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Fresh protests over ‘police spy’ lecturer working at Holloway Road university

Protesters in Holloway Road call for Bob Lambert to be axed by uni chiefs

Protesters outside London Metropolitan University in Holloway Road call for Bob Lambert to be sacked by uni chiefs

Published: 5 December, 2014
by GEOFFREY SAWYER

LONDON Metropolitan University has come under increased pressure to sack Bob Lambert, a former undercover police officer who lectures at the university’s criminology department.

Protesters gathered outside the university in Holloway Road on Friday over its employment of the cop-turned-academic, who had a two-year relationship and fathered a child with an animal rights activist he was secretly monitoring while working for the Metropolitan Police’s controversial Special Demonstration Squad in the 1980s.

Last month the force apologised “unreservedly” for Mr Lambert’s actions after agreeing to pay out £425,000 compensation to the mother of the child. 

When approached by the Tribune over Mr Lambert’s position following the payout, the university said it had “absolute faith” in him as a “lecturer and member of our community”. 

Around 25 protesters, assembled under the banner of “Islington Against Police Spies”, handed out leaflets and spoke to students, staff and passers-by about Mr Lambert’s past infiltration of a group of environmentalists.

Alex Neve, a former environmental activist, told the Tribune: “Lambert has been revealed to be someone who exploited people.

“His behaviour in the past is still impacting the lives of the women he had relationships with. 

“He made a public apology only after the information came to light, and he has not himself suffered any of the consequences.”

He added: “Today is effectively the launch of our campaign and we will be here putting pressure on the university until he goes.”  

Mr Lambert works part-time as a senior lecturer in London Met’s John Grieve Policing Centre. He is an expert in counter-terrorism and has published several progressive academic articles about hate crime. He became a doctor after completing a terrorism studies PhD at Exeter University.

Mr Lambert’s role at the university has divided opinion among students.

Second-year International Relations student Sarah Mohammed, 20, said: “I am absolutely disgusted. What does this say about London Met’s values?”

But a third-year criminology student, currently taught by Mr Lambert, who did not want to be named, described him as a “good lecturer” who is popular among students.

The student added: “What happened with spying back then certainly got out of control and they should have stopped it earlier. 

“But there were bad elements within those movements he spied on and he worked to prevent bad things from happening.”

In a statement, London Met said: “While we recognise the mistakes Bob made in his police career, for which he has apologised and displayed deep regret, we have absolute faith in him as a lecturer and member of our community. During a 31-year policing career, Bob made a significant contribution to tackling terrorism, political violence and hate crimes in London which, along with his strong academic record, makes him a valuable asset to criminology teaching at London Met.” 

In March, Home Secretary Theresa May announced her intention to launch a full, judge-led inquiry into undercover policing within the Met during the 1980s and 1990s. It is expected to be held in the new year.

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