CRUCIAL parts of an inquiry into undercover police spies who spent years embedded in political movements are to be heard in secret in order to protect the state, it emerged yesterday.
‘It seems they spy on anybody who is challenging the status quo or capitalism,’ victim of police infiltration Helen Steel said yesterday. Steel is part of a group of eight woman who launched a legal action over unwitting relationships they had with police spies.
One of the spies even fathered a child on one of the eight women. The police spies assumed the identities of dead children to become leading members of left wing groups. The women fear that the Pitchford Inquiry, a public inquiry set up to investigate the police spying scandal, will be a whitewash.
Steel said: ‘These are serious human rights abuses being committed for a very long time, and if all the evidence is heard in secret we are not going to get to the truth and prevent these abuses again.
‘The Metropolitan Police applied to have all of their evidence heard in secret to keep back details of their undercover operations. The evidence would only be seen by a judge and the police. So it would be a completely one-sided inquiry.
‘As with Hillsborough last week, when you have the police in control of the evidence you end up with a coverup. The evidence needs to be out in the open about why these human rights abuses were allowed to happen.’
Speaking about the relationship with the man that Steel knew as John Barker, but who in fact was John Dynes an undercover police officer, Steel said: ‘I’d got to know John over the course of three years, and we started a relationship, lived to gether, talked about spending our lives together, and having children . . . and then he seemed to be going through some sort of mental breakdown and disappeared.
‘This is not about individual rogue officers. There were eight women who had relationships with five officers over a period spanning nearly 25 years, and are currently in the legal system. This is absolutely about an institutional practice.’
She concluded: ‘All of this needs to come out in the open, and if the police get their way and it is held in secret, then there will be little point in this public inquiry.’