A mother spied on by police after the death of her son in Kingston has expressed disappointment the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has not publicly apologised.

Sukhdev Reel, 65, was finally invited to Scotland Yard and allowed to see secret reports into police spying on her family while she campaigned to find out what happened to her 20-year-old son Ricky after he was found dead in the Thames in 1997.

But Mrs Reel said she was “misled” about the number and contents of reports that she found had been almost entirely redacted, providing just “crumbs of information”.

Mrs Reel described the recent meeting as an “exercise of rubbing salt in to our open wounds” as she was handed a letter rather than the public apology she had so long demanded.

She said: “The meeting was just a paper exercise.

“We were given redacted reports that really do not make sense to me.

“At the end of the meeting we get a letter from [Met professionalism assistant commissioner] Martin Hewitt saying ‘I am very sorry that we fell so far short of our responsibility to handle information’.

“But we want the police to say that in public and not just in a letter.

“They make all these mistakes then they hide in a corner.

“Come out publicly and say it.”

Ricky’s body was pulled from the Thames on October 21, 1997, a week after he was last seen in Options nightclub, now Pryzm, in Clarence Street.

He and his friends were said to have been racially abused by a gang of white men before his disappearance.

Mrs Reel believes Ricky was racially murdered, but Kingston police have always maintained there is no evidence suggesting foul play.

Mrs Reel is now hoping the public inquiry, launched earlier this year, will give her the answers that she and her family, as well as other victims of police spying, deserve.

Mrs Reel, from West Drayton, said: “Lessons need to be learned now not in 10 or 15 year’s time.

“The judge in this inquiry has to understand that there are campaigns like ours that will not go away because we have been damaged by this spying.”

It was last year that Mrs Reel first learned she had been spied on by police.

Others affected included the families of Stephen Lawrence and Jean Charles de Menezes.

The allegations came to light as part of Operation Herne, a £1.6m-a-year investigation into undercover police conduct.

John Azah, chief executive of Kingston Race and Equalities Council, chaired a Justice for Ricky Reel campaign in 1998 and sat on a panel overseeing the second police investigation into his death.

His name had also been included in data collected by undercover police officers.

Mr Azah said: “If the police do not disclose everything they can, they continue to make the families distrustful of the service.

“The Reel family are entitled to a public apology. It won’t repair the damage, but it will go some way to rebuilding their trust.”

A police spokesman said: "The MPS have approached these discussions as a private matter between the MPS and the families and representatives of these campaigns."