issues which occurred during her time with him come back to the fore:
- At one point she had discovered a credit card in the name of "M. Jenner",, which he claimed to have purchased for £50 in a pub in order to obtain petrol. He claimed to be ashamed of this, and also made Alison promise to never tell anyone about it.
- When there was a loud noise of a car backfiring Alison saw him react by ducking down and covering his ears with his hands, the training position for security officers if a bomb goes off.
- Despite claiming to be a joiner, he had struggled to use a router and it took him a long time to fit a new kitchen in the home he and Alison shared just before he disappeared in spring 2000.
- He knew the high-ranking members of the Socialist Workers Party by sight though there was no reason for him to do so - at a party he had been able to identify a number of the SWP executive were also present.
She notes that he has left behind a number of odd things that she had not seen before, such as a balaclava, a keffiyeh and a copy of an animal welfare directory - these are odd as pro-Palestinian actvisim and animal rights had never been part of their politics.
She continues to check into his life and find out that his story that his father had died in 1975 in Birkenhead was not true.
In 2001, she contacts Metcalf, having learned he had shared his suspicions with some other members of CRC as early as 1997/8. Over the next decade she continues to try and find him, including hiring a private detective, who confirmed that 'Mark Cassidy' was a fictional character.
News that Mark Cassidy was in fact an undercover officer first emerged publicly in 2011 in an article by Mark Metcalf. This was followed up by an exposure in The Guardian in 2013 confirming not only had he been an undercover police officer but that his real name was Mark Jenner and it was believed at this point he was still with the police.
After his exposure, other oddities come to light:
- When the BNP threatened to attack a meeting in Islington where members of the Colin Roach Centre where acting as stewards, Jenner describes himself as being there as a 'shield'.
- Despite his prominent union activism, he does not appear on The Consultancy Association blacklist, although others active with him at the time were included.
- He had been seen in south London by another activist with a woman other than Alison, and carrying a child; this is presumed to have been his family who he continued to see while living with Alison.
A number of groups have expressed concern over the role that Mark Jenner would have had in their campaigning work, particularly as some of the issues are connected to policing. Others have noted that through the Colin Roach Centre and the HCDA he would have had access to confidential papers in legal cases against the police.
Within the Colin Roach Centre
In 2011, shortly after Jenner was exposed. Mark Metcalf wrote that in 1997 he began to have concerns about 'Mark Cassidy'. (This is supported by Melanie, who remembers Metcalf's concerns at the time.)
The concerns included:
- That he had used his van for the trip to Northern Ireland, though it would invariably noted and have its registration recorded by the police. He also, despite claiming to be a Catholic, took a walk down the Protestant stronghold of Shankill Road.
- Nobody met his family.
- That he did not appear to known any of the Tranmere Rovers' fans when he attended their matches with Metcalf.
Using the growing political difference between CRC and Red Action at the time, and Jenner's increased involvement with the latter  as suspicions grew through-out 1997, Jenner was quietly removed from opportunities to gain information, according to Metcalf.
Malcolm Kennedy justice campaign
- For more details see Red Star Research website.
Malcolm Kennedy (not to be confused with Mark Kennedy) was a Hackney based business man who had been convicted of the murder of Patrick Quinn in a police station. It was alleged he was framed to cover up a police killing, resulting in a long standing campaign by the HCDA to clear his name. The campaign 'Justice for Patrick Quinn, Free Malcolm Kennedy' was based at the Colin Roche Centre and the HCDA released a booklet on his case in December 1994. Kennedy maintained his innocence and sought to clear his name long after his release, and claimed that he was subject to further targeting by the police as a result.
At the time of his death in 2013, Malcolm Kennedy was attempting to find out from the Metropolitan Police what Jenner had passed onto his handlers in relation to his defence campaign when he was in prison trying to overturn his conviction.
David Ewin shooting
On 28 February 1995, unarmed robbery suspect David Ewin was shot in Barnes, south-west London by PC Patrick Hodgson, one of the police blocking the suspect's car. Ewin died of his wounds seventeen days later and his partner Sarah turned to the CRC for support. Mark Jenner was among those attending events and accompanying her to the Old Bailey when Hodgson was on trial - the first British police officer charged with murder charges..
The first day, 10 December 1995, the trial was halted after a man and a woman stood up in the public gallery and shouted out that Hodgson and Ewin had known each other. They were not stopped by police, but other Sarah-supporters from the Colin Roach Centre were stopped and questioned. The next day the judge declared the incident a calculated attempt to disrupt the trial, in contempt of the court, and declared a mistrial.
The fact that the jury was about to convict a serving police office for murder, raised the speculation that the incident could have been part of a wider plot to disrupt the trial, as someone wrote in the CRC magazine RPM at the time. Now that an undercover officer has been exposed targeting this specific campaign, that speculation appears to have greater substance to it.
The Colin Roach Centre was involved in supporting a variety of industrial and union disputes, particularly in the construction industry, which would give Jenner 'ample opportunity' to discover more on workers involved in disputes. The Centre was one of the contact addresses for the Building Workers Group (BWG), and hosted a few, though not many, of its meetings. Jenner was a member of the BWG.
Recently, a number of people involved at the time discovered their details on the blacklist put together by the Consultancy Association for the construction industry. The details include a list of associates of Brian Higgins dated October 1996, as well as a number of articles on his case that were printed in the Colin Roach Centre's newsletter Revolutions Per Minute, dating from around the same time that Jenner was chairing these meetings. The blacklist files give no source for this information, and curiously enough no file on Jenner himself was found.
For the past few years, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been conducting an investigation into blacklisting and the Consultancy Association. The IPPC found evidence that Special Branch (of which the SDS was a secretive unit) had passed on information on to the Consultancy Association which went onto the blacklist; in particular, the IPCC wrote to the Blacklist Support Group:
- ...initial scoping by the Operation Herne team identified that the Consulting Association was an organisation that had developed from a number of other organisations dating back to 1917. The scoping also identified that it was likely that all Special Branches were involved in providing information about potential employees.
Exposure of Jenner leads a number of those on the blacklist to ask questions about Jenner's role. RMT official Steve Hedley has said:
- I feel utterly violated by a police officer befriending me, then spying on me and passing information on to the blacklist which resulted in me being unemployed for a year. This man stayed at my family home as a guest. Are we now living in a police state?
Brian Higgins wrote:
- As a target of this undercover police operation I can only hope, with other victims, that Jenner and his co conspirators and those behind this utterly obscene and extremely sinister practice are called and held to account by any public inquiry into all aspects of the Consulting Association and those organisations and individuals who aided and abetted it. Justice cries out for and demands this."
Dave Smith of the Blacklist Support Group says:
- We now want to know why an undercover cop posing as a building worker turned up on picket lines and at campaign meetings, the details of which were discovered in the CA files. Were names of building workers or any information gathered by this police officer passed on to the CA blacklist? It sure as hell looks dodgy.
Other undercovers in Hackney
Jenner is one of a number of SDS officers known to have been active in Hackney. Others include Bob Lambert who was in the area in the 1983-88 when targeting London Greenpeace and animal rights groups, and John Dines who was active 1987-92 in London Greenpeace, Reclaim the Streets and anti-capitalist groups.
- Interview with 'Alison' about Undercover SDS #spycop officer - Mark Jenner who posed as Mark Cassidy (1995 - 2000). BBC, Newsnight, 6 March 2014 (the day the Ellison Report was published).
- Alison's testimony before the Home Affairs Select Committee 5 February 2013.
- Alison's story in the Guardian, 1 March 2013
- Police spies: in bed with a fictional character, The Guardian, 1 March 2013, accessed 27 April 2014.
- Mark Metcalf, I Spy - Mark Cassidy, 31 January 2011. Accessed 25 April 2014.
- Mark Metcalf, ‘There is no way of knowing how much damage Jenner caused’, The Big Issue in the North, March 2013, reprinted on SpinWatch 15 March 2013, accessed 25 April 2014.
- Interview with Mark Metcalf, 17 June 2014.
- Home Affairs Committee, Minutes of Evidence, Parliament UK, 5 February 2013, accessed 27 April 2014. See also Home Affairs Select Committee, Undercover Policing: Interim Report - Thirteenth Report of Session 2012–13, Parliament UK, 26 February 2013.
- Rob Evans and Paul Lewis, Scotland Yard spied on critics of police corruption, The Guardian, 24 June 2013, accessed 14 April 2014.
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p.97.
- Interview with Alison, 3 September 2014.
- Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain, the secret war between big business and union activists, New Internationalist, London 2015
- Alison's written submission, Police Spies Out of Lives, accessed 27 April 2014.
- Mark Metcalf, Undercover, underhand and over the top, Tribune, 7 April 2014, accessed 28 September 2014.
- Interview with 'Melanie', friend and colleague of Mark Jenner through the Colin Roach Centre and anti-fascism, conducted 19 January 2015.
- Described in some sources as 'live-in', it was in fact merely suitable for occasional camping rather than residing in. Interview with Alison, 3 September 2014.
- The ICWA (leaflet), Anti Fascist Archives, 1995, accessed 10 October 2014.
- Mark Metcalf, Did police spy Mark Jenner help prevent justice in the David Ewin murder case? , Fighting Talk by Mark Metcalf (blog), 24 January 2014, accessed 28 September 2014. This page includes a copy of articles on the case which appeared in Issues 3 and 4 of RPM.
- Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians, [http://www.ucatt.org.uk/ucatt-exposes-infiltration-police UCATT exposes infiltration by the police], 3 March 2015 (accessed 30 March 2015).
- Nick Sommerlad, Undercover cop joined construction union UCATT to spy on workers,Mirror, 2 March 2015 (accessed 4 March 2015)
- - The JJ Foods strike, 1995, Revolutions Per Minute, 2000 (reposted on Libcom, 15 November 2008; accessed 30 March 2015).
- Mark Metcalf, Rank and file or broad left? editorial, Revolutions Per Minute, issue 8, February 1996; posted at Libcom.org 12 March 2013.
- Email from a person active in Jenner's circles, 20 October 2014, and follow up phone-call in November 2014. The source also noted that Brian Higgins was secretary of The (Workers) Republican Forum which existed up to about 2000, but Jenner was never involved in it.
- John Jones & Kenny Irvine Forward and Introduction, Rank and file or broad left? A short history of the Building Worker Group, 2001 edition, posted at Libcom.org 12 March 2013.
- Brian Higgins, Chapter 5: High Court writ served - injunction threatened, Rank and file or broad left? A short history of the Building Worker Group, 2001 edition, posted at Libcom.org 12 March 2013.
- Unconfirmed at the moment are the suggestions that he represented the Colin Roach Centre at AFA meetings and was for a while the coordinator of AFA in north London.
- Anti-Fascist Action - A brief chronology of events 1985 - 1997, Anti Fascist Archive, posted 22 May 2012, accessed 17 August 2014.
- There were two such confrontations, one on 16 November 1997, the other on 28 February 1998. It is noteworthy that among those endorsing the call-out for the second event was Youth against Racism in Europe which at the time was infiltrated by Jenner's fellow SDS officer Peter Francis.
- In The Area, Fighting Talk (the newsletter of Anti-Fascist Action), Issue 18, December 1997, accessed 12 November 2014
- John Sweeney, Tea and loathing on Dover Seafront, The Observer, 16 November 1997, accessed 12 November 2014.
- The screengrabs are taken from a BBC news report, privately recorded at the time. A similar bit of footage is available at Demonstrators clash in Dover (15 November 1997), Clip No. BSP151197016, ITNSource.com, accessed 2 February 2015.
- The account of the day has been reconstructed from news reports of the time. We are interested in hearing from anyone who was there and can fill in more details, whether or not they recall Mark Jenner / Cassidy being there.
- Martin Melaugh, A Draft Chronology of the Conflict, Conflict Archive on the Internet, University of Ulster, accessed 10 October 2014.
- One Day in August, Pat Finucane Centre, 28 August 1995, accessed 20 February 2015.
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p.98.
- Matt Seaton, Charge of the new red brigade, The Independent, 29 January 1995, accessed 25 April 2014.
- Stephen Ward, 'Proud' IRA bombers jailed for 30 years: Police remain mystified why two Englishmen, who had no apparent connections with Ireland, became terrorists, The Independent', 14 May 1994, accessed 31 January 2015.
- During the period of their relationship, Alison and Jenner had not spent their first Christmas together, but they had spent them together subsequently until Christmas of 1999. Interview with Alison, 3 September 2014.
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p.99.
- Mark Metcalf, Undercover but in plain sites, The Big Issue in the North, 7 April 2014.
- Charles Loft, Chas from Flowers In The Dustbin on Hackney Community Defence Association and spycops, HackneyHistory, 25 March 2015 (article originally published on facebook.com, 25 June 2013; accessed 30 March 2015).
- Policeman on murder charge over shooting of unarmed man, The Herald, 18 October 1995, accessed 28 September 2014.
- The two were friends of Ewin but had not been seen between since his death until that point; on attending trial they sought to pressurize Sarah Ewin into shouting out their claims but she refused, though the pressure was apparently sufficient to cause her to collapse.
- Email from contact active in the Building Workers Group, 15 October 2014.
- Charlie Pottins, State snoops and private blacklisting, RandomPottins blog, 20 September 2013, accessed 27 April 2014.
- Evidence of Police Blacklist Involvement, Northern Voices, 21 September 2013, accessed 27 April 2014.
- Police admit involvement in blacklisting conspiracy - documentary evidence, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities, 21 September 2013, accessed 27 April 2014.
- A brief, incomplete but hopefully somewhat illustrative contextual timeline of spycop infiltrations around London Greenpeace and beyond throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Bristle's Blog, 23 June 2013.