A NOTORIOUS undercover police officer who had sexual relationships with some of those he was investigating visited Scotland at least 17 times and carried out “multiple activities”.

READ MORE: This limiting report will not satisfy those calling for public inquiry north of Border

Mark Kennedy – who hit the public eye after being unmasked by activists in 2010 – was deployed north of the border a number of times, with his activity mostly focusing on the G8 summit in Edinburgh.

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The revelations come in a new report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) detailing the extent of undercover policing.

It said there were 373 undercover operations carried out by Scottish forces between 2000 and 2013, with a further 50 taking place since the formation of Police Scotland.

But it also found undercover officers within the Metropolitan Police, including Mr Kennedy, carried out activities in Scotland – sometimes without the knowledge of local forces.

READ MORE: This limiting report will not satisfy those calling for public inquiry north of Border

A total of 18 officers infiltrated anti-poverty and environmental campaigners during the 2005 G8 summit of world leaders.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has refused to launch a public inquiry into undercover policing in Scotland, despite sustained pressure from critics and claims of a “whitewash”.

He said: “I appreciate there is some legitimate public concern about undercover policing activity in Scotland, and I took those concerns into account in reaching a decision.

“However, on balance, I consider that establishing a separate Scottish inquiry is not a proportionate response. There is no evidence of any systemic failings within undercover policing by Scottish police.”

He said he would renew his calls to extend an ongoing UK Government inquiry into Scotland.

READ MORE: This limiting report will not satisfy those calling for public inquiry north of Border

But campaigners insisted the HMICS report had merely “scratched the surface”, throwing up more questions than answers.

Environmental activist Tilly Gifford, who claims she was approached by undercover officers in 2009 and asked to spy on fellow campaigners, insisted the police “have lost the trust of the public”. She said only an “open inquiry with strong parameters could address these issues of state sanctioned abuses”.

The HMICS report – which only covers the period from 2000, while the UK inquiry dates back to 1968 – insisted the use of undercover policing was a legitimate tactic “primarily focused on drug related offences, child sexual abuse and exploitation, human trafficking and exploitation and serious organised crime”.

It found there was no evidence “undercover advanced officers from Police Scotland had infiltrated social justice campaigns or that officers had operated outwith the parameters of the authorisation”. And it insisted undercover policing in Scotland “cannot be considered to be widespread”.

The report also said the capacity of Police Scotland to carry out undercover operations was “limited” and needed to be developed, and made a number of recommendations for improvement.

Examples of undercover policing highlighted in the document include the arrest of 70 drug dealers following a sting and officers posing as children to snare paedophiles online.

In one case, a 49-year-old man was jailed for seven years after attempting to hire a contract killer to carry out a murder. He was unaware the person he was negotiating with was a police officer.

Scottish Labour said there remained a “number of unanswered questions on the history of undercover policing”.

Neil Findlay MSP said: “This is a disturbing revelation showing Mark Kennedy, who had long-term relationships with activists while under cover, visited Scotland more times than it was previously revealed.

“Mr Kennedy’s case is a particularly severe example of the injustice suffered by many activists and campaigners.

“Protest and campaigning is an essential part of our political process. The Cabinet Secretary’s refusal to call a public inquiry has failed victims and failed our democracy.”

Allegations of misconduct by officers elsewhere in the UK include claims they fathered children while undercover and caused trials to collapse.