Inquiry urged in police work row


Pc Mark Kennedy infiltrated a group of environmental activists accused of conspiring to shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station

A solicitor has called for a full and robust independent inquiry into the controversy surrounding an undercover police officer who infiltrated a group of environmental activists.

Mike Schwarz represented 20 campaigners convicted of planning to invade Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, as well as another six whose case collapsed earlier this week when prosecutors dropped the charges.

The protesters’ legal team claimed the decision was made after former Met police officer Mark Kennedy, who infiltrated protesters in the guise of a climber called Mark Stone, had a crisis of conscience and offered to give evidence on their behalf.

On Saturday, independent officials were starting an investigation into whether police tried to cover up Mr Kennedy’s role amid claims in The Times newspaper that the trial collapsed when the CPS discovered Nottinghamshire Police withheld secret tapes of meetings.

The force’s Chief Constable Julia Hodson has already announced an internal review into the secret operation.

The revelations have sparked a wider debate on police tactics to monitor political and environmental groups operating on the fringe of legality.

And Mr Schwarz said the IPCC investigation and a rumoured probe by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) were not enough.

Mr Schwarz said: “We’ve got the IPCC looking at a bit, the police investigating themselves with the HMIC investigation, but the public need to have confidence in a robust, comprehensive investigation. It is the only satisfactory, comprehensive and reliable way”.

His comments came as the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) defended the use of undercover policing but said officers had to remain within the law.

A spokeswoman said Acpo could not comment on the case specifically but it was important not to lose sight of the significance of undercover work.

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