Former undercover cop says information he gathered appeared in blacklisting organisation’s files
Police did gather intelligence on construction workers and pass this to blacklisting firm the Consulting Association (TCA), a whistleblower has claimed.
Peter Francis, the former undercover police officer who revealed to the Guardian newspaper that police carried out surveillance of supporters of the Stephen Lawrence family, told that paper that he believes he personally collected some of the information that later appeared in the TCA blacklist database.
Francis said that the information in question appears in the file of a bricklayer called Frank Smith.
At the time, Smith was in a relationship with an American woman who was a left-wing political activist whom the Home Office allegedly wanted to deport in the 1990s when the authorities were arguing she was in a sham marriage.
According to the Guardian, Smith’s file contained information about her and recorded the allegation that she was in a fake marriage. It also said TCA had been told Smith was under surveillance by the state – with the file noting that Smith was “under constant watch (officially) and seen as politically dangerous”.
Francis said that he himself – at the request of his police supervisors – gathered information on the American woman while he was embedded in the campaign Youth Against Racism in Europe.
Building revealed in February that the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) was to oversee a Metropolitan Police investigation into allegations of police collusion in the blacklisting of construction workers.
This is now part of a wider inquiry headed by Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon into the conduct of the Special Branch unit that is said to have planted spies in a wide spectrum of political campaigns.
Dave Smith, secretary of the Blacklist Support Group, said: “There is now an evidence trail from the undercover police officers who spied on activists to the information they gleaned appearing on illegal blacklist files that were used to deny work to union members in the building industry.”
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “A complaint alleging breach of the Data Protection Act by police was referred to the IPCC who directed it should be subject to a local investigation. The investigation is at an early stage and we are not prepared to provide further details at this time.”