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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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‘Jessica’ granted Core Participant status in the Undercover Policing Inquiry

Notification was given yesterday of a new Ruling: ‘Jessica’ has been granted Core Participant status in the Under Cover Policing Inquiry.
The Ruling states:
Ruling 14: “Jessica”satisfies the requirements of rule 5(2) of the Inquiry Rules 2006, for the reasons explained in the Chairman’s ruling of 21 October 2015 in paragraphs 46-49. I accept that she had no reason to apply earlier than she has done to be made a core participant. I shall designate her a core participant in the Inquiry in Category H Individuals in relationships with undercover officers. Her identity will remain confidential pending receipt of an application for anonymity.
This is an important development in the unfolding campaign, demanding that Andy Coles resigns from his position as Councillor at Peterborough Council.
For more information on this ruling see: https://www.ucpi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/20170801-ruling-core-participants-number-14.pdf
For more information regarding ‘Jessica’ see: https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/jessicas-story/
For more information about the campaign see recent posts: https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/local-call-oust-andy-coles/
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Local call for action tonight to oust Andy Coles

Local Activist has put a call out for people to come a demo in Peterborough tonight, which we reproduce here:

Councillor Andy Coles Demonstration 

TONIGHT Wednesday 26/7 – 6pm rear of Peterborough town hall.

Join me along with other members of the labour party, plus representatives from the Greens, Lib-Dems and others, to demand that the Leader of Peterborough city council urge Andy Coles to resign from his post as conservative councillor for the Fletton and Woodston ward whilst being investigated over allegations that he groomed and manipulated a vulnerable 19-year-old political activist into having a sexual relationship with him, lied about his name and age whilst being married to another woman.

After reading revelations that have appeared across a wide range of the media (including sample links below), I like many other people, do not believe it is in the public interest that Mr Coles remain in a position of trust.

Tory council leader John Holdich is of the opinion that If Coles resigns as councillor it would be an admission of guilt. Coles has resigned his post as Deputy Police Commissioner! So using the same logic…..

If you can, join us TONIGHT at 6pm and we will try to help Holdich see the logic of his own argument and urge coles to resign as councillor. You can also help by sending a quick email expressing your views to:
Leader of Council: john.holdich@peterborough.gov.uk

 

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Andy Coles’ refusal to resign causing headaches for the rest of Peterborough City Council

 

There was a good turn-out for the demonstration at Peterborough Town Hall on Wednesday evening. From 5.30pm onwards, over thirty people gathered in the street outside, to leaflet passers-by, including the elected councillors on their way into the building.

 

 

Some of those councillors stopped to talk with the protestors. Most of the Tories walked past, refusing the leaflets and the opportunity to learn exactly what Andy Coles’ sordid past involved.

The full council meeting began at 7pm. By then, the public gallery was full, with a mixture of Peterborough residents and campaigners from further afield. It was a shock to see Andy Coles himself, occupying a seat in the back row of the council chamber beneath.

The mayor opened the meeting with a prayer and announcements. When he announced that no Questions had been received, there was palpable disquiet in the gallery up above.

‘Jessica’, the woman deceived by Andy Coles while she was still a teenager, had submitted an official Question to the Council, in time for this meeting:

“Is it appropriate that an ex-undercover officer, with a history of committing human rights abuses against women, when in a position of power, is now sitting on your council, as the Conservative Councillor for the Fletton and Woodston ward?”

 

This question was rejected, on the grounds that:

  • There are other ongoing inquiries into the matters raised by the question which the Council would not wish to prejudice;
  • The possible defamatory nature of the question;
  • That, in answering the question, confidential and personal information would be disclosed.”

Peterborough Conservative Party would dearly love to sweep this affair under the carpet. Since the news first broke, they have refused to respond to any questions, or make any comment, beyond Cllr John Holdich, Leader of the Council, stating that Councillor Andy Coles has his “full support”, even though he’s also admitted that he knows “very little” about the situation.

In an interview yesterday he added “Unfortunately Cllr Coles is not allowed to speak for himself because the Met have told him he must not say anything and he is obeying that”. The Met have not prevented other ex-undercover officers from speaking out in public, making this excuse barely credible.

One member of the public couldn’t resist raising the issue of the rejected question, which most of the elected Councillors knew nothing about. Others joined in, with questions of their own and shouts of “Shame on you, Andy Coles”. A large banner, made by Jessica herself, was draped over the front of the gallery. It read: ‘Human Rights Abuser Andy Coles’. There were repeated demands for his resignation or suspension.

As soon as the protest began in the gallery, the Mayor halted the meeting temporarily, and sent the (only two) available police officers up to the gallery to ask everyone to leave, or at least make less noise. However the public refused to do this, saying they wanted answers to their questions, and the kind of transparency and accountability that Peterborough City Council claim to provide the electorate. Cllr Holdich was unwilling to visit the gallery in person, but did promise to meet with two or three of the group at a later date. Jessica is now planning to go and demand answers from him herself.

Meanwhile the Mayor didn’t care much for some of the new decorations adorning the chamber, and asked for Jessica’s colourful banner to be taken down. He received a simple response from the gallery: the banner was staying up while Coles remained in the building. But if he was sent home, then the protestors would go home too, taking the banner with them.

People feel very strongly that Coles shouldn’t be allowed to carry on with business as usual. It’s standard practice to suspend people from work while allegations of their misconduct are being investigated. He shouldn’t be sitting smirking at the back of the chamber while serious concerns are being raised about his suitability for any position of trust and accountability.

Why are the Tories so keen to hang on to Andy Coles? They are no longer in overall control of the Council. Losing just one member will make it even harder for them to operate. However they are playing a dangerous game. The people of Peterborough are angry, and sick of being ignored. Even traditional Tory voters are disgusted at what Coles has done, so this is harming his party’s chance of gaining votes in any future elections.

The truth about these abusive spycops units began to come out with the exposure of Mark Kennedy way back in 2010. Since then, activists have done lots of digging, and managed to piece together more information about these units, the officers who worked in them, the spycraft techniques they employed, and much more. There are now full profiles of many former officers – including Coles – on the Undercover Research Group website. The Government set up the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing back in 2015, and it’s inevitable that more of the truth will be uncovered as the years go on.

Coles (pictured in the centre of the photograph on the left, in a dark grey suit) knew that it was just a matter of time before his past caught up with him. So why did he decide to stand for election in May 2015? Was he so arrogant that he thought he wouldn’t be found out? Did he not realise that being listed as a Councillor would make it even easier for activist researchers to find him? Does he care about how this could affect the reputation of Peterborough City Council, and his colleagues? Did he warn them that this might happen one day?  What has he told his friends and family about his past?

In 2015, his former employers made a very public apology to women who had relationships like Jessica’s. On behalf of the Metropolitan Police, Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt stated that “relationships like these should never have happened. They were wrong and were a gross violation of personal dignity and integrity”. They were “a violation of the women’s human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma”. The Met described their own officers’ actions as “abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong”.

Peterborough’s Councillors were forced to have a lengthy coffee break while negotiations went on. Andy Coles was seen coming back into the chamber, despite the growing clamour for him to leave. After almost an hour, the Mayor decided that he’d had enough, and that any attempt to re-start the meeting with Coles present would lead to continuing protest and disruption from a small but determined crowd. He announced that the entire meeting was over for the night, and that they would reconvene on the following Wednesday instead.

Most of the local protestors have already announced their intention to come back next Wednesday, the 26th July, to make sure that Andy Coles does not continue to go unchallenged. There’s a call-out for more people to come and join them. The Leader of the Council, John Holdich, has announced that they’ve made plans to keep the public out of the gallery next time, and only let them view proceedings via a screen in another room. There will probably be far more than two police officers present.

Concerned citizens of Peterborough are planning to organise a petition to the City Council, with the aim of forcing some proper discussion of this issue. They will be working to get the word out on the streets of Cambridgeshire, especially in Fletton and Woodston. Members of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Labour Parties have all offered support to the campaign so far.

It was disappointing to see the Lib Dems’ group leader, Nick Sandford, then describe Jessica’s home-made banner as “deeply offensive”. What is truly offensive is the lack of accountability and integrity displayed by Cllr Coles. His stubborn refusal to leave the meeting meant that the entire thing was cancelled, causing inconvenience to every other Councillor and delaying discussion of other important issues.

Trade unionists, peace campaigners, environmentalists, animal rights campaigners and others have come together to fight for justice, for Jessica and everybody else who was targeted by these secretive undercover units. This week has shown that when we all stand – or sit – together, we have a lot of power, and we can make sure our voices are heard.

Jessica’s voice can be heard here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Call out for Demo to demand Andy Coles’ resignation

What: Demonstration outside Peterborough Council meeting calling for former abusive spycop and current Tory Councillor Andy Coles to resign.

Where: Town Hall, Bridge Street, Peterborough, PE1 1HF

When: 6pm, Wednesday 19th July

Why: Andy Coles deceived a teenager into an intimate relationship when he was an undercover officer.
 
In May, Andy Coles, the then Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire, and current Peterborough Tory Councillor was exposed as a former undercover cop. It was revealed he had deceived then teenager “Jessica” into an intimate relationship, telling her he was 24 years old, when he was 32. “Jessica” has said she feels like she was groomed:
 
“Although not legally underage, I feel that my youth and vulnerability were used to target me. I was groomed by someone much older, and far more experienced… I was manipulated into having a sexual relationship with him.  I didn’t even know his real name.”
 
It is entirely inappropriate for someone who has committed these admitted human rights abuses to be in a position of respect and authority. Andy Coles has resigned his post as Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner, and he must now step down from his post as Councillor as well. 
 
It is important that the Andy Coles and the Council see the public outrage at these revelations. Without this, they may be able to sweep it under the carpet. He is one in an ever increasing line of undercover police revealed to have abused women in this way, and it is essential that we demand accountability for these actions.
 
Show your disgust at Andy Cole’s actions, and join us in calling for his resignation.
Come to the demonstration, bring banners & placards.
Make a noise about it on social media
Talk to your friends
If you would like help with travel costs please let us know, by 10th July, on our email: contact@policespiesoutoflives.org.uk
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Inquiry progress briefing #5

We are pleased to today publish our progress briefing number 5, summarising progress in the Undercover Policing Inquiry. This version is for public consumption – if you are a core participant in the Inquiry, you can get a more detailed version from your solicitor.

This Inquiry Progress Briefing number 5 includes a summary of progress so far (principles and protocols, anonymity applications, and evidence gathering), the outstanding issues (Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, Disclosure of personal files, Witness evidence protocol, Disclosure of cover names and individuals files) as well as sections on the Inquiry Strategic Review and appointment of Mitting.

For the back ground to the inquiry go here, and for previous briefings, go here.

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