investigating corporate and police spying on activists
In October 2010, Mark Kennedy was exposed as a police spy who had infiltrated environmental and anti-capitalist groups for the previous seven years. His was the beginning of a series of public exposures; most resulting from investigations by the people targeted, supported by the work of Rob Evans and Paul Lewis at the Guardian. Growing public pressure led to more than a dozen official - and mostly internal - reviews, and eventually to the judge-led Undercover Policing Inquiry into undercover policing which started in 2015 but is not now due to be completed until 2022.'
The Undercover Research Portal provides easy public access to the stories about the various undercover officers who have been exposed and the groups they spied upon. We also look at the police officers and units involved and how they interconnect with some of the big stories around policing in the past few decades. It also includes articles on private spies and the companies they work for. The portal is set up and edited by the Undercover Research Group, we also write the Undercover Research blog dedicated to analyse and comment our work on political policing. Both are overseen by Eveline Lubbers, Peter Salmon and Christopher Brian. We can be reached by email - PGP key available on request.
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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.
Where to Start?
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
Targets and Background
The Special Branch Files Project
A related and sister project is The Special Branch Files Project. The Special Branch Files Project is a live-archive of declassified files focussing on the surveillance of political activists and campaigners.
It features detailed articles on campaigns and campaigners that were spied upon:
Forensic analysis of a variety of internal police documents:
What's New on Undercover Research
- Special Branch Registry
- National Special Branch Information System
- National Common Intelligence Application
- Rob Harrison, SDS
- James Straven, SDS
- Dave Jones (alias), SDS & NPOIU
- Alex Sloan, SDS
- List of known SDS undercover officers
- Dave Robertson (alias), SDS
- HN348 / Sandra, S
List of confirmed undercover officers in the UK with full or partial profiles
- Peter Francis AKA Peter Daley or Pete Black, SDS
- Mark Kennedy AKA Mark Stone, NPOIU
- Lynn Watson (alias), NPOIU
- Marco Jacobs (alias), NPOIU
- Jim Boyling AKA Jim Sutton, SDS
- Simon Wellings (alias), SDS
- Robert Lambert AKA Bob Robinson, SDS
- John Dines AKA John Barker, SDS
- Mark Jenner AKA Mark Cassidy, SDS
- Carlo Neri (alias), SDS
- "RC" (alias), SDS
- Gary R. & Abigail L. (aliases), NPOIU
- Rod Richardson (alias), SDS
- Mike Chitty AKA Mike Blake, SDS
- Matt Rayner (alias), SDS
- Jason Bishop (alias), SDS
- Dave Hagan/N81, SDS
- Roger Pearce, SDS
- Andy Coles AKA Andy Davey, SDS
- Rick Gibson (alias), SDS
- Christine Green, SDS
- Douglas Edwards (alias), SDS
- John Graham (alias), SDS
- William Paul 'Bill' Lewis, SDS
- Alex Sloan (alias), SDS
- John Clinton (alias), SDS
- Bob Stubbs (alias), SDS
- Dick Epps (alias), SDS
- Michael Scott (alias), SDS
- Dave Robertson (alias), SDS
- HN348 / 'Sandra', SDS
- Dave Jones (alias), SDS / NPOIU
- James Straven / Kevin Crossland (aliases), SDS
- Rob Harrison (alias), SDS
Undercover Police Officers & Agents - Abroad
- Simon Bromma AKA Simon Brenner (Germany)
- Christian Høibø (Norway)
resources for further action