Blacklist Support Group (BSG) are applying to the Home Office for ‘core participant’ status in the Pitchford public inquiry into failures in undercover policing set up by Teresa May. This follows claims in the book ‘Blacklisted’ by Dave Smith & Phil Chamberlain, that undercover police officers spied on trade union activists from the construction industry and intelligence gathered was passed onto big business – resulting in blacklisting of union activists. Imran Khan & Partners solicitors are representing BSG, the same firm is also representing Doreen Lawrence in the Pitchford Inquiry.
The BSG are the only organisation to have officially complained to the IPCC over police collusion in the Consulting Association blacklist scandal and have been informed that ‘every Special Branch in the country routinely supplied information about prospective employees’ in correspondence from the police watchdog.
As a ‘core participant’ in the Pitchford inquiry, the BSG would be part of a central group of parties entitled to some input into the remit and to see the evidence before it is put into the public domain.
A number of individuals on the construction industry blacklist were spied on by undercover police officers from different units including the notorious Special Demonstration Squad, including Bob Lambert, Mark Kennedy, John Dines, Mark Jenner and the ex-undercover police officer turned whistleblower, Peter Francis. During an interview published in ‘Blacklisted’, Peter Francis admits targeting prominent union activists from the construction industry.
Special Demonstration Squad undercover officer Mark Jenner, became a member of UCATT under his false name during his deployment and was a regular visitor to picket lines and meetings in London during the late 1990s.
In addition, DCI Gordon Mills from another undercover police unit known as National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU) actually attended meetings and gave a PowerPoint presentation to the illegal Consulting Association. According to ‘Blacklisted’ there was a two way exchange of information between the police unit and the illegal blacklisting body.
There are likely to be clusters of evidence sessions around different aspects of undercover policing. Spying on justice campaigns (such as the Lawrence family), the women who were targeted & abused by the police, anti-racist / socialist / environmental groups, the use of dead babies identities etc… A number of the activists that appear on the building industry blacklist were participants in a variety of peaceful democratic campaigns and will therefore have an interest in a number of the different themes.
Dave Smith, BSG secretary & himself a victim of undercover police surveillance said:
“Hopefully by the BSG applying for core participant status, we will be able to guarantee that spying on trade unions and passing over information to private companies becomes a theme within the Pitchford inquiry. Police and security services spying on trade unions is not a one off aberration, it is standard operating procedure by the state.
Undercover police units and security services were involved in operations against trade unions at Grunwick, Shrewsbury, Wapping and during the Miner Strike. It is known that activists & officers from UCATT, UNITE, RMT, FBU, Unison, CWU, NUT and PCS have been targeted by undercover police units. BSG hope that all the unions affected come together and put in a joint submission to Pitchford, probably under the umbrella of the TUC. Official pressure from France’s O’Grady and other General Secretaries could have a significant influence on the scope of the Inquiry.”