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Special Demonstration Squad

Volume 590: debated on Monday 5 January 2015

18. What assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the findings of the investigation by Chief Constable Mick Creedon into the activities of the special demonstration squad. (906761)

Operation Herne is conducting a criminal investigation into the conduct of former special demonstration squad officers, and that work is continuing. As I said in my statement to the House on 6 March 2014, there will be a public inquiry into undercover policing and the activities of the special demonstration squad and I will update the House on the public inquiry as soon as it is appropriate to do so.

I thank the Home Secretary for her attention to this matter. It has taken the Met nearly two years to reply to my freedom of information request about their theft of dead children’s identities for undercover policing. From only three out of 18 year groups had a child’s identity not been taken for the purpose of legend building. The so-called legends are broadly as likely to have been stolen from dead children as to have been invented from scratch. Given their feet dragging on this matter, what confidence can the Home Secretary have that police attitudes to undercover practices have truly changed?

I know my hon. Friend has taken up and worked very hard on this particular issue. I believe that one of the assistant commissioners from the Metropolitan police gave very clear evidence to the Home Affairs Committee on the fact that the approach to the use of dead children’s names and identities has changed within the Metropolitan police. They are very clear that this should not be happening now, and as I say, they have changed the action they take.