POLICE Scotland’s chief constable is facing questions about a second undercover unit whose officers had sex with the activists they targeted.
Phil Gormley was on the police chiefs’ body behind the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), which was responsible for the notorious police mole Mark Kennedy.
Kennedy visited Scotland on duty 14 times before being exposed in 2010.
Loading article content
The Pitchford Inquiry was set up by Home Secretary Theresa May to investigate undercover police activity amid revelations officers had been infiltrating environmental and anti-racist groups.
Two units that embedded officers are under the spotlight: the Special Demonstration Squad, which was under the control of the Met’s Special Branch and operated between 1968 and 2008; and the NPOIU, set up in 1999.
It has since emerged that SDS officers slept with their targets and one former detective, Bob Lambert, fathered a child with a female activist in the 1980s.
They also used the identities of dead babies as cover and kept tabs on the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence in the 1990s.
A Sunday Herald investigation revealed how Gormley, who started as chief constable earlier this month, commanded the Met’s Special Branch for a period around a decade ago.
However, he is now also facing questions about the NPOIU, which was part of the Met until 2006, at which point it transferred to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).
The NPOIU was under the umbrella of ACPO’s Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM) group, and Police Scotland has confirmed Gormley was “involved with” the committee.
The National Police Chiefs' Council – which replaced ACPO – could not provide the Sunday Herald with the exact date of his involvement with the TAM committee, but said their “working assumption” was between 2005 and 2008.
NPOIU is controversial due to its association with Kennedy, who was deployed by the unit between 2003 and 2010 as an environmental campaigner tasked to gather intelligence on individuals, groups and campaigns.
Known as Mark “Flash” Stone by activists at the time, he was the “transport co-ordinator” for anti-G8 protestors near the Gleneagles summit in 2005.
During his undercover career, he seduced a number of his female targets without telling them he was a police officer.
Sarah Hampton, who told her story exclusively to this newspaper, met Kennedy in 2005 and was in a relationship with him by the time of the G8.
She said: “By the time I was in Scotland with him we were having a full on romance. We both helped set up the demonstration eco-village during the Gleneagles anti-G8 demonstrations in Stirling...We were very busy but would spend the night in each other’s tents. Mark was very loving while we were in Scotland. It was during that time that I fell in love with him.”
She has not seen him for nearly a decade: “Supposedly he will need to testify at the Pitchford Inquiry. To be honest, I look forward to him having to look me in the eye.”
The woman he had the longest relationship with, Lisa, said she was so close to him he was even in the mourners’ car when he her father died. “He was the one who held me as I cried through the night, and helped me pick myself up again after that,” Lisa says.
Kate Wilson, who had a two-year relationship with Kennedy when he was undercover, said of finding out his true identity: “My sense of who I am and what I can believe, have been devastating and I remain haunted by unanswered questions”.
According to an Inspectorate report from 2012, which reviewed the NPOIU’s use of undercover officers, Kennedy was deployed in 11 countries and visited Scotland over a dozen times.
The report added: “There is evidence that the NPOIU were securing agreements with the destination countries for Mark Kennedy’s overseas deployments.”
Pic: Neil Findlay MSP
Other officers working for NPOIU are also alleged to have had sex with activists.
Due to his past links with ACPO TAM, Gormley is facing questions about the NPOIU.
However, there is no suggestion of impropriety on the part of the chief constable.
While Gormley has not answered questions on the SDS/NPOIU, Police Scotland has said he would be happy to cooperate with the Inquiry.
Lindsay Davies from the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance said: “He [Gormley] should tell the truth about his past. As the police and security services so often tell us, the innocent have nothing to fear."
Labour MSP Neil Findlay said: "Phil Gormley has taken up a very important job with Police Scotland. He needs to get off on the right footing, so should be completely open about what he knows about the SDS, the NPOIU and the discredited officers who worked for them. If he fails to do this then this issue will hang over him and questions that need answered won't go away."
Donal O'Driscoll, a spokesman for the Undercover Research Group, said: "Phil Gormley needs to be transparent and clear about his role overseeing the Special Demonstration Squad and in relation to the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.”
Police Scotland Chief Superintendent Andrew Morris said: “Mr Gormley was involved with ACPO TAM for a period of time during his service with the Metropolitan Police Service and we are currently awaiting confirmation of the exact dates of his tenure to ensure accurate publication of requested information.”