HMICS review into undercover policing

Move follows refusal to extend Pitchford Inquiry.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson has directed HMICS to carry out an independent review of undercover policing activities in Scotland.

The move follows the UK Government’s refusal to amend the scope of the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing in England and Wales despite evidence pointing towards units from south of the border operating in Scotland.

Mr Matheson said:

“I am firmly of the view that an extension of the Pitchford Inquiry’s terms of reference to cover the activities of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit and the Special Demonstration Squad in Scotland is still the right thing to do and am disappointed that the UK Government has refused to do so.

“Given the operational extent of those Units, the Scottish Government believes that a single coherent inquiry is the most effective approach to provide a comprehensive investigation into these activities. However, in light of the Home Office’s decision I have today directed Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland to undertake a strategic review of undercover policing in Scotland.

“This will cover the extent and scale of undercover policing in Scotland, both as it stands and dating back to when the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 came into force. It will also consider undercover police operations carried out in Scotland by the NPOIU and SDS in the same period.

“This review will also give independent assurance on the operation, procedures and safeguards in place by Police Scotland in relation to undercover policing.”


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