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  2. Image copyright Getty Images In February 2019, one of the UK's longest-running and most controversial inquiries confirmed what's been long suspected - that it may be another year before it hears any evidence at all. The inquiry into alleged undercover policing abuses was launched four years ago, in March 2015. It was supposed to have reported in 2018 - yet as it passes another anniversary, it has still not resolved some of the fundamental questions about how it should hear and publicise evidence. Given that it won't hear any before 2020, it won't remotely get to the full facts before the 10th anniversary of the unmasking in 2011 of Mark Kennedy, one of the officers whose actions led to miscarriages of justice. Victims have walked out of court in protest at how the inquiry is being run, a move backed by Baroness Lawrence, mother of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in 1993. It was the allegation that an undercover officer had infiltrated the Stephen Lawrence justice campaign that triggered the inquiry. Police officers who thought they had been promised lifelong anonymity have threatened not to co-operate. And amid all of this, it has spent £13m trying to navigate a legal and logistical quagmire relating to anonymity, national security and privacy. The key objective of the inquiry is to get answers from the officers who made up two disbanded units - the Metropolitan Police's Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). Of the more than 160 former SDS officers who are still alive, more than 100 have sought some form of anonymity - and two-thirds of those have got it. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Baroness Lawrence backed the victims' walkout An even greater proportion of the more than 60 NPOIU officers are expected to be similarly protected because many of them are still serving in the police - and potentially still undercover. This anonymity process - we'll have the final figures by the summer - has been at the heart of complaints from the victims of abuses. They say that unless campaigners who were targeted know who the officers were, they cannot provide meaningful evidence to the inquiry. Lawyers for the officers argue that undercover officers are entitled to anonymity because their lives may be in danger - although in some cases the pleas are simply based on concerns about privacy. The story of the officer codenamed HN16 shows how difficult this exercise has been. HN16 was in the SDS and infiltrated groups between 1997 and 2002. In his anonymity application he said some of his targets were violent. Now the ruling from Sir John Mitting, the inquiry chairman, is that he won't be named unless there is a good reason to do so - despite campaigners saying that he won't know what the good reason is unless the officers are named. In the case of HN16 he came to a halfway-house position. Image copyright Julia Quenzler Image caption Sir John Mitting, a retired judge, is heading the inquiry In late 2017, he disclosed the officer had infiltrated the Animal Liberation Front and hunt saboteurs in Croydon and Brixton, south London. And he'd used two cover, or fake, names: James Straven and Kevin Crossland. The latter was the name of a real five-year-old boy, who died in an air crash in August 1966. When it came to building his undercover identity, HN16 apparently obtained Kevin's birth records, and created a fictional life by legally resurrecting a boy who had died in an awful disaster. This "stealing" of the names of dead children is one of the major limbs of the inquiry. And revealing HN16's cover name led to him being implicated in a second strand. Two women came forward to say the officer had tricked them into sexual relationships. HN16 has now admitted both relationships. Their stories came to light only when there was enough information about the officer for them to join the dots. The upshot is that the chairman has declared that HN16 will have to be named, despite his protests. Image copyright The Guardian Image caption Former undercover police officer Mark Kennedy spent seven years living as environmental activist Mark Stone How long did this process take? Three years. And it will be a lot longer before we hear from HN16 about why he did it. If the suspected victims can't know the names of all of the officers who were monitoring them, will they find the truth lies in the reports those officers filed? Here, the second challenge the inquiry faces becomes clear. Scotland Yard has described the process of tracking down and assessing undercover documents dating back to the late 1960s as "unprecedented". There are now 100 police officers and staff working full-time on helping the inquiry - and a further 30 lawyers and legal staff advising them. Scotland Yard couldn't give the BBC an up-to-date figure, but their last estimate was that the inquiry was now costing £14m a year. But there's more. The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), the umbrella group for chief constables, is also involved. It has uncovered the data equivalent of 40 million pages of records relating to the National Public Order Intelligence Unit's activities. Now, clearly, a lot of those pages will be irrelevant, but what if just 1% of the documents are important? The NPCC thinks it could take a team of officers more than four years to go through them to assess whether they need redacting (censoring) before being disclosed to the public. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The vast numbers of documents involved is one of the inquiry's main challenges And as the inquiry limbers up to record the officers' actual accounts about their undercover lives, the strain to manage all this information - and work out what can safely be put in the public domain - will only increase. The NPCC predicts the total costs across all forces will be in the tens of millions of pounds. There is also now a new and bewilderingly complex issue of the right to privacy. On Monday 25 March the inquiry holds the second of two complicated hearings into the handling of personal information about the people officers targeted. Let's say the inquiry has an intelligence report from Officer HN16 on an animal-rights meeting he watched. That report would name attendees, what they said and did, and who they associated with. Should the inquiry reveal those details - to the officers - and should these documents be heavily redacted before the public see them? If they're redacted, they won't make much sense: it will be difficult to understand who was being targeted - and why. The inquiry wants to show uncensored reports to the officers, so it can ask them to justify their actions. But the inquiry may have a legal duty under data protection laws, as the custodian of this historical document, to ask the individuals first what they want retained by the inquiry - and therefore disclosed. Image caption Helen Steel is concerned that private information about victims will be made public At the inquiry's last major hearing in January, Sir John Mitting revealed that based on 26,000 documents from the decade up to 1984, SDS officers each produced 1,000 pages of intelligence reports. In total, they gathered information concerning around 5,000 people. When one of the lawyers for victims suggested the inquiry contact all of the 5,000 to give them the same opportunity to seek anonymity and privacy as the officers, Sir John replied: "We will not finish this decade." Helen Steel, who was tricked into a relationship, said it would be "absolutely outrageous" to deny victims the chance to withhold sensitive personal information. In her case, she has already discovered enough to be sure that information about her health made it into the files. "It feels like entirely double standards," she said. "We have had three years of hearings about protecting the police and their privacy and fears, and now effectively it feels like we are being told it is too great a burden to protect the privacy of those who were actually spied on, who have already had their privacy invaded by the state." So these are just some of the monumental challenges the inquiry still has to resolve. Will it be the UK's longest inquiry? It would have to run for 13 years and three months to beat the record (which concerned investigations into hospital deaths), according to the Institute for Government. So if I'm still watching it in 2028, I'll let you know. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47625246
  3. Today
  4. Funkywingnut

    SHAPES

    Your initial PST training is your foundation stage, that is the beginning of what should be a minimal of annual training.
  5. Dave

    SHAPES

    Just out of interest, what do you mean by foundation stage?
  6. Yesterday
  7. Cathedral Bobby

    Brexit Discussion

    Just to reinforce what I said about cruel, Reece Mog (Walter the Softy lookalike) is totally out of step with reality. https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/anti-hunting-group-criticise-jacon-2665497 And what could be even more cruel than calling your children Sextus and Boniface. What a complete and utter TW***. By the way, before my post gets pulled, TW*** = TWONK. Whoever called this misfit the Honourable Member for the 18th Century was out by 500 years.
  8. Funkywingnut

    SHAPES

    Yeah that’s not a technique specified in the Manual, shouldn’t really teach what’s not in the manual, but we all give alternatives or end up using a non manual technique. I teach something similar with two hand on head for crashing in as an alternative to SPEAR. But at your foundation PST stage I wouldn’t be teaching these alternatives. PST instructors quite often like to add what they train in or like. You have to be careful.
  9. Cathedral Bobby

    Brexit Discussion

    Her Lancaster House speech tied her to the ERG Tory misfits and she painted herself into a corner making it all but impossible for her to find parliamentary consensus, although at that point she had intended to paint around parliament. But a little reminder that there are three parts to governance in this country, the courts and parliament, flexed their muscles and it has all been down hill since then. But the Maybot had chosen her friends unwisely and her compromise direction finder was broken and she was not willing to deviate, no matter how many times the ERG and DUP stabbed her in the back.
  10. Dave

    SHAPES

    Had a quick look at this defence labs video and this was one of the moves that he does around the 23 second marker.
  11. Beaker

    Brexit Discussion

    Pretty much this. I'm waiting to see if "Treason May* revokes A50 as an act of petulance when it dawns on her that her political career is dead.
  12. Cathedral Bobby

    Brexit Discussion

    They are uncompromising and want nothing other than what they want - hard/pure/total/no deal Brexit. Although I have felt that Brexit should happen, the arrogance of Farrage et al has changed me from accepting the outcome to thinking they don't give a stuff who gets hurt in their quest. They are vile, cruel, selfish idiots and now I want whatever will anger them most because that will be the right thing for this country.
  13. BlueBob

    Brexit Discussion

    Perhaps if the line of Farage etc etc put as much effort into getting a good exit instead of playing games with/against May, we may well be in a better position.
  14. You're right, dammed if we do, dammed if we don't.
  15. Cathedral Bobby

    Brexit Discussion

    I have said it for long enough, Farage, Boris the Womble, Bulldog François and Walter the Softy are responsible if Brexit doesn't happen and they, not remainers, should be held to account. They have sabotaged Brexit, destroyed the Tory Party, lied to the nation, cost the nation billions of pounds, and all for their singular ideological vanity. Their actions are selfish, irresponsible and based on self interest. They want the UK to be the Singapore on the coast of Western Europe where they can stash their millions.
  16. It was a no win situation, if it hadn’t been investigated to that level it would have been criticised.
  17. Efficient use of resources I think the term is.
  18. Cops blew more than £400,000 on a shambolic probe into a drone alert which paralysed Gatwick. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/cops-blew-400k-gatwick-drone-14177618
  19. Funkywingnut

    SHAPES

    Search Defence Lab there are loads about as a franchise.
  20. Funkywingnut

    SHAPES

    Sounds like someone is adding to the techniques, not a bad technique but definitely not in the book so they shouldn’t be teaching it. Especially on your PST foundation stage.
  21. Dave

    SHAPES

    Looks pretty much like what it was. Thanks for that
  22. Dave

    SHAPES

    Quite possibly. Apparently was designed as a lot of officers are now single crewed. Involves placing your arm down your back so it guards your neck and the elbow covers the face. Second arm then covers the forehead. You drop down so you can see the attackers feet etc Not the best description, but hopefully that gives an idea!
  23. Funkywingnut

    SHAPES

    Does it resemble this?
  24. Funkywingnut

    SHAPES

    Shapes? Is it similar to the Defence lab stud where you have you hands on your head? Changing the shape to deflect an attack and strike back? Definitely not in the Home Office PST manual unless a new one has been released
  25. Fedster

    Brexit Discussion

    Maybe so but i just find it ironic that remainers get mocked for wanting a second referendum and get accused of being undemocratic for not accepting the outcome, when the fact of the matter is the reason the result aka May's deal is failing time and time again is purely down to Brexiteers from the ERG and DUP who refuse to accept the outcome, if people accuse remainers of being undemocratic than the same label should used for Brexiteers.
  26. Dave

    SHAPES

    Just a quick question. Underwent my Border Force PST today and was training on a new technique that has apparently come from the police called Shapes. Has anyone heard of it? Tried looking online as I always like to find out a bit more info, like SPEAR, but can't find anything.
  27. BlueBob

    Brexit Discussion

    Not saying it’s my fav option, but it just possible that’s the best that was going to be accepted. After all, your/my/our ideal deal would not be accepted by the other 27.
  28. Fedster

    Brexit Discussion

    No one likes the result i.e. May's deal be that Brexiteers or Remainers.
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