The Scotland Yard undercover unit that gathered intelligence on 18 grieving families was known by police chiefs six years ago to have been so out of control it had “lost [its] moral compass” and become a “force within a force”.
The claims from a source closely involved in discussions on winding up the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) in 2008 came as a report for the Metropolitan police revealed intelligence was gathered across three decades on family campaigns challenging the Metropolitan police. In several cases the families’ struggles exposed the force as failing and telling untruths.
The scale of the intelligence gathering led figures in politics and former Met officers to warn the revelations would damage community confidence. One former police chief said it was a “seismic blow”, with people fearing the intelligence had been gathered to smear critics.
The report by Derbyshire’s chief constable, Mick Creedon, carried out for the Met, said the justice campaigns had not been the targets of police infiltration.
The intelligence was “hoovered up” accidentally by officers ordered to infiltrate leftist groups, which police chiefs believed were capable of violence.
Creedon’s report said the intelligence on the grieving families and their campaigns was “collateral”, although he criticised its retention when it served no purpose in fighting crime.
Ah, the intelligence was “hoovered up” accidentally by officers ordered to infiltrate leftist groups. I think we need an independent enquiry. Now.