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Spycops inquiry completion delayed by five years

AN INQUIRY into undercover police officers who infiltrated campaign groups and devastated activists’ lives will not end until 2023, it was announced today — it was originally due to finish this year.

The final report is expected to be delivered to the Home Secretary in 2023 — eight years after the public inquiry first began — according to a so-called “ambitious timeline” set out by inquiry chief Sir John Mitting today.

The official probe was launched in 2015 after a wave of revelations about undercover unit malpractice, including claims Scotland Yard spied on campaigners fighting for justice for murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

It is also investigating incidents of spycops having sexual relationships with women involved in campaign groups, and using the names of dead children to create fake identities.

Campaigners say they would like to see an inquiry led by a panel rather than a single judge, as it would better investigate claims of institutional racism and sexism.

Mr Mitting rejected the calls however as it “would impose a heavy cost in both time and money.”

“Andrea,” an activist from Police Spies Out of Lives who was deceived into a long-term relationship by spycop Carlo Neri, said she was “dismayed” by the decision.  

“A panel is needed now as a matter of urgency, otherwise the inquiry will fail to achieve its purpose — ie uncovering the truth,” she told the Star.

“So far, £10.5 million has been spent on what seems like a vastly expensive cover-up.

“Sir John believes that he can forge ahead without our participation. We, the victims, should be at the centre of this inquiry, not pushed to the periphery.

“We have lost years of our lives due to the harm caused by these undercover police officers. Our health, our relationships and our careers have suffered.

“We want to participate fully in this inquiry because without the truth we cannot heal.  And we want to make sure this state-sponsored abuse cannot happen again.”

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said the government needs to explain why and how the delays are occurring and increase funding if that would address the matter.

She added: “The government needs to firmly rebut the growing belief that it is deliberately kicking this inquiry into the long grass because it is uncomfortable about what it will find.”

The Metropolitan Police will be asked how they plan to stick to the timetable at a public hearing on May 18.

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