Police officers from London’s Met who ran an intelligence operation that infiltrated hundreds of political groups exaggerated the success of their work, according to a high-level police report.
Managers of the secretive Scotland Yard unit, which is known as the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), were found to have exaggerated the validity of intelligence obtained by undercover officers, the internal inquiry found.
What’s more, the inquiry also suggested the SDS overemphasized the achievements of the unit in order to get public funding.
Although the findings were sent to Metropolitan police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe last year, they were kept secret until now, the Guardian reports.
The latest report adds to mounting criticism of the British police after undercover officers infiltrated over 460 political groups spanning over four decades.
Many undercover spies were found to have formed long-term relationships with women during operations and officers that gathered intelligence on relatives of the murdered teenager Stephen Laurence and families campaigning for justice, but concealed evidence in court cases.
A large percentage of the officers controversially stole the identities of dead children to form their fake identities, without permission from the families of the deceased.
The behavior of undercover police emerged after 2010 when journalists and political activists led investigations into events, prompting senior police figures to set up an internal inquiry in 2013, led by Derbyshire chief constable Mike Creedon.
Creedon said there was evidence of SDS managers exaggerating their actions and achievements.
“Evidence of SDS managers clearly exaggerating the involvement of SDS officers and the value of their intelligence has been discovered and certainly for the first two decades of the unit there was an annual report to the commissioner [of the Metropolitan Police] and the Home Office to ensure continued funding,” he said.
Though Creedon did not provide any examples, he added: “This would not be the only occasion where members of a unit embellished their importance and success in order to secure finance.”
A hearing is to be held on Wednesday to determine if police should inform parents of the dead children that their identities were stolen.
While only a few names of officers who adopted these identities have been revealed, a ruling in favor of releasing the spies’ names could lead to transparency in identifying many others.