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Scots police watchdog defends spy cops probe after conflict of interest row

SCOTLAND’S police watchdog defended the integrity of its probe into undercover policing today.

 This is despite revelations that one of its investigators had worked at a spycops unit where he sacked a whistleblower.

The whistleblower, known only as Mrs K, was alarmed that fellow undercover officers were destroying sensitive files.

There are even allegations that spycops burnt bags of paperwork in a car park.

However when Mrs K raised her concerns, she was pushed out by her boss, Stephen Whitelock.

Mr Whitelock then went on to become an investigator at Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS).

It was there that he played a leading role in writing a landmark report into undercover policing.

The report concluded covert officers were “well-regulated” during hundreds of operations since 2000.

It was dismissed as a whitewash by activists, who want a public inquiry into undercover policing – similar to the one currently being held for England and Wales.

The latest revelations, which stem from a court action by Mrs K and investigations by the Sunday Post newspaper, have raised the prospect that the HMICS report would no longer be a buffer to a full inquiry.

Spycops target Tilly Gifford, from Scotland Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, said: “I hope the government now regards this report as void due to Whitelock’s conflict of interest and questionable integrity, and instead orders a new and fully independent Scottish inquiry.”

However HMICS is standing by the report, telling the Morning Star it regards the report as “comprehensive” and “well-evidenced.”

A spokesperson said: “HMICS provided an independent view of the safeguards in place by Police Scotland in respect of undercover policing.”

It also played down the involvement of Mr Whitelock in preparing the report, saying it involved “a number of people with experience in this specialist area of policing, including staff from within HMICS and others independent of policing in Scotland.”

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