UCPI Interim Report conclusions

The Inquiry’s Interim report into the undercover Metropolitan Police unit, the SDS, has been published.

The report, that deals with the Tranche 1 period (1968-1982), concluded that:

The long-term undercover deployments into the private and political lives of thousands of left-wing activists was not justified on either public order or counter-subversion grounds.

The Inquiry found that the undercover unit’s contribution to policing public order “should not be overstated”. In respect of the most significant incidents of public disorder in the period the contribution was “minimal” (for example, the Southall anti-fascist demonstration at which the activist Blair Peach was killed by a police officer).

The unit’s tasking in respect of monitoring “potential subversives” was “questionable”. Of the hundreds of groups infiltrated, only three met the criteria of constituting an actual threat to the safety or well-being of the state.

At the highest level, the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office should have considered:

1: the inevitability of long-term deployments involving (at least) the befriending of individuals and intrusion into their private and political lives; which required cogent justification before even being contemplated as a police tactic

2: the inevitability that most deployments would require entry into people’s homes by deceit

3: that officers taking positions of responsibility in organisations would inevitably involve (a) the gathering and distribution of data protected by the law relating to confidential information and (b) that taking high positions of responsibility would inevitably involve organising political activity

4: the use of dead children’s identities would inevitably have given rise to legitimate public concern and that those responsible for the unit were aware of the risk of that practice becoming public from at least as early as 1975.

If those issues had been considered, it would be hard to see how the unit could not have been shut down.

In the light of those conclusions, questions remain as to why the unit continued to infiltrate left-wing organisations for a further twenty-eight years; the extent of Government knowledge and endorsement of the unit’s existence and tactics; and the use to which the reporting was put (including the blacklisting of activists and trade-unionists).

Sexual Relationships:

The Inquiry has specifically reserved formal conclusions on the extent of the impact on women deceived into sexual relationships with undercover officers, until all of the evidence has been heard.

However, the accounts of the two women who gave evidence in Tranche 1 (“Mary” and “Madeleine”) were found to have been truthful and in “Madeleine’s” case was to be preferred to the conflicting account of the officer who abused her, and later went on to become the director of the National Criminal Intelligence Service.

The Inquiry is due to conclude in 2026.

Piers Marquis was instructed through Tranche 1 of the Inquiry (with James Scobie KC: Garden Court Chambers), by Paul Heron senior solicitor of the Public Interest Law Centre. He acted on behalf of “Mary” (who was deceived into a sexual relationship with undercover officer Richard Clark in 1975), Richard Chessum (who gave evidence of Clark’s attempts to de-stabilise democratic movements, and multiple sexual relationships with activists) and Lindsey German (former Central Committee member of the Socialist Workers Party; the most heavily infiltrated organisation).

In Tranche 1 phase 2, (with Charlotte Kilroy KC and Tom Lowenthal: Blackstone Chambers) Piers Marquis was instructed by Kate Thomas at Birnberg Peirce, on behalf of “Madeleine” (who was deceived into a sexual relationship with undercover officer Vincent Harvey) and Diane Langford.

He is instructed in later Tranches of the Inquiry, by Paul Heron, on behalf of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the Stop the War Coalition, Youth Against Racism in Europe, Lois Austin, Hannah Sell and, former Labour MP, Dave Nellist.

Sam Jacobs was instructed by Simon Creighton of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors on behalf of Celia Stubbs, the partner of Blair Peach who died after being struck by a police officer in Southall in 1979.

Public Interest Law Centre – statement is here: Spycops Inquiry – a response to the Interim Report • Public Interest Law Centre (

Interim Judgment can be read here:

Press coverage:

Interview with Lindsey German Sky News: "A shameful cover-up that has damaged many lives" - Lindsey German Reacts to Spy Cops Inquiry Report - YouTube

Sky –

BBC 1 News at 6pm

BBC 2 Newsnight - interviews with women activists targeted. [Starts 18mins in]

BBC: Undercover policing unit tactics not justified, says report - BBC News

‘Spy cops’ operations against leftwing groups unjustified, inquiry finds | Metropolitan police | The Guardian

Met Police’s undercover tactics slammed as spying ‘not justified’, landmark inquiry rules | The Independent

Channel 4 news -