Unite, the UK’s largest union, have stated that the inquiry into undercover policing is ‘denying justice’ to victims by not delivering its final report to the home secretary until 2023.
The delay to the inquiry will mean that it will not be completed until eight years after it was first established. It was originally due to complete its work this year, but it has not yet even begun to take evidence. Even the date of submitting the final report in December 2023 has been described as ‘ambitious’.
While much of the focus of the inquiry has been on how undercover police officers formed sexual relationships with women who were unaware of their true identity, the inquiry is also examining how undercover police officers infiltrated unions and other organisations.
Unite has core participant status at the inquiry as a result of construction union Ucatt (now part of Unite) having been infiltrated by undercover officers.
The latest delay in the inquiry is also significant regarding the campaign against blacklisting. In March this year the Metropolitan Police was forced to finally admit that undercover police officers supplied information on workers to the Consulting Association, which blacklisted construction workers.
Despite this admission, the Metropolitan Police has said that it does not intend to take any further action until after the Undercover Police Inquiry has completed its work and made its final report.
Unite Assistant General Secretary Gail Cartmail, said: “This latest delay is a clear case of justice being denied. Victims of undercover policing have had their lives wrecked and yet they are still being denied answers.
“The government needs to explain why and how the delays are occurring. If this is a question of resources then additional funding must be found.
“The government needs to firmly rebut the growing belief that it is deliberately kicking this inquiry into the long grass because it is uncomfortable about what it will find.”