The three-year inquiry will examine the motivation and scope of undercover police operations, looking at their impact on individuals, establishing how operations were authorised and overseen and discovering how much officials and ministers knew, the BBC reports.
“The breadth and nature of what is being alleged is almost too big to grasp, but it fundamentally comes down to a simple question of whether elements of the police were out of control,” says the BBC‘s Dominic Casciani.
In his opening remarks, head of the inquiry Lord Justice Pitchford said the investigation would also examine evidence that undercover operations targeted people because of their political views or participation in social justice campaigns.
Undercover police officers who disclose crucial evidence to a public inquiry into the covert infiltration of political groups could be given immunity from prosecution.
Mark Kennedy’s alter ego, Mark Stone, was a lie perpetrated, overseen and supervised by the secret state. His deception was supported by fake ID and training and he was paid overtime for his troubles. A backroom of handlers and other officers tracked his movements and communications with us.
The woman is taking legal action against Global Open, a commercial firm hired by companies to monitor protesters. She alleges in the high court case that Mark Kennedy pursued her to start the relationship, while, she says, he worked undercover for Global Open.
Kennedy had previously worked for the police as an undercover officer and used a false identity to infiltrate environmental groups for seven years. He maintained his fake persona after he left the police.
Global Open, established by a former Special Branch officer Rod Leeming, is one of a number of private security firms that operate in a largely secretive world. Big companies, such as energy producers and arms dealers, hire firms to monitor protesters who are organising campaigns against them.