In July 2015 the then Home Secretary Theresa May announced the Undercover Policing Inquiry, which due to repeated further delay was only able to start in November 2020, is now scheduled to report in 2023 (though this seems unlikely).
The reason for this delay was the actions of the Metropolitan Police Service, who have attempted to keep as much of the activities of Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and National Public Order Intelligence Unit as secret as possible. In response, activists campaigned for the release of all the cover names of the undercover officers in these units.
Over the 5 years whilst the Inquiry team prepared to launch, the process had become far less transparent. Some of the undercover officers have been granted restriction orders not only on their real identities, but also over their cover names, which by extension means we are not even allowed to know which groups they infiltrated.
Despite the increasingly covert nature of proceedings, those who had been granted "non-state core participant" status have cautiously engaged under protest as the Inquiry finally began.
Though the Opening Statements were streamed live, the evidence hearings have taken place behind closed doors. Core Participants had to travel down to a central London hotel to hear evidence being given, or rely on a ceefax-style delayed transcript.
We have been presenting with the ridiculous situation of an inquiry into secret policing taking place in secret.
Police Spies Out of Lives have made following proceedings easier by enlisting actors to voice the transcripts of the evidence hearings as they are released.
The most comprehensive coverage of the Inquiry has come from the daily and weekly inquiry updates from Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance. Please help amplify the call for a transparent, robust and comprehensive public inquiry.
You can join the conversation with #SpyCopsInquiry on twitter, where activists are live tweeting proceedings when the inquiry is sitting and the Spycops Info facebook group where they upload live video during the breaks.