Welcome

We are supporting the legal actions, and participation in the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing, by people affected by long term intimate relationships with undercover police officers who were infiltrating environmental and social justice campaign groups.

To navigate this website:

  • Use the tabs at the top of the page for key information about the case, and to add your support.
  • For updates and blog posts, use the categories on the right to browse by topic, use the archive to browse by date order, or view the most recent posts below.
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Christmas Card Campaign

undercoverinyourfamilyWe are inviting all our supporters to send a Christmas card to their MPs and Police & Crime Commissioners this year, and we have written a text for you to put in it. For more information on how to do this go to our Christmas Card campaigns page.

Imagine your MP opening this letter this Christmas – we hope it will make them sit up and think about how they should support the calls for an open and full inquiry into the truth behind the undercover policing scandal. And if they don’t, who are they sitting down with?

“This winter, as you gather around the table with your family, what would you do if one of the people at your table wasn’t who they said they were? What if they were an undercover police officer?

What if they viewed their long-term sexual relationship with you or with a female member of your family as a ‘perk of the job’?  What if they were planning to falsify a nervous breakdown in the coming months, hoping to create a trail of worry and confusion in their wake, for all those who are currently sitting at your table?

What if they’d used the identity of a dead child for their false name and date of birth? Somewhere out there, there’s another family gathering together, still grieving, while unbeknownst to them their loss is being exploited.

What if the officer was handing names of those around the table to an illegal blacklist – meaning that in the coming year someone amongst your nearest and dearest is forced, mysteriously, out of employment and into poverty and anxiety? What would you do then?

And what if the excuse given for all this is something precious, and important, that we should all be able to take for granted: political activity. Normal, everyday, political activity. What would you do then?

What if the ‘political activity’ that prompted this so-called ‘infiltration’ covered every kind of issue and difficulty currently facing society? And particularly, what if it was challenging police corruption? Or police racism? Or police violence – even homicide? What would you do then?

What if the officer wasn’t having to collect information for a prosecution, wasn’t having to conduct proper investigation, but was just ‘intelligence gathering’ for the gratification of their bosses? Or what if there *was* a prosecution, and the officer was present at confidential legal meetings? What if they were prompting people to break the law, or even commit acts of violence?

If you found all this out, wouldn’t you be jaw-droppingly appalled? Wouldn’t you think that it was ESSENTIAL that the police unit be halted, their records secured, and that those responsible for these gross actions be brought to justice? Wouldn’t you feel it was a matter of public urgency that the truth be understood, and that this deeply appalling police culture be challenged and deconstructed?

Yet over the last year – despite all this having actually happened, despite these abuses being dragged into the public eye by those the police have abused the most, despite the profound threat to democracy that the unit’s actions represent – over the last year the police have strenuously attempted to keep their actions hidden in silence.

And the Home Office has backed them.

If you are not making a fuss about this – challenging the Home Office, insisting on disclosure and justice, pushing that the Pitchford Inquiry into Undercover Policing be fully effective, then what are you allowing to continue?

If you’re not making a stand, who are you sitting down with?”

 

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One year since the Met apologised – our work is very much still needed

Low res80A year ago last weekend, the Metropolitan Police issued an historic apology to seven of the eight women we had been supporting in their legal action against the police after they were deceived into relationships with undercover police. Today, despite these consolatory words from the police, we are supporting two other legal actions, and talking to several others. These people are having to continue to fight to hold the police to account. In these cases, and in the public inquiry, through which we are supporting all of these people, no one has had any disclosure about what has happened to them. The years drag on, and these people, who have been deceived and abused by the police are still no nearer answers.

The apology was comprehensive, saying that the “long-term intimate sexual relationships with women… were  abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong” and “a violation of the women’s human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma”. The police acknowledged “that this should never happen again and the necessary steps must be taken to ensure that it does not.”

The apology was part of a settlement of the cases of seven of the eight women. However, despite their words, it seems that the Police have had no intention of disclosing what they have done, and have continued to drag their heels in the Inquiry and in the legal actions that are ongoing about relationships with undercover police, delaying people from getting to know the truth, and compounding the damage caused by the undercover officers.

The Inquiry itself seems to be under resourced, with less than half the staff of the police’s own investigation, Operation Herne, and the police are currently stalling it with applications for secrecy. There are real concerns about inequality in resources, with non-state core participants, who are being allowed only one barrister to represent their many stories, while the police have four.

Police Spies Out of Lives is pleased to be able to be part of the continued battle for justice around undercover policing, and to support these courageous people in their ongoing fight for the truth, accountability and change. We have secured funding for the year ahead, from Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, and will be continuing our work, where we meet each of those affected on their own terms, and offer:
• Advocacy around their personal story being in the public domain
• Practical personal support to enable those affected to participate in the legal action & public inquiry.

We create campaigns for the public to show their support and to create social change (as set out in our mission statement: Where We Stand). We:
• Amplify the voices of those affected
• Faciliate ways for those affected to take an active part, while ensuring that they can step away if necessary
• Maintain a focus on grassroots campaigns (rather than allowing legal structures or media cycles to dominate)

We are updating the website to reflect the fact we are supporting new cases. It is work in progress, so please bear with us, as we restructure and add new information. We are glad you are with us in this fight- see you on the streets, and in the court room.

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Public Inquiry Progress Briefing

stayinformedWe have written a Progress Briefing on the Inquiry into Undercover Policing. Below is the introduction, written by Harriet Wistrich, Solicitor for the Eight Women Case. The briefing is downloadable here: Inquiry Progress Nov16.

When the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced in parliament on 6 March 2014 that she was persuaded of the need for a judge led public inquiry to look into undercover policing, it was only a couple of days before we were due to go to court to defend a strike out application brought by the police against five of the original eight PSOOL has been supporting.  The strike out application made by the police was on the basis that they had a policy of ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ in relation to undercover policing which meant that they couldn’t defend the claim.  The was the second ‘strike out’ application the police had brought, the first one being in relation to the other three women’s cases, where the police argued that the claims were wrongly started in the High Court and should have been brought in the highly secretive Investigatory Powers Tribunal.

As a result of the Home Secretary’s announcement, the police dropped their strike out application, although they maintained their stance of Neither Confirm Nor Deny.  I wondered how on earth the state could conduct a truly public inquiry into undercover policing, given the level or secrecy and resistance faced thus far.  To date after several years of civil litigation and now 16 months in to the public inquiry, there has still been no disclosure of any information regarding the operations of the undercover police units let alone any details revealed of the nature the undercover police activity in respect to any of the eight women.  So six years on from the first discoveries of this activity by the police, almost all that is known about the scandalous activities of the police is as a result of the women and other activists’ own detective work.

In this briefing, we provide a detailed update of all the steps that have been taken so far by the public inquiry since its formal commencement sixteen months ago.  Further details of all of this can also found on the public inquiry website.  In broad summary, progress has felt incredibly slow, as the inquiry has painstakingly gone through attempting to determine various legal procedures for assisting its decision making in terms of revealing details of undercover police officers cover names, providing any disclosure and offering any undertakings as to non prosecution with regard to evidence provision to the inquiry.  The most significant decision taken so far concerned the legal principles to be applied in respect of ‘restriction orders’, where fortunately, Lord Pitchford rejected the police argument that because of NCND the public inquiry could effectively be closed to the public!  However, the process now in terms of decisions in respect to the revealing of cover names of undercover police officers or in respect of what can be disclosed to the non police core participants, is painstakingly slow and complex.  It is not yet clear how many officers are likely to be offered anonymity and how much disclosure will be provided.  There are now four former undercover officers whose cover names have been revealed, all of who had sexual relationships with activists, Bob Lambert, Jim Boyling, Marco Jacobs and Carlo Neri.   In addition Mark Kennedy and Peter Francis are represented separately from the other undercover officers.  There are many more pending applications for restriction orders which are unlikely to be determined till late spring or summer next year and we don’t know how many of these will be successful.  Until this process is completed, it is not anticipated that there will be any public hearings.  We do not yet have much of an idea how the public hearings will work and what will be the scope of evidence taking in relation to the issues that fall within the terms of reference.

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Picket: Don’t let the Police derail the Inquiry!

IMG_0576Sixteen months into the Public Inquiry into undercover policing, and a whole year after the Metropolitan Police apologised to some of the women who’d been deceived into relationships with undercover officers…

There has still been no disclosure about these human rights abuses. The police are doing their best to derail the Inquiry and obstruct the path to truth and justice.

Join us at a picket of the Home Office
Monday 21st November 2016
12-1pm
The Home Office: 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
Nearest tubes: St James Park, Westminster or Pimlico

This is a Campaign opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) demonstration, that we are supporting. Time for the truth about undercover policing!

Help spread the word: Facebook event page

Can’t get to the picket? Please show your support the picket on social media. Follow us @out_of_lives or Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) @copscampaign or contact the Home Office directly to share your concerns with them.

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Women speaking out

It is incredibly powerful to hear the voices of the people affected by relationships with undercover police speak about their experiences.HSAust

Helen Steel and “Lisa” Jones will be speaking at public events in October, and encourage you to go and listen to their stories.

“Lisa” Jones, who had a six year relationship with officer Mark Kennedy, is speaking at a public meeting organised by the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance: ‘Voices of the spied upon‘ on the evening of the 10th October in London. She will be speaking along side Ricky Tomlinson, a high profile figure denied core participancy status in the Inquiry to Undercover Policing, and Duwayne Brooks, the main witness to the murder of his friend Stephen Lawrence. You can book to go to this event, or spread the word via facebook.

Helen Steel, who had a long term relationship with undercover officer John Dines, is speaking at the Agitate, Organise, Resist Conference organised by the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign. This is on October 1st from 10-4pm in Sheffield.

Helen is also speaking at two Public Meetings organised to launch the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance in Scotland: one in Glasgow on the evening of October 5th, and another in Dundee on the evening of October 6th.

We encourage as many people as possible  to hear the voices of the people affected directly, as this is the best way to understand the appalling abuse they suffered at the hands of the police, and why we need to ensure it never happens again.

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