Pat Rafferty calls for extension of undercover policing inquiry

Written by Mark McLaughlin on 4 October 2016 in News

Pat Rafferty calls for inquiry into the use of undercover police during a newspaper production strike in the 1980s

Pat Rafferty calls for extension of policing inquiry - photo credit Ian Britton

A Scottish trade union leader has called for an inquiry into the use of undercover police during a newspaper production strike in the 1980s.

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty has raised questions about the use and conduct of undercover police officers during the News International dispute at Kinning Park in Glasgow between 1986 and 1987.

He said a review of undercover policing announced by the Scottish Government does not go far enough. 


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Rafferty said: “For years, trade unionists have felt that there was something wrong with the policing at Kinning Park.

"Secret police files uncovered earlier this year show that Special Branch officers were spying on trade unionists involved in the dispute, and recording them as they went about lawful, peaceful protest.

“In England and Wales, the Pitchford Inquiry will look at all aspects of undercover policing going back to 1968. 

“The Scottish Government has announced that there will be review of undercover policing in Scotland.

"But it is only a review by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. It won’t take evidence in public, it won’t be able to compel evidence, and its remit only goes back to 2000.

“We have to ask – why is the Scottish Government doing less on this issue than the Tory Government at Westminster?

"If the Pitchford Inquiry’s remit cannot be extended to Scotland, then Scotland needs its own inquiry.”

More than 1,400 strikers and supporters were arrested in the industrial action that followed News International's move to Wapping in London and the opening of a new printing plant at Kinning Park in Glasgow.

Six were jailed and hundreds were injured during demonstrations and picketing.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The review will cover undercover policing activity in Scotland over the period during which the Scottish Parliament has had responsibility in this area. We have no plans to reconsider the period prior to then.”

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