Napo Magazine - The Trade Union, Professional Association and campaigning organisation for Probation and Family Court staff news.

Reform the CHIS ACT!

Napo members who attended the 2019 AGM in Cardiff may have visited the fringe meeting ‘Undercover policing and trade unions’, by the Police Spies out of Lives Campaign.

Napo members who attended the 2019 AGM in Cardiff may have visited the fringe meeting ‘Undercover policing and trade unions’, by the Police Spies out of Lives Campaign.

This is a campaigning support group working to achieve an end to the sexual and psychological abuse of campaigners and others by undercover police officers. If you attended this fringe, you will have heard the personal stories from Andrea and Alison talking about their experience of unknowingly having lived with undercover cops for years and their attempt to rebuild their lives. We held a further fringe event at the 2021 AGM in Newcastle with an update around the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing (UCPI).

The UCPI will start hearing evidence again on 1st July. Many of the campaign support group are still core participants in the inquiry and Napo has learned that the whole process is causing further considerable stress and feels like a further intrusion of privacy by state bodies for those involved.

The Police Spies out of Lives Campaign and core participants have engaged in the UCPI in good faith. They hope the Judge gets to the truth, and that the recommendations in his final report will be in line with the Campaign’s aim to end the abuse of women by state spies. They are not relying on this inquiry however and we’ll keep members updated on this and the campaign as it gets underway again.

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act or CHIS Act as it has become known

The Campaign will also be working hard to build support to reform this CHIS Act which basically enshrined in law the very wrongdoing and criminality that was exposed.

The most recent Code of Practice claims that authorisations must be necessary, proportionate, and in compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights. However, in reality, it seems that the current safeguards are wholly inadequate. This is because the Act would allow a range of public bodies, including the police, to grant CHIS, like those undercover officers currently being investigated, with potentially broad authorisations to commit offences which would be “lawful for all purposes”, with no statutory limit on what may or may not be authorised. There exists, therefore, wide scope for abuse with limited recourse for victims – many of whom will be unaware even of the crimes committed against them.

Napo were a signatory against the introduction of this CHIS Act together with many other trade unions and human rights’ organisations, as part of the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group (TUCG).

We also want to keep up the pressure and support the campaign against this gross abuse of democracy and basic human rights and we will keep you updated on future developments in mail-outs.

For more information visit Police Spies Out of Lives – Support group for legal action against undercover policing

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