Police undercover unit investigated


An environmental protest at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, an event at the centre of a recent controversy over undercover policing

Inspectors are to review how an undercover police unit’s operations are run and controlled following concerns over the use of a Pc to infiltrate environmental protest groups.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) launched its own review, saying it would look at “the operational accountability of undercover work” and “how intelligence activity is authorised in accordance with law, including consideration of the proportionality of covert tactics”.

The National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), to which undercover officer Mark Kennedy belonged, is currently run by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) with plans to transfer control to Scotland Yard.

Policing Minister Nick Herbert said it was clear something had “gone very wrong” with Mr Kennedy’s operation and in future undercover units should not be run by Acpo.

The Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) has also been asked to carry out an independent review of Mr Kennedy’s deployment as an undercover officer.

The Soca inquiry, requested by Acpo, Nottinghamshire Police and the Met, will be led by Soca’s director general Trevor Pearce, who spent five years as chairman of the Acpo national undercover working group, while HMIC’s review will be led by Inspector Bernard Hogan-Howe.

Ex-Metropolitan Police Pc Mark Kennedy spent a reported seven years under cover posing as an environmental activist known as Mark “Flash” Stone.

Six protesters accused of planning to invade Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire claimed prosecutors dropped charges against them after Mr Kennedy offered to give evidence on their behalf.

Police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and Scotland Yard are also investigating his role.

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