UK

IPCC watchdog to probe undercover police officer case

Scotland Yard has called in the police watchdog over claims an undercover officer underwent a criminal trial using his operational alias.

A BBC investigation uncovered claims that Det Con Jim Boyling's conduct called into question the conviction of an activist whose group he infiltrated.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission will now probe the case.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary delayed its report on undercover officer Mark Kennedy in light of the allegations.

Det Con Boyling, a Metropolitan Police specialist operations officer, is alleged to have maintained his alias throughout the magistrates' court proceedings after being arrested following a demonstration in 1996.

He worked in specialist operations at the Met and was engaged in covert surveillance of the Reclaim The Streets environmental group.

One activist was convicted of public order offences at the 1997 trial, but the undercover officer was found not guilty.

The Met Police said it had contacted the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) "with a view to making a formal referral to them" on Friday.

"This follows consideration today of allegations relating to historic covert police deployments," a spokesman said.

The allegations forced the publication of a review into the future of undercover policing to be postponed.

The report was completed by recently-appointed Scotland Yard Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe before he took the post last month.

Defence solicitor Mike Schwarz of law firm Bindmans told Newsnight on Wednesday that his firm had unwittingly acted for Det Con Boyling alongside other activists in legal proceedings.

The officer, who was engaged in covert surveillance of an environmental group, was arrested and charged in 1996.

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