Berenice Jones of morsken I beg leave to
ask the question of standing in my name on the order paper my Lords as part of
its terms of reference the undercover police inquiry is investigating the
state of awareness of undercover police operations of Her Majesty’s Government
since 1968 the Home Office is a core participant in that inquiry and is in
the process of making disclosure to the inquiry of material relevant to the
terms of reference the inquiry will report on its findings once all evidence
has been reviewed well I thank the noble lady for her response which of course is
not an answer to my question I’m not sure if she is actually aware that over
a period of 24 years from 1985 to 2009 almost every single year there was a
state-sponsored sexual relationship between a police
officer and a woman who at no point was accused of doing anything illegal not
arrested not accused I just don’t understand how the minister can sit
there and think that this is all right this strikes at the heart of out the
ethics and the integrity of our police forces and and of course our security
services and I must stress that the places we know about are the only ones
we’ve heard about because those are the only police names in the public realm we
don’t know all of them until we know more of the police
undercover names we won’t know how many victims there were so I’m also concerned
about the inquiry because of course the minister may know that there was a
walkout today by the whole legal team of the women involved and the women
themselves so how is the government going to restore the credibility of that
inquiry for the noble lady refers to
state-sponsored and I would refer her to the actual terms of reference of the
inquiry which is to ascertain the state of awareness of undercover police
operations of Her Majesty’s Government that’s precisely what the inquiry was
set up to do and in terms of the walk out of today I have been aware made
aware of that walk out and I am aware that the hearings are still ongoing and
I’d encourage all core participants indeed anyone impacted by undercover
policing to participate fully in the inquiry so that we can learn the lessons
and get to the truth can the noble lady confirm it’s a very serious matter
they’re not withstanding anything that comes out of the inquiry and here
occupation to follow that she’s absolutely confident the rubriz prestige
are now in place it could never happen again
well my lord I’d love to stand at this despatch box and say that certain things
could never happen again but nobody can legislate for the odd rogue undertaking
or a malicious intent of people and therefore I what one cannot be
absolutely certain that never happened again walk what one can do is put
measures in place to try and mitigate as far as it’s possible that it never
happens again does the there’s a noble Minister agree
with me that that undercover policing is an essential tool in the fight against
terrorism and crime and providing it’s properly regulated and standards are
adhered to then we shouldn’t judge the majority of very breath police officers
that go undercover by the misdeeds of a few
well I must completely concur with the noble Lord he’s absolutely right and so
much has so much crime has been unearthed by these of undercover
policing as I say they are that there are now strict rules in place to
mitigate unacceptable behavior from going on and I couldn’t agree more with
him isn’t one of the we know that this inquiry has already taken three years
and it’s expected to take another year before the victims get answers
campaigners working at walking out in protest today notwithstanding and we
know that the special demonstration squad has been disbanded but it would be
naive to think that all embedded undercover work has ceased
so what assurances can the minister give that the culture practice instructions
to and supervision of undercover officers has already changed to ensure
that as far as is humanly possible no man or woman will ever be subjected to
these practices again maneuver lady makes a very helpful point because the
policing code of ethics makes clear that police officers should not lose their
professional position to establish or pursue a sexual or improper emotional
relationship with a person with whom you come into contact or a contact in the
course of your work the regulation of ambassador vex Investigatory Powers Act
of 2000 provides a legal framework for the lawful deployment of undercover
officers as covert human intelligence sources and the and we also have the
2014 CHR is codes of practice and in relation to the point that she makes
about the length of time that the inquiry is
taken the the slight extension to that the length of the inquiry is due to
purely the sheer numbers of pieces of information as the inquiry has to look
at I understand that the walk out from the inquiry was because of a sense that
the it was important that the individual police officers were actually identified
by a name I think my noble friend the minister will confirm that by definition
undercover police officers have a cover name and that whatever the importance of
fuck getting to the bottom of what went on in this inquiry it is important that
they retain that on anima tee because that’s a preeminent part of what they do
well my noble friend is absolutely right and of course it protects the safety of
those people as well so confirmed this is not just a matter of rules and
regulations if it went on for so long there must have been a serious
management failure because if there is a relationship between the senior officer
and the person doing the job that relationship is crucial in terms of
keeping a check on the behavior and that seems to me and as an outsider not to
have happened and it’s what we ought to focus on well I would like to speak for
the chair of the inquiry but I am sure that some of the institutional failures
that happened and way back in the day will be will be what the inquiry looks
at and the walkout today that with the what
the walk out today that leading QC who was representing that the the victims
said that the walkout was due to that the legal teams could not participate in
a meaningful way how we got to a position where this has been going on
for three years cost nine million pounds and senior QC feel they can’t
participate in a meaningful way modes the the the walked out will have their
reasons for walking out but I know that Home Secretary has full confidence in
the chairman to carry out the inquiry in in in a way that gets to the truth of
what happened