Clarity needed on Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing and blacklisting

Construction union UCATT are calling on Lord Justice Pitchford to clarify whether his public inquiry into undercover policing will cover the police’s role in blacklisting.

In a statement issued today (July 16th) Theresa May the Home Secretary said that the inquiry would: “examine the motivation for, and the scope of, undercover police operations in practice and their effect upon individuals in particular and the public in general”. She also stated the scope of the inquiry will cover “the extent and effect undercover police operations have targeted political and social justice campaigners.”

Despite this there is nothing to definitely indicate whether the Pitchford Inquiry will investigate the role of undercover police officers in the blacklisting of construction workers. It also remains unclear if interested parties can freely submit evidence or if Lord Justice Pitchford will restrict who is entitled to submit evidence.

In March 2015 UCATT revealed how Mark Jenner a police officer in the Special Demonstration Squad, infiltrated the union during the 1990’s when he was pretending to be a carpenter, and spied on Left-wing, working class and trade union groups under the assumed name of Mark Cassidy.

It has also been demonstrated that information on the files of construction workers blacklisted by the Consulting Association can only have come from information supplied by the police or the security forces

It has since emerged that as well as activists in the construction industry the SDS also spied on activists in the NUT, CWU, FBU and the National Union of Students.

Brian Rye, Acting General Secretary of UCATT, said: “Blacklisted workers deserve clarity is the Pitchford Inquiry going to investigate the police’s role in blacklisting or not.”

Mr Rye, added; “Every time UCATT has sought information about how the police infiltrated UCATT and their role in blacklisting, the police have blocked our requests. This type of inquiry is the only way to force the truth into the open. Victims of blacklisting deserve the truth and it is essential that Pitchford provides that opportunity.”

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