Open Letter on Police Surveillance

We the undersigned are a mixture of individuals, organisations and lawyers affected by undercover police operations or representing people who believe that they have been the targets of undercover policing

In June this year the public reacted with shock and outrage to revelations that undercover police surveillance was used against members of Stephen Lawrence's family, to find “dirt” that could discredit them.  

This is yet another revelation about the nature and extent of secret policing in Britain, showing decades long spying on and interference with political movements and campaigns.  In addition to efforts to spy upon or smear people such as the Lawrence family who have lost loved ones, particular disgust has been expressed at the gross intrusion of undercover officers forming intimate sexual relationships with some of those upon whom they were spying; at the use of the identities of dead children to obtain cover; and at police links with the blacklisting of trade union members.  It has also become apparent that many criminal convictions have been rendered unsafe as a result of misconduct by the police and prosecutors.

We have no faith in Operation Herne nor any of the up to 16 often secret, internal police or prosecutor reviews. They are not sufficiently transparent, robust or independent to satisfy public concern and they do not come close to addressing all of the issues raised.

The public is entitled to know what has been going on in their name and paid for by their taxes.  We therefore call for an independent public inquiry into all the revelations that undercover policing has been used against political protest and campaigns. This inquiry must have full powers to compel police officers to give evidence.  Such political policing has no place in a democratic society and a mechanism must be found to ensure that such unjustified conduct does not continue into the future. 


Tamsin Allen, Mike Schwarz, Bindmans Solicitors

Lois Austin

Raju Bhatt, Bhatt Murphy Solicitors

Blacklist Support Group

Ruth Bundey, Harrison Bundey Solicitors

Jules Carey, Marian Ellingworth, Tuckers Solicitors

Louise Christian, Christian Khan Solicitors

Deborah Coles and Helen Shaw, Co-Directors INQUEST

Liz Davies, Chair, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

Claire Dissington, Anti Nazi League

Estelle du Boulay, Director, Newham Monitoring Project

Suresh Grover, The Monitoring Group

Imran Khan, Imran Khan & Partners Solicitors

Anna Mazzola, Consultant Solicitor, Bindmans Solicitors

Frank Smith, blacklisted trade unionist

The Socialist Party

Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary, National Union of Journalists

Harriet Wistrich, Birnberg Peirce Solicitors, Belinda Harvey, Helen Steel & 6 others in legal action against undercover relationships

Youth Against Racism in Europe