Blair Peach and the SPG

In the late 1970s, while the country was run by an evil oligarch, I found myself caught up in a police raid and taken in for questioning.

The Special Patrol Group (SPG) were part of the raiding force and while I was waiting to be released after questioning one of them came up to talk to me. He took great delight in showing me his ID wallet. On one side was his ID card and on the other was a card which said; ‘SPG killed Blair Peach. True?’

I found this chilling for two reasons. On the one hand it seemed to be a clear admission that the SPG killed Blair Peach and on the other it was childish in the extreme; the kind of thing a schoolchild writes, as in; ‘John loves Mary. True or False?’ It also seemed to be such a childish thing for a member of the notorious squad to want to show me.

I never told anyone about this at the time, but I’m sure other people knew about it and this helped the cover up that continued for many years. I’m not even sure that absolute blame ever fell on the SPG, or any one individual. At the time it was fear that stopped me from telling. A tactic I’m sure they were very well versed in.

I’ve told a few people I know about this over the years but never written about it. I’m not even sure where I’d go from here to log it officially – even if it mattered now.