The public inquiry into the policing scandal has confirmed the undercover identity of a police officer who is believed to have operated in Scotland.
The Pitchford Inquiry has confirmed that ‘Simon Wellings’ was the alias used by a so-called spycop who operated north of the border after infiltrating the anti-globalisation group, Globalise Resistance (GR).
Wellings is the latest spycop name to be confirmed by the inquiry, following ‘Marco Jacobs’ and ‘Carlo Neri,’ both of whom also worked undercover in Scotland according to campaigners.
According to Undercover Research Group – a group exposing police spies and campaigning for the truth – Wellings travelled to Scotland in 2004 to organising meetings as GR’s representative, using the pretext of visiting an ex-girlfriend. URG profile Wellings here.
GR was among a number of protest groups who gathered in Scotland in 2005 to protest at the G8 Summit at Gleneagles.
URG said that Wellings – pictured – infiltrated anti-globalisation group Globalise Resistance from 2001 to 2004, adding that he was part of the group’s steering committee and “in a position to gain information on the activities of other groups as well”.
“Wellings is notable for the method by which he was discovered – while being debriefed about his spying, he accidentally caused his phone to ring an activist friend, URG said. “That friend was out, so a copy of the conversation he was having was captured on their answering machine.”
From the recording, URG explained, it was clear the conversation had taken place in a police station and referred to people in Globalise Resistance .
At the time, Wellings was gearing up for the protests around the G8 Summit in Scotland 2005, including travelling to meetings north of the border.
In August 2004, a colleague at Globalise Resistance finally twigged and the group confronted him at a meeting.
During the Summit itself, Globalise Resistance would take part in various protests. Events included the march through Auchterarder, a protest at Dungavel detention centre, and the G8 Alternatives Conference in Edinburgh.
As he had been exposed prior to it, Wellings did not travel there with GR, though he is likely to have been involved behind the scenes with the policing of the protests.”
Meanwhile, four women deceived into relationships by spycops have criticised the review by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Scotland (HMICS) into undercover policing in Scotland while demanding a full public inquiry.
They belong to a group called Police Spies Out of Lives and include a woman using the name Lisa, a former partner of the most notorious spycop, Mark Kennedy.
Lisa successfully sued the Met and is a core participant at the Pitchford Inquiry. She told The Ferret how she travelled to Scotland on holiday with Kennedy several times to the Highlands, visiting Glencoe, the Ullapool area and the Cairngorms, for winter walking.
He came to my father’s funeral, he met my family members and he came on holiday with my friends. Lisa, Police Spies Out of Lives
She said: “Every single year he was deployed I went on holiday to Scotland with him. Every single year. I’ll never know exactly what all those things were, what the meaning of all those trips were. But the truth is he was being paid, the whole time he was with me, he was being paid and monitored by his employers.
“If it was simply just a holiday then that’s an outrageous waste of public money – and it must surely have been agreed, with the Scottish authorities knowing he would be visiting Scotland, surely that must have been sanctioned by somebody.
“These people weren’t just going on demonstrations and monitoring political groups, they were really becoming a huge and central part of people’s lives. He came to my father’s funeral, he met my family members and he came on holiday with my friends.”
In 2005, Lisa attended the G8 protests, staying in Stirling with Kennedy, before travelling with him from Scotland to Iceland to attend protests against the building of a dam.
She said: “This has massively impacted my life. There was some relief when the court case was settled and we had an apology from the Met Police, because up until that point they had constantly disputed everything we said, saying the most outrageous things about us in legal documents, fighting us at every move – so that’s been a huge relief so the last year has been better.
“But I have less and less confidence that a public inquiry will actually bring to light anything we don’t already know. This whole affair has had a hugely devastating effect on my life. It’s totally transformed the way that I view relationships, the way that I view myself.
“To know that this was policy, this was sanctioned. This isn’t just being let down by one person, this is realising you’ve been spied on by a whole police unit – in all your most private moments.”
Other victims of spycops have also asked for a full public inquiry to be held in Scotland while also criticising HMICS’s review.
Justice secretary Michael Matheson ordered an independent review to be carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) last year. Matheson originally wanted the Pitchford inquiry, which is reviewing the practice in England and Wales, to be extended to Scotland but his request was refused by the UK Government.
The Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) criticised Matheson for ordering the review without first consulting them.
In a letter to Matheson, the group say the review will be “devoid of any justice” and question the independence of HMICS due to, “their closeness to those they are supposed to be investigating”. The group also said the review will “prioritise” the voice of police officers over victims.
A spokesman for HMICS said it will engage with victims if they come forward despite the review not dealing with individual cases.
He said: “As highlighted in the recently published terms of reference, our strategic review of undercover policing in Scotland is not a public inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005, although it may inform future discussions as to the requirements for an inquiry into undercover policing in Scotland.
“The statutory powers of HMICS do not extend to the investigation of individual cases or complaints made against police officers or members of police staff involved in undercover policing operations in Scotland.
“Should anyone approach HMICS during our review with such a complaint, we will offer advice on where the complaint should be directed.”
He added: “However, HMICS will be interested in any strategic issues or themes arising from these complaints and use this information to inform our scrutiny. Individuals may contact us through our website.
“HMICS will ensure that appropriate stakeholder consultation and engagement is undertaken as part of the review process to understand key issues and concerns.”
The featured photograph is of Mark Kennedy, courtesy of Lisa.
The photo of Simon Wellings is courtesy of URG.