Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2359

Filth: Cop spies ruined people’s lives

This article is over 10 years, 11 months old
Issue 2359
Some 7,000 cops attacked the anti-racist demonstration in Welling in 1993 where Duwayne Brooks was photographed

Some 7,000 cops attacked the anti-racist demonstration in Welling in 1993 where Duwayne Brooks was photographed (Pic: Duncan Robertson)

Police spied on murdered  teenager Stephen Lawrence’s family as they tried to dig “dirt” to “smear” them, an ex-undercover cop has claimed.

Peter Francis said he took part in the operation to attack the reputations of Stephen’s parents, Doreen and Neville.

It was just one operation in a filthy, decades-long, plot to cover up the crimes and failings of the cops. Met bosses wanted Francis to find information that could be used against the Lawrences shortly after Stephen’s killing in April 1993 in South East London.

Corruption and racism infected the investigation into the murder.

Francis trawled through photo and video evidence of a demo against the Nazi British National Party (BNP) headquarters for days in order to find Stephen’s  friend Duwayne Brooks.

This led to him being arrested and charged in October 1993. A judge threw out the case.

Family liaison officers recorded details of every person visiting the Lawrence home. The information went to the spy cops.

The role of the spying operation wasn’t revealed to the 1998 Macpherson inquiry into the cops’ investigation into the death.

Francis was part of a covert unit known as the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), which used the identities of dead children and formed sexual relationships with activists to get information.

He also monitored a number of campaigns involving relatives of those who died in police custody. 

For instance, Stoke Newington Police Station in Hackney, east London, was infamous in the 1980s and 1990s for police corruption and racism. 

The Hackney Community Defence Campaign uncovered 130 cases of police brutality there. It was then infiltrated by the cops.

The Newham Monitoring Project was spied on—as was the rest of the left.

With the blessing of senior commanders, undercover officers routinely adopted a tactic of “promiscuity” to boost their cover stories and gain information.


One cop, Bob Lambert, went on to become a detective inspector in the SDS. He supervised other undercover police spies there. 

Jacqui, an activist who had a child with Lambert while he was spying on her, said, “I feel like I’ve got no foundations in my life.

“I was not consenting to sleeping with Bob Lambert, I didn’t know who Bob Lambert was.

“I had a spy living with me, sleeping with me, making a family with me, and I didn’t do anything to deserve that.”

It was the women who had been targetted who first exposed Lambert as an undercover cop. 

Francis said that Lambert advised him to wear a condom when sleeping with activists.

According to one cop, “The best way of stopping any liaison getting too heavy was to shag somebody else. It’s amazing how women don’t like you going to bed with someone else.” 

Paul Condon, who was head of the Met during most of the 1990s, coined the phrase “noble cause corruption”.According to this, police justifiably “bend the rules” to get a conviction when they “knew” the accused was guilty but had no proof.

Top cops from then and now deny significant knowledge and say they are shocked. 

But current Met boss Bernard Hogan-Howe claims spy cops are “a vital part of our armoury”.

The spy cops worked for the Association of Chief Police Officers—conveniently a private company—even though it was funded by the Home Office.


This meant they were hidden from public scrutiny. 

Corporations use the information from the state spies and there is a revolving door between ex-cop spies and private security industry blacklists.

The SDS was wound up and replaced with the National Domestic Extremism Unit, which still oversees spy cops.

The whole spying operation is now controlled by the Metropolitan Police.

Cop scandals usually lead to closing ranks.

The odd scapegoat is charged, a larger number of officers are retired or transferred and an inquiry is set up that produces a whitewash. There have been countless corruption investigation into the cops. 

But enough—it is time to get rid of the filth.

The evidence of eight women taking a case against the Metropolitan Police because of the actions of undercover cops can be read at 


Sign up for our daily email update ‘Breakfast in Red’

Latest News

Make a donation to Socialist Worker

Help fund the resistance