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WOMEN deceived into long-term intimate relationships with spycops have demanded the government assess the suitability of a retired judge they accuse of elitism to lead the inquiry.
The women delivered a letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid today demanding he also improve the panel of experts to the ongoing public inquiry into undercover policing.
Inquiry chairman Sir John Mitting, who has refused to reveal the groups who were spied on, is a member of the Garrick Club — a private members and men’s only institution.
Mr Mitting has also previously made controversial decisions as a High Court judge demonstrating a lack of understanding of violence against women, the activists have said.
Core participants in the inquiry and the public must have confidence in the process in order for the final report to be credible, the women from Police Spies Out of Lives (PSOL) are warning.
A further delay of one year in the inquiry before the beginning of evidential hearings was announced on January 29, meaning that the publication of the final report is likely to be pushed back to 2024 despite it originally set to 2018.
Women from PSOL are asking Mr Javid to use this delay to vet and appoint a panel of experts who have suitable experience and an understanding of institutional sexism and racism.
The women are also asking once again to meet the Home Secretary. Previous requests for meetings have been denied by both Mr Javid and his predecessor Amber Rudd.
“We are women whose human rights were violated by unethical and unlawful police deployments which included deceiving each of us into long-term intimate relationships,” the letter to Mr Javid said.
“This inquiry came about as a direct result of our investigations into the disappearances of our ex-partners and the subsequent revelations of their true identities as Metropolitan Police Service undercover officers.
“We have waited years to discover the truth about our own past and are deeply dissatisfied with the inquiry’s current status.”
PSOL said that the scope of these human rights abuses and how they were allowed to happen must be fully understood if the government wants to ensure they do not happen again with the consequent harm to citizens’ lives and resultant cost to the public purse.
The public inquiry into undercover policing was announced by then home secretary Theresa May in May 2014 and has already cost £13 million. Despite this, not a single piece of evidence has been heard.
Around 250 police officers spied on more than 1,000 political groups since 1968 — at least 20 of whom formed sexual relationships with women, according to PSOL, and concealed their true identities with the help of state-produced fake IDs.
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