JUSTICE Secretary Michael Matheson has been urged to publish a review of undercover policing after it emerged the report had been sitting on his desk for over two months.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) submitted the piece of work on November 2nd, but no publication date has been announced by the SNP Government.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Once the report’s findings have been fully considered, arrangements will be made to lay the report in the Scottish Parliament.”

Two Met-based undercover units, both of which are now disbanded, have been the subject of huge political and media interest over their practices and strategies.

From the 1960s onwards, police moles were embedded into peaceful protest groups and some pursued sexual relationships with women they were spying on.

Many of the officers took their code names from dead babies and, in at least one case, a covert policeman fathered a child with a woman who did not know his real identity.

A judicial inquiry was set up by the UK Government to investigate the units, but the remit was not extended north of the border.

The decision to restrict the inquiry to England and Wales angered campaigners, as some of the undercover activities took place in Scotland.

Mark Kennedy, a notorious ‘spy cop’ who was known as Mark ‘Stone’, is known to have operated near the G8 summit at Gleneagles.

Matheson declined to back a separate Scottish inquiry, but instead directed HMICS to conduct a review of undercover policing.

According to the terms of reference, the review would provide an “independent view” of the operation, procedures and safeguards in place by the single force on covert policing.

It would also examine the scale of undercover policing in Scotland from 2000 onwards and look at the activities of the two London-based units during this period.

However, in a press release issued last year, HMICS said it would “endeavour” to provide a final report to Ministers for it to be laid before the Parliament in early September.

This timetable slipped and the report was only issued to Matheson in the first week of November. He has not yet published the review.

Neil Findlay, a Labour MSP, said: “Michael Matheson has been sitting on this report for over two months and all the while victims of unethical undercover policing are denied justice or even an understanding of how the police operated in relation to their case. He should publish this report now.”

A spokesman for HMICS said: “When we published our terms of reference on 11 January 2017, we recognised that our inspection would require extensive stakeholder engagement and that our intended publication date would be influenced by a number of critical dependencies.

“HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice on 2 October 2017 advising that although our review had been completed, our timescales had been extended to allow sufficient time for factual accuracy checking with stakeholders. We anticipated our report being finalised in November.

“Our report was submitted to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice on 2 November 2017 and in terms of the legislation, it is for him to determine when it is laid before the Scottish Parliament.”