But Pitchford Inquiry into spying scandal still to exclude Scotland
SENIOR SCOTTISH police officers were linked to a disgraced secret unit which spied on activists, new evidence has shown, but the inquiry into ‘domestic extremism’ policing is still set to cover England and Wales only.
New evidence published by investigative unit The Ferret has shown that several senior officers from Scottish forces are in fact linked to the the discredited spying unit within the Metropolitan Police, which is being investigated by Lord Justice Pitchford.
The information, obtained under Freedom of Information (FoI) requests, shows that high-ranking Scottish officers attended meetings of the Association of Chief Police Officers’ Terrorism and Allied Matters Committee (ACPO TAM).
This committee had responsiblity for the secretive undercover units which spied on so-called ‘domestic extremists’. Since revelations that officers had sexual relationships with their targets and in one case even fathered a child with an activist , the units have been discredited and a judge-led inquiry is due to begin taking evidence this year.
The identities of Scottish officers involved in ACPO TAM includes Sir Stephen House, who headed up Police Scotland until his premature resignation last year. Two of the other officers are retired, but one – DCC Iain Livingstone – is still a serving officer in the Scottish force.
House’s replacement Phil Gormley is also included on the list as one of those who attended ACPO TAM meetings since the formation of Scotland’s single police force in April 2013. Gormley formerly took on the role of Chief Constable in January 2016, and concerns were raised by MSPs over his previous role overseeing the Met’s Special Branch , of which the spying unit was part.
The FoI texts with the full list of named officers is available on The Ferret’s website .
This evidence adds to existing knowledge of undercover deployments in Scotland, and campaigners and politicians have repeated calls for the Pitchford Inquiry to extend its remit to Scottish operations.
Currently Pitchford will take evidence from England and Wales only, and the Metropolitan Police recently revealed they will apply to have large parts of the public inquiry held in secret .
After coming under pressure from campaigners and MSPs, the Scottish Government wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May in December last year about the potential to extend the inquiry’s remit to cover Scotland. Since February the Scottish Government have repeatedly stated that “discussions are ongoing” on this matter.