In the Media

Letter to Sir Hugh Orde from the DPP on Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station Protest

PUBLISHED December 6, 2011

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, has written to Sir Hugh Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, following the inquiry by Sir Christopher Rose into the Radcliffe-on-Soar power station protests. The letter says: As you are aware I commissioned Sir Christopher Rose to undertake an independent inquiry into the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station protest and the involvement of an undercover police officer. The terms of reference of the inquiry were set out in a written statement by the Solicitor General to the House of Commons on 13 July 2011. Sir Christopher has now completed the inquiry and a copy of the final report is enclosed. It is to be published on Tuesday 6 December 2011 and is sent to you in strict confidence until publication. I am content that Sir Christopher conducted a thorough inquiry. He also provided the report to the Independent Police Complaints Commission for comment. Although the report concludes ?the failures were individual, not systemic and not due to any want of printed guidance,? I am taking steps to ensure that the situation does not recur. One of the most important lessons to be learnt from the report is that there needs to be a full and frank exchange between prosecutors and investigators at an early stage of a case if prosecution is contemplated where an undercover police officer has been deployed. In effect, this is a re-statement of the principle in the Disclosure Manual which says: ?Where a police investigation resulting in a prosecution has been informed by intelligence from a human source, the police should always inform the prosecutor of this fact without the need for any request to be made. This fact should be revealed as soon as possible?. As is further made clear in the Manual, this exchange need not, in many cases, extend to the real identity of the undercover officer, but is likely to include such matters as authorisations, intelligence reports, notes and any covert recordings and transcripts. Only by taking a careful view of such matters will the CPS be able to make proper decisions about prosecution, and here I refer not only to decisions to prosecute, but also to those cases where a proper consideration of the role of an undercover officer means that a prosecution cannot be commenced in the interests of the safety of the officer and/or the risk of exposing covert techniques. Clearly, if a prosecution follows, only by ensuring that we abide by these principles can the prosecution team comply with its obligations on disclosure. To avoid any recurrence of similar issues, I propose that a police/CPS memorandum of understanding be prepared that makes it absolutely clear that in any future cases, the full extent of any authorisation and activity of an undercover officer must be shared between the police and the CPS as soon as a criminal prosecution is contemplated. I would be very grateful for your support on this and would welcome early discussion. ?????Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions ?