Charges of illegal practices in espionage that for weeks have denounced the illegal actions of the British secret services have been extended to Scotland Yard in recent days.
On the one hand, a Guardian investigation and program called “Dispatches” has revealed that the intelligence arm of the Metropolitan Police, known as Special Branch, attempted to gather intelligence in order to discredit the family of Stephen Lawrence, a young black man killed in 1993 by a group of white racists without any provocation.
One murder, 20 years later still continues to generate a lot of controversy in the country not only because it was a crime committed for no reason and only due to racism, but also because of the passive attitude with which Scotland Yard led its investigation. Its performance then led to the realization that there was racism inside the organization even though in public the police showed a different face.
Even today, only 10% of the members of Scotland Yard belong to an ethnic minority, although 40% of London’s population come from ethnic minorities.
To that fact is now added the revelation that not only the police did little to arrest the murderers and prove their guilt, but that their efforts actually on discrediting the Lawrence family, which had launched a major campaign to denounce Police racism.
The revelations of the Guardian go further. The Special Branch also infiltrated peace and anti-racism groups for trying to expose police corruption.
The Interior Secretary, Theresa May, was forced on Monday to announce in the Commons Chamber her decision to extend the present investigations on the Lawrence case to include these new allegations. The claims were launched in particular by a former Special Branch agent, Peter Francis, who acted covertly.
Francis’ allegations have rekindled a debate that he launched two years ago, when he reported that a dozen secret agents from Scotland Yard had affairs with women who sought to infiltrate groups and at least one of them came to have a child with one of these women even though in civilian life he was a married man and father.