22 March 2017
The Domestic Extremism unit run by the Metropolitan Police deleted files in a bid to cover up illegal hacking of campaigners’ emails, a police whistleblower has revealed to Green peer Jenny Jones.
The unit, called the National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit (NDEDIU), deleted the files in May 2014 to hide the fact an operative, who was working under orders from a police officer, had been spying on the email accounts of a number of environmental and social justice campaigners. The police officer had been supplied with the campaigners’ passwords by the Covert Human Intelligence Source, the whistleblower revealed.
Lawyers at Bindmans, who are acting on behalf of Jenny Jones and others whose files had been shredded by the NDEDIU approached six of the people on the list to verify that the private email accounts and passwords were theirs. They then presented the letter to senior investigators at the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Baroness Jones had a follow-up meeting with the deputy head of the IPCC (over a week ago) to discuss what progress had been made. Baroness Jones discussed with the IPCC when she intended to publish.
Jenny Jones said:
”This illegal hacking by a police officer along with the collusion of officers within the Domestic Extremism Unit, is one of the worst cases of state snooping that I’ve ever heard. The personal information within the letter is accurate and it could only have been obtained illegally. There is more than enough to justify a full-scale criminal investigation into the activities of these police officers and referral to a public inquiry. I have urged the IPCC to act quickly to secure further evidence and to find out how many people were victims of this nasty practice. These emails could have contained personal information about medical conditions, worries of parents about their kids, family arguments and people’s love lives. It is completely unacceptable that the police can stick their noses into the lives of innocent people without a shred of evidence that they are involved in terrorism or serious crime.
“We need an immediate end to the police surveillance of non-violent campaign groups who have no association with serious crime. By allowing the police to spy on environmentalists and campaigners for social justice, the government invites the security services to intrude on ordinary people’s lives. That invitation to snoop provides cover for some officers to go further and to by-pass the law regulating state surveillance to read private emails about people’s personal lives. Whether it is undercover police forming long-term sexual relationships or these allegations that the police employ foreign hackers to open people’s emails. It all starts with the government giving the green light to spy on innocent people.
“I want to praise the brave whistleblowers within the Met Police who have given me this information. Given the appalling treatment by the Met of whistleblowers acting in the public interest, I can completely understand why police officers might want to remain anonymous. Officers who care about the professionalism and political neutrality of the police are one of mainstays of a democratic society and deserve our support.”
1. The IPCC were notified by phone on the 17th February, after six of the ten personal email accounts and passwords contained in the letter had been checked with the people concerned. The first meeting with them and Jenny’s lawyer took place on the 23rd Feb. IPCC investigators have now requested a formal witness statement from Jenny.
2. The IPCC previously confirmed that there is evidence which suggests other documents were shredded after the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) was announced, and a specific MPS instruction had been issued that documents should not be destroyed without express permission.
In the IPCC press release Feb 2017, they state that:
Following a referral from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in May 2016, the IPCC has been investigating allegations that documents kept by the National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit (NDEDIU) were shredded in May 2014.
The IPCC can confirm that there is evidence which suggests documents were shredded after the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) was announced, and a specific MPS instruction had been issued that documents should not be destroyed without express permission.
IPCC Deputy Chair Sarah Green, said “… investigation is ongoing. While the evidence indicates that a large number of documents were shredded over a period of days in May 2014, the difficult task ahead for our investigators is to determine what the documentation was, why it was destroyed, whether electronic copies were kept and who may have ordered its destruction.
“We are also examining what action the Metropolitan Police took once it was alerted, by a member of staff, to the allegations in December 2014.”
“Separately a complaint by Baroness Jenny Jones, that records held by the Metropolitan Police relating to her were destroyed or deleted in or about June 2014, was referred to the IPCC on 27 January. That complaint is now also subject to independent investigation.”
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