Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Surveillance Society

Protestors in Cardiff and around have been left shocked and bewildered to hear that a Cardiff Anarchist group was infiltrated by an undercover police officer for four years.

'Marco' was the third infiltrator to be uncovered. The first, Mark Kennedy was outed after the trial of six environmententalists collapsed.

Kennedy, selling his story to the Mail on Sunday, claims he knows of another 15 undercover police officers among protest groups. At an estimated cost to the public purse of £250,000 per undercover officer, per year, I find it very difficult to see how this expenditure can be justifed, particularly when the groups covertly investigated are hardly, by their own admission, public enemy number one.

Kennedy and Marco slept with women activists, gaining their trust in the most intimate of ways, for information. All those who trusted these men must feel betrayed and violated, but the women activists who were close to them will no doubt be feeling it the hardest. Who sanctioned such a tactic? Were the government of the time happy for this abuse of women's rights to take place? These questions deserve to be answered.

I have had concerns about the way protestors in Wales are policed for some time. These latest revelations only strengthen calls for policing to be devolved to Wales, where policy decisions like this would be able to be scutinised more closely.


SiƓnnyn said...

The worst thing about these undercover operations is that it has emerged (in the guardian) that they were being run under the auspices of ACPO - the association of chief police officers - which is a private company, accountable to no-one but their shareholders!

To be fair to the Tory UK government (and it is not often you can find a reason to say that!) , they are moving quickly to remedy the situation. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jan/18/covert-policing-cleanup-acpo

Anonymous said...

If Mark Kennedy is to be believed, this is just the tip on an iceberg, and there are many others still working undercover. All this was happening under a Labour government, which, let's face it, were an assortment of nutters/freaks obsessed with surveillance.

Although I'm thankful the Labour ministers were stopped bedore their efforts to set up a police state went too far, we'll likely see more informers and undercover police when people start mobilising against the current Tory government.

John Broughton said...

Advocating "Welsh" policing because of undercover operations in other parts of the UK is both disingenuous and stupid. The quality of any service has nothing to do with the nationality of those providing the service but their competence.

Leanne Wood said...

John - I'm not claiming it has anything to do with nationality. If the four police forces in Wales were accounatble and scutinised by the Assembly, incompetence has more of a chance of being exposed.