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Met Police admits role in blacklisting construction workers

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The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has admitted that it passed on information which was eventually used in a construction workers blacklist.

The revelation that the police were involved in handing material to blacklisting organisations, which warned employers against unionised workers, has led to renewed calls for a full public inquiry into the scandal. 

Scotland Yard said its investigation concluded that the MPS had provided information to the blacklist, but said there was no evidence that found it had been “systemic”.

It added that the allegations will be investigated during the Undercover Policing Public Inquiry, and no action will be taken until the inquiry concludes.

Unite has launched High Court legal action on behalf of 70 members who were blacklisted by the Consulting Association, the union announced today.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “This is a major breakthrough, the police have finally been forced to admit what we already knew: that they were knowingly and actively involved in the blacklisting of construction workers. It is disgraceful that they have chosen to sit on this admission of guilt for so long.”

The Consulting Association was involved in blacklisting more than 3,000 workers before it was closed by the Information Commissioners Office in 2009.

Eight major contractors, Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK, Vinci and the now defunct Carillion, apologised for their work with the Consulting Association in 2015. 

An MPS spokesperson said: “The MPS has apologised for the delay in providing the complainants with the outcome to the investigation carried out into allegations that members of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and MPS Special Branch provided information to the ‘Blacklist’.

“The ‘Blacklist’ is said to have been funded by the major firms in the construction industry.

“Allegations about police involvement with the ‘Blacklist’ will be fully explored during the Undercover Policing Public Inquiry (UCPI), which will hear detailed evidence regarding this subject. At this stage the MPS will await the conclusions of the UCPI before considering what steps should be taken next.

“In November 2012 the original complaint was received by the MPS. An investigation into the allegations was carried out by Operation Herne, the team investigating allegations of crime and misconduct by the SDS overseen by Chief Constable Mick Creedon.

“That investigation concluded that the MPS had provided information to the ‘Blacklist’, but there was no evidence this had been done by members of the SDS and the sharing of information did not appear to be systematic. The investigation did not consider the conduct of other law enforcement bodies.

“The retrospective application of the Data Protection Act determined that, had the Act been applicable at the time, certain conduct would have constituted the improper sharing of information.

“At this stage the MPS has notified complainants that, until the UCPI has assessed all the evidence, no further action will be taken.”

 

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