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Statement on behalf of Peter Francis following publication of the Creedon Report

Following a report into undercover operations within the Met police, by Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon, former Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) officer Peter Francis responds to its findings.

29 July 2014

Former SDS officer Peter Francis said:

“The conclusions reached by Mick Creedon in his Third Report of Operation Herne confirm yet again why an independent, public inquiry into the SDS is required.

"The true facts and tactics about the Metropolitan Police’s undercover policing operations will only be revealed through a truly independent, public inquiry which requires those involved to provide evidence under oath.

"It is crucial the Home Secretary now publishes her draft, proposed terms of reference for the inquiry she has announced so victims of the SDS and the public in general can comment on her proposed remit.

"In the meantime, the police must provide urgent, full and unhindered access to all the SDS and Special Branch reports they hold, or held, on those involved in campaigning groups from 1968 onwards.

"People must be told what information was collected about them and the organisations in which they worked and why; they must also be told how this information was used and with whom it was shared.

"I can see no reason why this information cannot be provided to all those affected by the SDS’s work and can be done so without further delay.

"In his report, Mick Creedon emphasises the importance of transparency. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, in response to Ellison’s report said that “I can't account for the past, I can't reset the clock, I can't change history…I can reset the clock for the future."

"This resetting can only start once the full truth about the SDS’ activities in the past have been revealed. The British public must be given all the relevant facts so they can decide whether the undercover spying undertaken by the Metropolitan Police was appropriate.

"The Police must stop trying to hide behind a policy of neither confirming, nor denying it’s undercover work. It is only through the truth, that the Police will ever be able to “identify learning” as Creedon states is his aim, from its mistakes in the past.

"For the avoidance of doubt, I wish to confirm my position on two point in particular:

"First, in relation to my engagement with Operation Herne has been the same throughout its investigations.

"I have always agreed to discuss my work for the SDS with Mick Creedon and his colleagues, on the condition that an assurance was sought from the Director of Public Prosecution and/or the Attorney General that I would not be prosecuted for breaching the Official Secrets Act for doing so and/or be granted immunity so I could speak.

"Sadly, Operation Herne, unlike Mark Ellison QC, refused to request such a reassurance and did not seek immunity on my behalf and in such circumstances, I was not able to engage with them.

"As was widely report at the time, in October 2013 Mick Creedon wrote to Channel 4 requesting copies of documents and footage held by the Dispatches programme in order, he said, to investigate whether a breach of the Official Secrets Act and other offences had taken place.

"My concerns about prosecution was therefore very real and to this day I still have not been informed by Operation Herne whether or not I am going to be prosecuted.

"Second, whilst deployed undercover by the Police, I was one of founder members of the Movement For Justice when it was set up in 1995, in the Kingsway College, London.

"The Report’s conclusion therefore that there is no evidence that any former SDS Officers were deployed directly into the Black Justice Campaigns is simply wrong.”

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