Over the weekend of 16 and 17 April 2016, the Centre's co-sponsored conference 'Subversion, sabotage, and spying: Political policing and state racism in the UK' took place.
Video footage from the entire conference can now be viewed online here.
The conference focused on two main issues:
- The evolution and practice of political policing in UK. Building on the hugely successful conference in 2015, this event explored the history and disastrous impact of the policing of social and justice movements, in light of the upcoming Undercover Policing Inquiry. It also demanded the Inquiry adopts an open and rigorous approach.
- The nature of state racism. Institutional, popular and sometimes violent racism, together with policing policies that target or create notions of suspect communities, have a damaging impact they have on British society.
The conference heard from a formidable and eminent list of speakers.
The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP, criticised the lack of democratic control, transparency and openness on policing operations. He recognised the need to continue campaigning and maintain pressure to ensure the Inquiry delivers answers.
An official statement was delivered by Piers Doggart, the solicitor to the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UPI), during the final session of the conference. A copy can be viewed on the Inquiry website. The conference was the first occasion in which a UPI lawyer addressed members of the public outside the court setting. It proved to be a riveting exchange between non-state core participants and lawyers representing the Lord Justice Pitchford, chair of the Inquiry.
The Guardian highlighted comments made by Baroness Doreen Lawrence, who criticised Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met police commissioner, saying he should be 'ashamed of himself' for attempting to ensure that large parts of the 'public inquiry' into police spying be held in private. A full report with more detailed comments from Baroness Lawrence can be read on The Guardian website.
Newsweek reported on calls from the conference that the Inquiry be held in public and the names of officers disclosed to ensure transparency.
The Morning Star reported on newly discovered documents showing that undercover police officers infiltrated campaign groups protesting against deaths at work. It highlighted undercover officers attempting to gain information on campaigns against police brutality.
Will McMahon, the Centre's Deputy Director said, 'The conference’s success owes much to the extensive experience, unique position and the driving force of our conference partners, The Monitoring Group. The Centre is proud to have worked alongside them, Tottenham Rights and Imran Khan Partners, in delivering such a ground-breaking event.'
What others said about the conference
'With a series of great speakers, including the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Doreen Lawrence, Imran Khan and many more, the conference effectively demonstrated the huge gap between the reality of the racist surveillance and spying campaigns of recent years by the Police and secret state. It also showed how the British establishment likes to think of itself as a set of transparent and democratic institutions. I left feeling both shocked and appalled by the sheer dishonesty and racism of the British State but also exhilarated that so many activists are starting to organise and form alliances to make their voices heard', Andy Gregg, Director of Race On The Agenda (ROTA)
'I had the privilege of speaking at a very important meeting at the weekend, it raised very serious issues for us all', Alastair Morgan, brother of Daniel Morgan, a journalist murdered whilst investigating police corruption
'A brilliant conference', Jane Deighton, solicitor
'The conference was a huge and impressive success', Imran Khan, Human Rights solicitor
This conference was co-organised by Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and The Monitoring Group, and was supported by Imran Khan and Partners and Tottenham Rights. It was hosted by London South Bank University, School of Law and Social Sciences.
We would like to thank all those who contributed and attended, and those volunteers and staff who gave up their valuable time for this event.