In Brief

Undercover policing report mothballed

Public inquiry into infiltration of 1,000 political groups since 1968 delayed until 2023

A controversial public inquiry into undercover policing will now not deliver its final report until at least 2023, almost a decade after it was set up, leading to accusations the Government is trying to delay or bury its findings.

The investigation, which was set up by then home secretary Theresa May in 2014, is looking into the undercover infiltration of more than 1,000 political groups since 1968.

It was launched to address a string of allegations surrounding the activities of undercover units, most notably how Scotland Yard spied on the campaign seeking justice for murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence and how undercover officers deceived women into intimate relationships, in order to extract information or gain access to organisations.

The Guardian says “there has been growing discontent among non-state participants in the inquiry, with concerns raised about former undercover officers being granted anonymity during the proceedings, as well as the slow speed of progress”.

It has already cost more than £10m and had originally been due to conclude this year, but following a strategic review its final date was pushed back five years.

Up to 60 campaigners, including former undercover officers, have walked out of hearings debating whether undercover officers should have their identities revealed. There have also been calls for the inquiry to be led by a panel, which would investigate institutional racism and sexism, rather than a single judge.

Defending the delay, the inquiry chairman, Sir John Mitting, said he would not appoint panel members until the fact-finding stage had concluded in 2021, arguing it “would impose a heavy cost in both time and money”.

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