Bob Lambert replies to Spinwatch PDF Print E-mail
24 October 2011

Spinwatch has received a reply to our open letter to Bob Lambert which we published on Thursday 20 October. We reproduce the reply below, though with the name of the person that Lambert mentions removed to protect her privacy.  This was done at her request.

As I explain in the Guardian, in the 1980s I was deployed as an undercover Met special branch officer to identify and prosecute members of Animal Liberation Front who were then engaged in incendiary device and explosive device campaigns against targets in the vivisection, meat and fur trades.

As part of my cover story so as to gain the necessary credibility to become involved in serious crime, I first built a reputation as a committed member of London Greenpeace, a peaceful campaigning group.
I apologise unreservedly for the deception I therefore practiced on law abiding members of London Greenpeace.

I also apologise unreservedly for forming false friendships with law abiding ctizens and in particular forming a long term relationship with [Name of person removed] who had every reason to think I was a committed animal rights activist and a genuine London Greenpeace campaigner.

I am grateful to Spinwatch for giving me an opportunity to apologise and also to begin a process on conflict resolution in this difficult and sensitive arena.

This will not be easy for any of us but as a result of the recent work I have undertaken with Spinwatch in defence of Muslim organisations, I am confident we can make progress.

Much of that work will need to be done in a safe environment especially if I am to do justice to my subsequent supervisory role of undercover officers.

A key concern here will be to balance the demands of fact finding with the need to ensure junior undercover police officers are not put at risk of serious harm or scapegoated by the media, politicians or police chiefs.

I should point out here that the vast majority of Met special branch undercover officers never made the mistakes I made, have no need to apologise for anything, and I deepy regret having tarnished their illustrious, professional reputation.

By working in partnership we have an opportunity to enhance public safety and to promote the value of non violent protest as a more effective tactic than political violence - whether committed by state or non state actors.

My deceptions in the 1980s were all premised on maintaining the fiction required to perform my undercover role.

I offer my new book Countering al Qaeda in London: Police and Muslims in Partnership as evidence of my ability to build genuine trust with groups campaigning for social justice and as a signal of my good faith moving forward.

I offer this reply as a preliminary contribution to what I hope will be a long term initiative.
Dr. Robert Lambert
Lecturer, CSTPV
School of International Relations
University of St. Andrews, UK
Co-director, EMRC, University of Exeter, UK
New book Countering al-Qaeda in London: Police and Muslims in Partnership