The Blacklist Support Group (BSG) is applying to the Home Office for ‘core participant’ status in the Pitchford public inquiry into failures in undercover policing set up by Teresa May. This follows claims in the book ‘Blacklisted’ by Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain, that undercover police officers spied on trade union activists from the construction industry and intelligence gathered was passed onto big business – resulting in blacklisting of union activists.
Imran Khan & Partners solicitors are representing BSG. The firm is also representing Doreen Lawrence in the Pitchford Inquiry.
BSG says it is the only organisation to have officially complained to the IPCC over police collusion in the Consulting Association blacklist scandal. IPCC admitted in correspondence with BSG that “every Special Branch in the country routinely supplied information about prospective employees’ in correspondence from the police watchdog.”
As a ‘core participant’ in the Pitchford inquiry, the BSG would be part of a central group of parties entitled to some input into the remit and to see the evidence before it is put into the public domain.
BSG says has established a number of individuals on the construction industry blacklist were spied on by undercover police officers from different units, including the “notorious” Special Demonstration Squad. The undercover officers identified include Bob Lambert, Mark Kennedy, John Dines, Mark Jenner and former undercover police officer turned whistleblower, Peter Francis. In an interview published in ‘Blacklisted’, Peter Francis admitted targeting prominent union activists from the construction industry.
Special Demonstration Squad undercover officer Mark Jenner, became a member of UCATT under his false name during his deployment and was a regular visitor to picket lines and meetings in London during the late 1990s.
BSG says one high ranking police officer, DCI Gordon Mills from the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU), attended meetings and gave a PowerPoint presentation to the illegal blacklisting body Consulting Association. According to ‘Blacklisted’ there was a two way exchange of information between the police unit and the covert blacklister.
Dave Smith, BSG secretary and a victim of undercover police surveillance, said: “Hopefully by the BSG applying for core participant status, we will be able to guarantee that spying on trade unions and passing over information to private companies becomes a theme within the Pitchford inquiry. Police and security services spying on trade unions is not a one off aberration, it is standard operating procedure by the state.”
He added: “Undercover police units and security services were involved in operations against trade unions at Grunwick, Shrewsbury, Wapping and during the Miner Strike. It is known that activists and officers from UCATT, Unite, RMT, FBU, UNISON, CWU, NUT and PCS have been targeted by undercover police units.
“BSG hope that all the unions affected come together and put in a joint submission to Pitchford, probably under the umbrella of the TUC. Official pressure from France’s O’Grady and other general secretaries could have a significant influence on the scope of the Inquiry.”