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Undercover police face top probe

All police forces in the country are to be made to search for evidence of misconduct by undercover officers following the "shocking" allegations surrounding the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry.

Policing minister Damian Green is expected to announce the review into the operation of undercover policing across all 43 forces in England and Wales in a speech to police chiefs.

"This has been a time of bad headlines, for the police," he will say. "They are largely historic, but still hugely damaging. The job of cleaning out the stables is key - but even that is not enough."

The revelation that an undercover officer was told to find information to use to smear the Lawrence family after the teenager's racially aggravated murder in 1993 is the latest in a long line of scandals surrounding the ethics of undercover officers.

Their practices have been mired in controversy since allegations emerged that they had been using dead children's identities and engaging in inappropriate sexual relationships.

An investigation into undercover policing by the Metropolitan Police, named Operation Herne, is currently under way. And there are at least another seven investigations going on as a result of police failings, which have so far cost £23 million.

Mr Green is expected to say: "The challenge to police to rebuild public confidence comes not from me, but from the public themselves. Police officers must always remember the oath they swear when they take up the Office of Constable - to discharge their duties faithfully according to the law. Put in more modern terms, police officers are required to do the right thing, not the easy thing.

"The onus on police leaders is clear: the powers they wield are tremendously important and they must always exercise clear and effective judgement on how and when they are deployed. In the vast majority of cases, that is already happening. But recent examples have shown us it has not always happened.

"And that is why I can announce today that the Home Secretary has commissioned the Inspectorate of Constabulary to carry out a thorough review into the operation of undercover policing across all forces."

He will describe the allegations surrounding the Stephen Lawrence inquiry as "particularly shocking".


From Belfast Telegraph