Monday, March 28, 2016

BBC thriller probes family betrayals of police who go undercover

Imagine if everything you believed about the person you’ve been married to for the past 20 years turned out to be lies. That’s the basis for a striking new BBC TV thriller, Undercover, which draws on the real-life cases of women tricked into long-term relationships by undercover police officers, a story broken in the Observer in March 2010.

The original Observer report, written by Tony Thompson, detailed how an undercover officer, known only as Officer A, who had spent four years infiltrating anti-racist groups, had also formed relationships with two of his female targets “as a way of obtaining intelligence”. It sparked an investigation by the Guardian, which led in turn to the establishment of the Pitchford inquiry.

Last week Lord Justice Pitchford held a two-day hearing to establish how much of the inquiry, which will examine the police force’s undercover infiltration of political groups since 1968, should be held in private. The police have argued that to make evidence to the inquiry public would endanger officers and their families, but those who were spied on believe that without a public hearing the full extent of the undercover operations will never be known.  (more...)

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