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Met Police apologise to Hampshire Constabulary

Witness Appeal: Hampshire Constabulary

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Hampshire Police have issued a statement with regards to an apology they have received from the Metropolitan Police about the Undercover Policing Inquiry.

The Undercover Policing Inquiry, established in 2015, was set up to investigate and report on undercover policing operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces since 1968.

Statement from Hampshire Constabulary following apology from the Metropolitan Police

You may be aware of a long-running Undercover Policing Inquiry, which was established in 2015 to investigate and report on undercover policing operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces since 1968.

It is examining the contribution undercover policing has made to tackling crime, how it was and is supervised and regulated, and its effects on the individuals involved, both police officers and others who came into contact with them.

The work of the Inquiry is looking at the full scope of undercover policing work and in particular, the work of the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit. It is also examining whether people may have wrongly been convicted in cases involving undercover police officers, and to refer any such cases to a separate panel for consideration.

Hampshire Constabulary has today received an apology from the Metropolitan Police following the release of the cover name of former Special Demonstration Squad officer ‘Christine Green’ as part of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, as well as an acknowledgement that we were unaware of any of these practices taking place in our force area.

I wanted to share with you the statement issued by our force lead in this area, Chief Superintendent Darren O’Callaghan regarding an incident that happened in the New Forest area in 1998.

In August 1998, Hampshire Constabulary investigated an incident of criminal damage at Crow Hill Farm near Ringwood. During this incident, 6,000 mink were released into the New Forest and the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility. Following an investigation by Hampshire Constabulary, and based on the information available at the time, no individuals were identified as being responsible and no charges were brought.

In 2014, Hampshire Constabulary was made aware of the involvement of an undercover Metropolitan Police Special Demonstration Squad officer using now discredited tactics during the incident at Crow Hill Farm. On the basis of this information, we conducted a full review of our original investigation. However, due to the length of time that had passed, the lack of tangible evidence and no suspects being identified, in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, it was agreed that there was no realistic chance of prosecution. Prior to this disclosure, Hampshire Constabulary was unaware of the presence of the officer during this crime, or the tactics being employed by the Metropolitan Police.

Once this new information became known and in the interests of openness and transparency, Hampshire Constabulary sought permission to inform the affected parties in this case, however we were notified that the crime and the tactics used were subject to the Undercover Policing Inquiry and therefore bound by the confidentiality of this legal process.

We continue to fully co-operate with the Inquiry.