On June 13th 2012 Green party leader Caroline Lucas secured a Parliamentary debate about rules governing undercover policing which, as Hansard records, teased out the confused and contradictory position of the establishment.
Several months ago Jon Murphy, chief constable of Merseyside and head of crime business area for the Association of Chief Police Officers, claimed: ‘It is never acceptable under any circumstances for them [undercover police] to engage in sex with any subject they come into contact with. It is grossly unprofessional.‘ In Parliament on 13th June, however, Nick Herbert, Minister of Policing did not rule out the possibility of such behaviours, claiming that if there was a ban on sexual relationships, targeted groups could test potential spies and uncover their true through their refusal to have sex. This is a ludicrous argument that suggests they would have no other reason to refuse – such as suggesting they had a partner elsewhere, or that they didn’t fancy the person asking, or any other number of reasons that get given in every day life when people get asked to have sex or go on a date.
Later that evening, Caroline Lucas continued to debate the issues with Tony McNulty (Minister for Policing 2005-8) on Newsnight where she exposed further the fact that neither the police nor politicians know how to respond to the systemic violation of citizen’s rights illustrated by the women’s case.