Thursday, 24 July 2014
Justifying budgets down the nick.
The families of Jean Charles de Menezes, Ricky Reel, Stephen Lawrence and Cherry Groce are among those who were spied on by undercover cops. All the families were involved in campaigns to get some form of justice and all were seen as potential sources of embarrassment to the Met. The official police line is that covert operations were necessary, not to discredit family campaigns but to keep tabs on "violent extremists" who had infiltrated the campaigns. There is a long, and not always dishonourable history of revolutionary left groups getting involved in justice campaigns. Sometimes the motivation is just genuinely wanting to help, at others it is to satisfy a need for some form of "activity". Frequently, it has to be admitted, the motivation is more manipulative and may revolve around recruiting new members and selling more newspapers. Rarely is anything very dark going on and certainly nothing that might threaten public safety as the police love to claim. So why do the cops go to such lengths to mount these undercover operations? Partly of course there is a desire to find something with which to discredit the campaigners thus tainting any evidence that they might have against the police. But there is another motive. Particular departments in the police, like those in any other large bureaucratic organisation, have an overriding need to justify budgets. If you can't justify your budget your days are numbered and of course the greater your budget the more your power within the organisation. It is for this that grieving families have been infiltrated and spied on.