Scotland’s former police chief personally signed off an undercover operation which involved an officer duping a woman into sex.
Wilson was an environmental activist targeted by a secret Metropolitan Police squad called the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU).
Kennedy spent seven years as a spycop infiltrating the lives of environmental campaigners. He deceived at least three other women into relationships.
Wilson had a two year relationship with Kennedy and does not know why she was personally targeted. She discovered his true identity in 2010 and is taking legal action against the Met and the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
Wilson says police violated her human rights.
She has already successfully sued police but is continuing her fight for the truth by taking the case to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). The IPT investigate complaints that law agencies unlawfully used covert techniques.
In a submission to the IPT, Wilson said that redacted documents from the Met revealed Gormley personally signed off Kennedy’s undercover investigation into her.
At the time Gormley was head of Special Branch and secretary of the Association of Chief Police Officers’ terrorism committee (ACPO-TAM), which oversaw Kennedy’s disgraced and now disbanded unit, the NPOIU.
While Gormley was overseeing the NPOIU, it ran spycops such as Kennedy, Lynn Watson and Marco Jacobs. All three worked undercover in Scotland and infiltrated protests at the 2005 G8 Summit at Gleneagles.
Kennedy used the name Mark Stone in his infiltration of the climate protest movement, and was known as ‘Flash’ to campaigners.
Wilson started her relationship with Kennedy in 2003 when she was involved in organising protests against a summit of G8 leaders in Scotland.
She told the IPT: “Document DLS-000002-0001 is signed by one Commander Philip Gormly (sic) to the effect that “The investigation is legal, necessary and proportionate and meets the criteria set out in the Human Rights Act 1998… [and that] the operation falls within the definition of an investigation into serious crime”.
“Thus, Philip Gormly (sic), and others, considered the “facts” and detailed information about me at their disposal and explicitly decided that it was proportionate, necessary and morally justifiable for Mark Kennedy continue to violate my personal and political rights.”
The IPT heard that files on Kennedy’s covert surveillance of Wilson revealed they made trips to the cinema, a museum and a concert, as well as a visit to the college where she had studied.
The police have admitted Kennedy’s line managers knew he was having an intimate relationship with Wilson and allowed it to continue.
It was the first such admission by police chiefs who previously claimed cops were not allowed to have sexual relationships with people they were spying on, under any circumstances.
The police were ordered to disclose a limited number of official files that were heavily censored. They included a document revealing Gormley signed off Kennedy’s investigation.
I want to know how high up in the police the relationships of undercover officers with women they targeted were known and authorised. Kate Wilson, environmental activist
Wilson said she felt “devastated” after finding out Kennedy systematically lied to her and she wants the truth revealed about which senior officers sanctioned the spycops’ activities.
She said: “I want to know how high up in the police the relationships of undercover officers with women they targeted were known and authorised. That is the reason why I continued the case about my human rights claim in the IPT. The sample disclosure we have been given by the police is a disgraceful for the amount of redactions.
“However, the fact that Phil Gormley is named as someone who authorised Mark Kennedy’s deployment targeting me is a first step, however tiny, in getting the answers we have been fighting for. And will continue to.”
Gormley was appointed Chief Constable of Scotland in 2015 but resigned in February amid allegations of bullying. His resignation coincided with the Home Office’s decision not to have an inquiry into undercover policing in Scotland.
It emerged recently he will join HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services to oversee the performance of Northern Irish and northern England forces.
Kennedy was one of more than 140 undercover officers known to have been deployed by police to infiltrate political groups since 1968.
Donál O’Driscoll of the Undercover Research Group, said: “We have looked into Phil Gormley’s involvement with undercover policing operations at various points in his career. In 2006, Gormley had the appropriate rank to sign off authorisation for Kennedy’s deployment.
“The fact that his signature appears in the disclosure confirms our analysis that he had a pivotal position – and must have been aware of the issues around the deployments of the undercover officers. Moreover, at that time he was overseeing the process that brought control over the NPOIU from Special Branch to ACPO-TAM. Meanwhile he was also leading the merger of Special Branch into the Counter Terrorism Command.”
Another woman targeted by undercover police renewed her call for an independent inquiry.
Environmental activist Tilly Gifford has legally challenged decisions not to have a separate inquiry into the spycops scandal in Scotland.
In England and Wales the Undercover Policing Inquiry is currently examining the actions of undercover police officers.
But UK ministers said it was “not possible” to extend it to Scotland despite evidence of Met Police officers also spying north of the border.
In February the Scottish Government rejected calls for a separate Scottish inquiry into the scandal.
Gifford took a legal case to the Court of Session in July challenging the UK and Scottish governments’ decisions but the court is still to issue its judgement.
She said: “This latest news that Phil Gormley personally signed off on deep undercover infiltration operations, is further evidence of the need for a transparent, independent investigation into undercover policing in Scotland.
“There are still many unanswered questions around UK operations that crossed the border. Whilst Phil Gormley was head of Police Scotland, its internal investigation found that no Scottish officers had infiltrated social justice campaigns in Scotland, with Phil Gormley resigning on the day this report was published.
“However, since then an independent expert report detailing evidence of Scottish infiltration and undercover policing of political groups was submitted to the judicial review hearing in July. It appears that it may not be possible to take the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland report findings – or the indeed the word of those at the very top of policing in Scotland – at face value.
“What all this points to, is at best that we have a shambolic picture of what has or hasn’t gone on. All in all, we remain sure that a full independent inquiry into political policing in Scotland is absolutely necessary and should be commissioned immediately by the Scottish government.”
The Met Police said: “The historical work, deployment and actions of officers within the now-disbanded Special Demonstration Squad and National Public Order Intelligence Unit will be fully explored and scrutinised by the Undercover Policing Inquiry. We are providing every assistance so the inquiry can fully address the key issues it has identified, and can fulfil its terms of reference.”
The Scottish Government said: “The case is currently with the Court of Session and, as such, the Scottish Government has no further comment to make prior to the court’s judgement being made.”
The National Police Chiefs’ Council declined to comment and Gormley did not respond to our request for a statement.
Police Scotland said: “As the inquiry into undercover policing is ongoing, it would not be appropriate for us to comment.”
This story was updated at 09.10 on the 16 October 2018 to add a comment from Police Scotland.