In the last 5 years campaigners, journalists and whistleblowers have brought to light the shocking tactics of political undercover policing in the UK. Tactics used by police units spying on environmental and social justice campaigns include officers deceiving women into intimate relationships while undercover; fathering children with political activists; spying on the grieving families and friends of victims of racist murders or police malpractice, passing information to private companies responsible for blacklisting of trade unionists, deceiving the Courts leading to miscarriages of justice and stealing the identities of children who have died. These shocking revelations have culminated in the Home Secretary announcing a Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing, which is now in its preliminary stages.
This week it was revealed that former UK political police spy John Dines, who was part of the widely discredited Special Demonstration Squad, now works at an Australian police training school and is course director for a training program for Indian police officers, which includes training in ‘emerging challenges, viz, Left Wing Extremist and other low-intensity conflicts’.
‘Left wing Extremist’ and it’s counterpart ‘Domestic Extremist’ are widely used but never properly defined phrases trotted out on behalf of the rich and powerful in order to discredit their opponents and discourage opposition to the status quo. They encompass pretty much anyone who challenges oppression or injustice or the assumption that making money is more important than people’s lives or the state of the planet.
John Dines infiltrated London Greenpeace between 1987 and 1991 and during that time deceived campaigner Helen Steel into a two year relationship before disappearing claiming he was suffering from a mental breakdown. Helen then spent
years trying to find out what had happened to her partner before discovering that the name he had been using was actually that of a child who had died 8 years old. As she continued her search to find out who he was and why he had been in her life, the Metropolitan Police arranged for him to be resettled in Australia to prevent her from finding him.
For the past five years, Dines has been working at the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security, which is part of Charles Sturt University and he currently directs training courses for police officers. On 6th March after tracking him down, Helen confronted him at Sydney Airport where he was meeting a delegation of Indian Police Officers arriving for training. He apologised for his conduct towards her, however he still remains in a position where he has the potential to encourage further abuse via political policing.
This is not the only example of officers who have committed serious human rights abuses being involved in training other police officers. Earlier this year Bob Lambert was forced to resign after a campaign to have him removed from his teaching positions at the John Grieve school of policing at London Met University, and at St Andrew’s University. During his time in the SDS Bob Lambert had deceptive relationships with four women and even fathered and then abandoned a child while undercover, before going on to head the unit.
The John Grieve school of policing states on its website that it provides training to police forces in other countries, including countries such as Turkey, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia and China where there are widespread concerns about oppression of political campaigners.
In November the Metropolitan Police issued a public apology to women who had been deceived into relationships with undercover police officers, for what the police acknowledged were serious human rights abuses. The Met stated that these tactics should never be used again. We need to ensure that officers from these discredited units do not perpetuate or encourage similar abuses on political movements here or in other countries.
The Metropolitan Police has a responsibility to notify former officers and police /security training colleges that the tactics used by these political undercover units are unacceptable and should not be used again here or abroad.
For more information on the undercover policing scandals see:
Join the picket of New Scotland Yard Weds 9 March 4pm in solidarity with Helen and all targets of spy cops.