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Police 'spied on Lawrence family'- Cameron orders investigation

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Britain's Stasi-style secret police faced a barrage of anger today over attempts to smear the family of murdered black Jamaican teenager Stephen Lawrence.

 

Former undercover police officer Peter Francis revealed that his superiors urged him to hunt for "disinformation" to discredit the Lawrence family following their son's racist murder in 1993.

The confession added fresh fuel to recent scandals over dirty tricks, sexual liaisons and robbing the identities of dead children.

Communist Party general secretary Rob Griffiths cautioned: "These latest revelations are still only the tip of the iceberg."

Mr Griffiths demanded a full inquiry into the "vast apparatus of state surveillance" of protest and dissident movements which had operated in Britain since at least the 1930s.

The inquiry must be headed by "people with a proven record in exposing Britain's massive secret state," he added.

Mr Francis also admitted seeking to provide evidence against Stephen Lawrence's friend Duwayne Brooks, who was with him on the night of the killing.

Police arrested Mr Brooks and unsuccessfully charged him with criminal damage.

Mr Francis belonged to a secret unit called the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), charged with infiltrating protesters and left-wing groups.

He joined the Hackney and Islington branch of Youth Against Racism in Europe.

Labour shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper described the allegations as "appalling and shocking."

Angry Labour MPs Keith Vaz and Clive Efford demanded a public inquiry, but Home Secretary Theresa May insisted that the allegations could be handled by existing investigations, and by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Ms May added: "For obvious reasons, members of the public cannot know the details of undercover operations."

Prime Minister David Cameron urged an investigation to "get the full truth" about "horrific" allegations. But he ducked a public inquiry.

The SDS has been disbanded, but the associated National Public Order Intelligence Unit has merged into the Met's National Domestic Extremism Unit.

Mr Francis - alias Pete Black - decided to reveal his identity and call for a public inquiry into "morally reprehensible" undercover policing and sabotage of political campaigns.

Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon is heading the "Operation Herne" inquiry into various allegations of dodgy behaviour.