Government has poor record on keeping spy inquiry promises

March 6, 2014

Responding to the Home Secretary’s announcement of a judge-led inquiry into undercover policing, following revelations that Scotland Yard spied on the family of Stephen Lawrence, Reprieve’s Executive Director, Clare Algar said:

 “This shocking case further demonstrates that the covert activities of Government agencies are out of control.  It is crucial that any inquiry gets to the bottom of this, but sadly this Government does not have a good record when it comes to following through on such pledges.  Just last year, David Cameron broke his promise to hold an independent, judge-led inquiry into UK involvement in torture.   

“Government lawyers have worked to push cases involving undercover police officers or the security services into secret courts such as the Investigatory Powers Tribunal – where the citizen has little chance of success against the state.   There have been some encouraging noises this week from politicians about reforming oversight, but we are still a long way away from anything approaching real accountability for the secretive parts of the state.”


Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8166 /

2. Further information about the Government’s u-turn on a judge-led torture inquiry can be found here: