Undercover policing

Building on previous events the Centre has co-organised with The Monitoring Group, this project is focused on what those who have been spied upon think about the governance of undercover policing.

It is a practice which has, until relatively recently, taken place without the public’s knowledge, let alone scrutiny.


The infiltration of protest groups and social movements has been an established police tactic over several decades.

The information which has emerged about undercover policing raises fundamental and to date, unaddressed, questions about:

The scale and intentions of these operations.
The ability of the police to police themselves.
The legitimacy of this type of covert policing.

What is clear is that undercover policing poses unique challenges to the established mechanisms for holding policing to account.

Undercover policing has become a matter considerable public interest, reflected not least of all, by the establishment of the current public inquiry.

Important questions we will explore include:

  • What is the scope for change?
  • Is, indeed, any change possible?
  • Can undercover policing be made more accountable, and if so, how?

We intend to help build a broad public audience for informed thinking about undercover policing as the public inquiry into these practices takes evidence.

For more information contact Helen Mills

Supported by The Network for Social Change