Blocking of information on police spies underlines need for blacklisitng inquiry

The Metropolitan Police’s latest refusal to answer Freedom of Information requests regarding undercover police spies, underlines the urgent need for a full public inquiry into blacklisting.

In March UCATT revealed how police officer Mark Jenner a member of the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad assumed the name Mark Cassidy and infiltrated UCATT, while posing as joiner.

The revelations are critical given that information on the files of blacklisted workers compiled by the Consulting Association can only have been supplied by the police or the security services.

Having had previous Freedom of information requests rebuffed by the Metropolitan Police. UCATT asked
1. Is Mark Jenner who used the alias Mark Cassidy during the 1990s still a serving police officer?
2. If Mark Jenner is still a serving police officer in which department is he employed?

After a 10 week delay the Metropolitan Police have said that they will not “confirm or deny” whether the information is held. In a 48 page reply, they have given 7 reasons why they have refused the request including national security, health & safety and personal data.

Brian Rye, Acting General Secretary of construction union UCATT, said: “The police’s continued refusal to answer questions about their role in the blacklisting of ordinary construction workers is reprehensible. Everyone who had their lives blighted by blacklisting deserves the complete truth. That will only be achieved through a full public inquiry into this disgusting practice.
“It is deeply cynical for the police to be using personal data as an excuse to withhold information, when they had no hesitation to distribute workers’ personal details to blacklisters and ruin their lives.”

Shortly prior to the election, the Government announced that Lord Justice Pickford had been appointed to undertake a judge-led inquiry into undercover policing and the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad. However it remains unclear whether the Pickford Inquiry will cover blacklisting and union infiltration.

The police’s involvement in blacklisting also goes further that the SDS and undercover policing as shortly prior to being closed down in a raid by the Information Commissioners Office the Consulting Association received a presentation from the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit in 2008.

Mr Rye: add: “It is imperative that the Pickford Inquiry examines the police’s involvement in infiltrating unions and blacklisting workers but the scope of this inquiry will always be limited and this is why a full public inquiry must be conducted.”

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