Police Scotland's undercover tactics against activists questioned

Calls for disclosure of spying tactics made again ahead of public inquiry

POLICE SCOTLAND is refusing to disclose how much of a nearly PS400,000 informant budget was dedicated to spying on political movements.

Since its formation three years ago in 2013, Police Scotland has spent nearly PS400,000 on paid informants, the Sunday Herald revealed .

Since there is evidence that Scotland's regional police forces used the tactic of paid informants to try and spy on environmental activists , MSPs and commentators have now urged the single force to disclose how many informants have been paid to spy on political campaigners since 2013.

But Police Scotland told the Sunday Herald : "In common with all other UK law enforcement agencies Police Scotland does not comment on payments made to Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS)."

In 2009 Strathclyde Police tried to recruit an activist from environmental group Plane Stupid, but Tilly Gifford taped the conversation. The transcript was subsequently published in The Guardian . Officers had offered Gifford tax-free payments if she informed on others in the group.

Rise candidate Cat Boyd told the Sunday Herald: "Police Scotland and Chief Constable Gormley need to be transparent on the payments of informants within Scottish protest movements and the use of undercover policing in general in relation to political campaigns."

Calls for the police forces to disclose information on infiltration of political movements will also be made in London tomorrow [22 March]. A demonstration is planned at the Royal Courts of Justice, where the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing, known as the Pitchford Inquiry, is set to begin preliminary hearings.

The demonstrators will ask that the inquiry be kept open, in response to the Metropolitan Police announcing that they would apply to keep many evidence sessions behind closed doors. The group Police Spies Out of Lives, set up to support the eight women with whom undercover officers had intimate relationships, is also demanding that the names of all officers in the secretive police units are released.

Despite evidence that officers from the Met's Special Demonstration Squad, and its successor the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, were deployed in Scotland to infiltrate political movements, the public inquiry will only take evidence regarding England and Wales. The Scottish Government says it is "in talks" with the UK Home Secretary regarding the possible extension of the inquiry's remit to include Scotland.

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Picture courtesy of Jared Earle

Comments

Peter Dow's picture

Peter Dow

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 18:47

Have you ever been apparently kind or pampered a woman Fran? Was it abuse when you did it and if not, what is your secret?

Peter Dow's picture

Peter Dow

Thu, 03/24/2016 - 10:49

I understand that the English women activists had claims and got financial settlements for compensation and one for maintenance for the child against the police and I think that's fair enough.
Whilst I respect your opinion Fran C, presumably the women concerned would not have tolerated any intimate relationship between consenting adults if it was not in some sense "pleasant and pampering"?
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What woman would put up with an unpleasant or abusive relationship? She'd just walk out, right?
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The fact that the relationships lasted is proof that there must have been real experience of kindness, compassion and intimacy.
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Likewise I can't see any "devastating effects". "Devastating" reads like a word their lawyer would say to get a higher compensation settlement. Can't fault the lawyers for trying it on with a bit of hyperbole but in reality, there is nothing truly "devastating" there.
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What is really "devastating" is when police DON'T use gentle methods of investigation but instead go in mob-handed because police brutality is more acceptable to the likes of you and the politicians who listen to you who just love it when a political activist gets roughed up and their lives really ruined by police.
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What has been and still is truly devastating to my life is the effect of the heavy-handed police raid, arrest, seizure of irreplaceable science data and prosecution of me in July 2014 for my harmless republican tweets where the police stupidly misunderstood my rhetoric in my tweet and totally over-reacted with a view to investigating if my tweet was some kind of "threatening communication" (which, no, it wasn't)
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That police action is still truly devastating my life today as I write about in my blog.
http://peter-dow.blogspot.co.uk/
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Now ideally, I would be happiest if the police would leave those of us who are political activists, doing our duty to the community and humanity well alone. But if the police feel they must investigate then far better the gentle and compassionate methods of undercover policing than the brutal methods of police raids, arrests, seizure of property and prosecution.
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I can assure you Fran if you had experienced what I had experienced you would have the same preference - and the choice if you were given one, would be an easy one to make.

Peter Dow's picture

Peter Dow

Tue, 03/22/2016 - 08:49

I'm a political activist who suffered in July 2014 during the indy-ref campaign, a Police Scotland raid, breaking my door in, arresting me, seizing my computer with science data and being prosecuted for my harmless political tweets.
I'm feeling most unloved because in fact, I didn't experience any such activity of an undercover woman officer establishing an intimate relationship in Scotland with me, for all my political activism.
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As far as I am aware, it was only English activists who were so pampered and wooed by undercover policing.
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Scots political activists like me more typically get rammed, raided and robbed by Police Scotland and get no apology nor compensation afterwards, just prosecuted by Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland's fascist state goons in prosecutor gowns, who are keeping my science data "as an evidential production" which they don't need, never have needed.
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I'm a Scottish republican but I'd rather wake up to a full English breakfast in bed with an undercover woman detective constable, if that's all the same to Her Majesty's finest!
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Peter Dow is a Scottish scientist and a republican socialist whose legal human rights are cruelly violated by the police and courts in Aberdeen, where he lives.
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Peter Dow's political defence blog publishes the truth about the wrongful and unjust royalist arrests, prosecutions, convictions and punishments he endures.
http://peter-dow.blogspot.co.uk/

Fran C (not verified)

Wed, 03/23/2016 - 21:41

Posing as an intimate partner (and in one case I know of getting a woman pregnant) in order to spy is violation. There's nothing pleasant or pampering about it. The women involved will have been left with the devastating effects for a long time to come.

Fran C (not verified)

Thu, 03/24/2016 - 13:34

It's the manipulation of the women's minds that is the violation. Apparent kindness and pampering is very much part of abuse - it's how the perpetrator creates control and how he is able to abuse the trust he has created.

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