Michael Matheson orders review of undercover policing in Scotland

Written by Andrew Whitaker on 22 September 2016 in News

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson orders an inquiry into undercover police activities in Scotland following pressure from opposition MSPs such as Labour's Neil Findlay   

credit - BBC

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has ordered an independent review of undercover policing in Scotland.

Matheson has directed Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland to investigate the actions of undercover officers.

A review is already been held in England and Wales, but the UK Government has refused to extend it to Scotland, which led to calls from opposition MSPs for Scottish ministers to order their own probe.


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Holyrood's parties had been united in calling for an extension to the Pitchford Inquiry, which was set up in England and Wales to investigate allegations of misconduct by undercover officers.

There are allegations that undercover Metropolitan Police officers had fathered children and caused miscarriages of justice, with claims of this activity extending to Scotland.

Mark Kennedy, one of five officers known to have had relationships with women while undercover, is alleged to have infiltrated environmental groups ahead of the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005.

Labour MSP Neil Findlay wrote directly to the policing minister, Brandon Lewis, but was told that it was "not possible" to extend the probe north of the border for "a number of reasons".

Findlay has repeatedly called on the SNP Government to use its powers to order a probe in Scotland.

Matheson, agreeing to the move, said he was "firmly of the view" that extending Pitchford would be the "right thing to do", and said he would act after the UK government's refusal.

He said: "Given the operational extend of the units involved, the Scottish government believes that a single coherent inquiry is the most effective approach to provide a comprehensive investigation into these activities.

"However, in light of the Home Office's decision I have today directed Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland to undertake a strategic review of undercover policing in Scotland."

 

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