Spycops update, February 2020

7 February 2020 — Spycops

Here’s the monthly roundup of the campaign for truth and justice about the scandal of Britain’s political secret police.


Last month saw the revelation that counter-terrorism police had included Extinction Rebellion, CND and other campaigning groups on their watch list. They said it was a one-off mistake by a local force, but then came a similar list from the national unit.

Shocking as it is to see the breadth of groups police deem a threat, it was wrong for this to be portrayed as something new. It’s always been part of the purpose of the political police, and certainly the spycops units set up in 1968 cast a similarly wide net.

We published this article on how it’s been going on for decades, and why we should be encouraged because it means they see our power even when we can’t see it ourselves.



As the Undercover Policing Inquiry limbers up to start in the summer, we’ve published a Frequently Asked Questions guide. It covers why and when it was set up, what format it will take, when and where the hearings will happen, how to keep informed, and more.



After a long delay, the Inquiry has rowed back on its promise to publish pictures of officers.

For officers who have a ‘restriction order’ preventing publication of their real name (which is most of them), pictures will only be included in the evidence sent to witnesses who are already known to be involved with that officer.

Photos have already proved vital to jogging memories of people who were spied on (trying to remember ‘Bob’ from 40 years ago is one thing, seeing a contemporaneous picture is another). If pictures aren’t published, many victims will not realise their comrade was a spycop, and the Inquiry won’t hear their testimony.

Beyond that, the refusal to publish real names means we only get to hear what happened in the officer’s deployment, rather than hold them to account now. If it hadn’t been for activist researchers unmasking ‘Bob Robinson’, lying to courts, we’d hear about his fathering a child with a woman he spied on, becoming a manager and overseeing the spying on Stephen Lawrence’s family, but he would still have been able to carry on as Bob Lambert, university lecturer teaching his methods to a new generation of police managers.


Core participants have been given until 19th February in the month to respond.


The Inquiry has said it will publish the real name of officer ‘Anthony “Bobby” Lewis’, who targeted the Anti-Nazi League and family justice campaigns (including that for Stephen Lawrence family) in the early 1990s. He also had sexual relationships with at least two women he spied on. More precisely, his name will not be redacted when documents mentioning him are used in the Inquiry. 

The Inquiry’s original Chair, Lord Pitchford, promised women who were deceived into relationships by spycops that they they would be given the fullest information possible about their abuser. The current Chair, Sir John Mitting, is honouring that promise though not the whole spirit of it – he is giving names to the women and leaving it to them to decide whether to make it public, rather than having the Inquiry take that responsibility.

The Undercover Research Group are currently preparing a profile of him – if you have information on him, do get in touch with them.


The award-winning documentary on construction industry blacklisting is still proving popular. Lifting the lid on how most of the household-name construction firms colluded with police to run an illegal blacklist of politically active workers – and showing the struggle for truth and justice – has a number of screenings lined up. All of them iclude a Q&A with director Lucy Parker unless otherwise stated.

6 February: Bertha Dochouse Screen, Curzon Bloomsbury, London. Q&A with Lucy Parker, Dave Smith (Blacklist Support Group) and ‘Andrea’ (Police Spies Out of Lives)

7 February: Birkbeck Cinema, Haldane Society London

14 – 21 February: Bertha Dochouse daily screenings (no Q&A)

7 March: The Green, Nunhead London

8 March: Rhubaba Gallery, Edinburgh

9 March: Grassmarket Community Project, Edinburgh, with Neil Findlay MSP

See the film’s site for more info:

Copyright © 2020 Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS), All rights reserved. 

Our mailing address is:
Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS)
5 Caledonian Road
London, N1 9DX
United Kingdom

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