Friday, March 07, 2014


After three years of disquieting revelations, the British government has finally ordered an inquiry into police spying:

The home secretary has ordered a public inquiry into the undercover infiltration of political groups after an independent inquiry confirmed that Scotland Yard had spied on the family of Stephen Lawrence.

Theresa May's decision came after an inquiry conducted by Mark Ellison QC found that the Metropolitan police planted "a spy in the Lawrence family camp".

In a dark day for the Met's reputation, May branded the revelations "profoundly shocking and disturbing", adding that "policing stands damaged today". She warned that the "full truth" had yet to emerge.


May's decision to order a public inquiry comes after three years of revelations surrounding the undercover officers who have been sent to infiltrate political groups over the past 40 years. Investigations by the Guardian have revealed how the spies routinely formed sexual relationships with the activists they had been sent to spy on and stole the identities of dead children to fortify their cover while they lived among campaigners in deployments usually lasting four or five years.

The question now is whether the inquiry will actually get to the bottom of things, or whether it will be the usual whitewash aimed at putting things on hold while public anger dies down. But with Doreen Lawrence holding the government's feet to the fire, maybe there's some chance of the truth emerging. OTOH, as Hugh Muir points out, the British state "does not self-correct". It cannot admit official wrongdoing, so it cannot ever fix it or prevent it from happening again. What's surprising is that UKanians continue to put up with this.