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by Bethany Rielly
UNDERCOVER policing operations started in Scotland in the late 1960s, yet an inquiry into spycop abuses is limited to England and Wales.
Campaigners expressed frustration today after it was revealed by the Undercover Policing inquiry that spycops were operating in Scotland as far back as 1969.
This was disclosed in a witness statement by a former officer with the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad — which infiltrated protest groups.
The officer, known as HN321, spied on the International Marxist Group at a summer camp in Dumbarton, Scotland, in 1969.
It comes after the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC) launched a judicial review against the Home Office and the Scottish government in 2017 to challenge the remit of the inquiry.
However the hearing found that the government had not acted unlawfully by refusing to extend the terms of references of the spycop inquiry.
As a result the inquiry is limited to investigating undercover policing operations in England and Wales.
PILC now argue that had the Scottish courts known that spycops were deployed in Scotland 50 years ago, the outcome of the legal action may have been successful.
The law centre had put evidence forward in 2017 that spycops in the Metropolitan Police were sent to Scotland to spy on the G8 Summit at Gleneagles in 2005.
Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay said: “It is a scandal that still we see that Scots victims are the only ones on the mainland of the UK who do not have access to a public inquiry.
“The UK [government] refuse to allow Scots access to the Mitting inquiry and the Scottish government has gone to court to prevent a Scottish inquiry taking place. This is completely unacceptable and wrong.”
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