Colin Roach Centre: Dalston activist duped into relationship with undercover cop hits out as police ‘destroy evidence’
PUBLISHED: 15:51 09 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:44 09 February 2017
A Dalston activist duped into a relationship with a police spy is devastated that key documents which could have helped her come to terms with her ordeal may have been destroyed by Scotland Yard.
“Alison” – a pseudonym she is using to protect her children – was hoping to gain closure from the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing about her five-year relationship with a man she knew as Mark Cassidy. The pair met at a political community centre in Bradbury Street where a group of activists were investigating alleged corruption at Stoke Newington police station.
But yesterday the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) watchdog announced it is investigating allegations that the national domestic extremism and disorder intelligence unit at Scotland Yard shredded files in May 2014 – two months after the then home secretary Theresa May ordered the inquiry.
Alison was one of seven women who received an unreserved apology and payout from the Met in 2015 for unknowingly becoming involved in what the police admitted were “abusive and manipulative” long-term relationships with undercover officers.
He vanished overnight in 2000 and she later discovered his real name was Mark Jenner and he was married with children. Alison told the Gazette today: “The main issue for us with the shredded documents is that in 2014 our legal case was going on, and the police were being asked for disclosure. Some of the documents we were requesting might have been shredded.
"We had members suing the police. Mark Jenner could have been helping the police defend lawful proceedings against themselves"
“Unfortunately none of this surprises me but it is shocking. We didn’t have disclosure in the legal case at all, and to think we aren’t going to get answers from the inquiry because key documents no longer exist is highly problematic – and that’s an understatement to say the least.”
Graham Smith, founding member of the Hackney Community Defence Association (HCDA) – a self-help group for police victims that operated from the Colin Roach Centre – said: “We had members suing the police.
“Mark Jenner could have been gathering information completely unconnected with a crime. He could have been helping the police defend lawful proceedings against themselves.”
Dr Smith, a consultant to the Council of Europe on human rights law, said if true, the document shredding allegations equate to “the police being able to pervert the course of justice”.
“You’ve got to put it as high as that, which is what we have said all along,” he said.
“The thing is it’s not a surprise. The Met has not cooperated with Pitchford at all. From the beginning they have delayed and dragged their feet. They are really subverting the inquiry, which they are supposed to cooperate with.”
The inquiry should have started hearing evidence last summer but is running 18 months behind schedule.
Bizarrely, despite paying Alison damages, the Met has still not officially confirmed Jenner was an undercover officer.
The Met said it referred the allegations about the alleged shredding to the IPCC in May. “It would be inappropriate to provide further information while the independent investigation is ongoing,” said a spokesman. “We remain committed to providing our fullest possible co-operation to the inquiry.”