Guildford pub bombings police 'seize files' thumbnail

Guildford pub bombings police 'seize files'


Pub wreckage
Image caption Two bombs went off in Guildford on 5 October 1974

Police investigating the 1974 Guildford pub bombings own “seized” archives and will kill a number of of them, a memo considered by the BBC has claimed.

The tips at Surrey History Centre had been gathered by retired officers and deposited by ex-Ch Supt Bob Bartlett.

Correspondence said one file, dated 1967-74, overlaying the 365 days of the bombs, had data on wanted folk nonetheless “will be destroyed” on retention.

Surrey Police said no papers had been destroyed and recordsdata would be audited.

5 folk had been killed and 65 injured in the IRA attacks and 11 folk had been wrongly convicted and spent as a lot as 15 years in detention heart.

For decades, questions had been requested referring to the police investigation after no-one else used to be prosecuted.

Attorneys representing the family of victim Ann Hamilton and survivor Yvonne Tagg in the resumed Guildford pub bombings inquest said if recordsdata had been being retained, closed or marked for destruction, it raised “severe concerns”.

Image copyright Handout
Image caption Four troopers and a civilian died in the first explosion on the Horse and Groom

Correspondence given to the BBC said police “entered the Surrey History Centre to enhance any Guildford bombings connected subject fabric which capacity that of there might be to be an inquest”.

It said they “seized” recordsdata on 14 November overlaying both the phobia attacks and other “diverse subject fabric” including retirement certificates, photography of the Operations Room and pocketbooks, alongside with data on a rabies alert and disruption in the nation-order, with out consulting Mr Bartlett, who runs theSurrey Constabulary Historyweb situation.

It also claimed “archivists felt compelled to conform with police requires” and went on to criticise the transfer as “over-interpreting the legislation” and “over-zealous”.

The papers integrated an appendix taking off causes given by Surrey Police for taking the documents, citing Same outdated Data Security Rules (GDPR), the Data Security Act 2018, Administration of Police Knowledge (MoPI), the Public Files Act, the Freedom of Knowledge Act and other guidance.

Files listed as withdrawn integrated a predominant incident instruction e-book from the 1970s; photography of the interiors and exteriors of the bombed pubs; and a file dated 1973-75 overlaying actions in coping with incendiary devices, which had been closed and will now curiously be retained for 100 years.

An originate file containing four photography of the pub bombing scene by war photographer and Like a flash Avenue journalist Terry Fincher used to be also listed as retained whereas the pressure checked whether or not he used to be working for them.

Mr Fincher’s daughter, Jayne Barlow, who holds his work in a separate archive, has said he used to be not working for the police.

‘Secrecy and evasion’

Christopher Stanley, from KRW Rules, said: “If recordsdata in the final public enviornment which can own any relevance or significance to the pub bombings in Guildford, Woolwich and Birmingham – or the IRA bombing advertising and marketing and marketing campaign in England between 1973 and 1975 basically – are being retained, closed or marked for destruction by the Surrey Police or other company, then right here’s plot off for severe misfortune.

“These recordsdata need to be independently assessed for their relevance, if any, to the resumed inquest and other inquiries and investigations which would per chance perchance be ongoing or in the ruin – as an instance the present are living investigation into the Birmingham pub bombings being undertaken by the West Midlands Police.”

He said subject fabric that can desire evidential worth to answering questions referring to the Northern Ireland war used to be too most frequently being destroyed, retained or closed by agencies of the order.

“The observe represents a company tradition of secrecy and evasion which robs the family members of victims of the war and survivors of the prospective of fact and reconciliation,” he said.

This month it also emerged the Residence Office hadtaken more than 700 recordsdata out of The National Archivesin a transfer that campaigners said used to be “a shame”.

The resumed inquest has also heard Surrey Policedestroyed 5 containers of police recordsdata “in error”.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The wrongly convicted Guildford Four served 15 years in detention heart

Retired lawyer Alastair Logan, who represented the wrongly-jailed Guildford Four, said police had in stop seized non-public property and the muse they claimed for seizing the recordsdata vital to be legally examined.

He said the file overlaying 1967-74 that used to be curiously earmarked for destruction would be relevant to the inquest and to the history of the matter of the Guildford bombings, adding: “There appears to be no public oversight on what is going on.”

“That file would per chance well point to folk other than the Guildford Four as capacity culprits – we do not know,” he said.

“What’s contentious is if it had been to camouflage that approach knowledge can own averted the offences – that is more seemingly to be extremely crucial to the coroner.”

On that utter file, the fat cause in the benefit of withdrawal said in the memo used to be: “Breach of GDPR and unknown if any are MoPI 1. This data will be destroyed below MoPi tenet when it has reached retention.”

The total amount of recordsdata seized just just isn’t known nonetheless, of those listed as withdrawn, nine had been requested by the BBC on 26 September when it used to be established many of Mr Bartlett’s recordsdata held on the archives had been closed.

That demand went to the Surrey History Centre nonetheless a revised demand has since been submitted to Surrey Police to shriek day ebook entries from 1974.

The BBC has been attempting to search out to shriek first-hand recordsdata of police activity on the evening of the bombings after hearingclaims of a discrepancy in timingsby Charles King, whose son Raise, a reporter who went on to work for national newspapers, used to be on the scene and insisted the first explosion came about 20 minutes sooner than the time given.

Image caption The bombs killed 5 folk, injured 65 and seen 11 wrongly convicted

An announcement issued by the pressure said: “Surrey Police entirely recognises the importance of recording data for historical worth and works carefully with the Surrey History Centre to lend a hand and strengthen the archiving of subject fabric the put it is miles appropriate.”

It said it got right here to light remaining summer that alongside subject fabric deposited by Surrey Police thru an agreed direction of, other subject fabric gathered by retired officers had been submitted straight by a extinct officer.

The assertion said: “Fabric generated in the end of employment with Surrey Police wants to be submitted to the info administration team who will assess and establish whether or not it is miles ethical for archiving.

“Submission of subject fabric straight to an archive would not satisfy our criminal responsibilities. As the owner of this subject fabric and an data controller, Surrey Police is subject to strict pointers.”

Surrey Police met archivists remaining September to dispute them the sequence would need to be eliminated and audited and the centre agreed the removal “would be accomplished by appointment” on 14 November, it said.

“No longer one amongst the subject fabric has been destroyed,” the assertion added. “This is also audited in opposition to the relevant criminal pointers and, the put conceivable, returned to the history centre.”

It said any subject fabric that used to be composed interior retention need to remain during the possession of Surrey Police.

Surrey County Council, which runs Surrey History Centre, said it used to be not its plot to reveal.

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