Kingston chairman of public police board features in Met's Ricky Reel information gathering

John Azah's name appeared in information gathered by undercover police

John Azah's name appeared in information gathered by undercover police

First published in News
Last updated

The chairman of Kingston's Safer Neighbourhood Board has discovered his name was included in data collected by undercover police gathering information on Ricky Reel's family following his death.

John Azah, chairman of both the Kingston Race and Equalities Council and the Kingston Safer Neighbourhood Board, chaired a “Justice for Ricky Reel” campaign in 1998, and sat on a panel overseeing the second police investigation into the death.

This week officers from Operation Herne, which investigated claims that family members from justice groups were being infiltrated by the Met's Special Demonstration Squad, have told Mr Reel's mother Sukhdev that officers gathered intelligence on her from 1998 to 1999.

Following the announcement, Mr Azah spoke to officers from Operation Herne, and was assured he was not the subject of information gathering.

However, he was told his name appeared in information regarding Ricky Reel’s family.

He said: “They could have destroyed that information but they kept it, which I find unacceptable.

“I’ve been assured they were not investigating me or the family. I’m content with them if I believe them – but after everything that’s happened, that’s a big if.”

Ricky Reel's body was found in the Thames in October 1997, one week after he disappeared from a night out in Kingston, when he and his friends were racially attacked and abused by two unidentified white men.

Mr Reel's family have always maintained his death was racially aggravated murder, but police have insisted there is no evidence to support the claim.

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