* Women’s legal action over undercover relationships
* Court hearing 5-6 June 2014, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London
On Thursday 5 June and Friday 6 June 2014, the main issues in a case against the Metropolitan Police over undercover relationships will be laid out for the first time in open court. The High Court will hear an application to require the Metropolitan police to drop their “neither confirm nor deny” (NCND) stance. NCND has been one of many delaying tactics used by the Met to maintain secrecy over the legal action against them, despite the very serious allegations that have been made by the Claimants.
Eight women are bringing common law claims of assault, deceit, negligence and misfeasance in public office; this hearing concerns five of the women. The officers’ deployments were part of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), which was infiltrating environmental and social justice campaign groups. Several officers entered into long-term relationships, causing lasting disruption and psychological damage.
Despite widespread public outcry over what appears to be a systematic pattern of abuse, the Metropolitan Police have not entered a defence against the claims, instead resorting to a series of delaying tactics and bids for secrecy, including their so-called Neither Confirm Nor Deny “policy” (NCND). The Met police withdrew their application to strike out the Claimants’ claims last March after the Home Secretary announced a public inquiry.
Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the eight women said: “This will be the first hearing in open court when the main issues will be set out in the case against the Metropolitan police over the deployments of SDS officers. We will be providing detailed evidence of what the Claimants have discovered and what is already now known about the four undercover officers in the case which undermines the MPS’ reliance on NCND. NCND appears to be a smokescreen to cover up the extent of wrong-doing, and should not be permitted.”
For press enquiries, contact Susanna Thomas of Birnberg Peirce and Partners on 020 7911 0166.
1. Full background on this hearing is at https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/ncnd-5-6-jun/
2. Further background on NCND can be found at: https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/the-case-overview/legal-battles/neither-confirm-nor-deny/
3. Delaying tactics from the police included a strike-out claim on the basis of NCND – which was dropped at the last minute in March of this year. Two large files of evidence were submitted to the Court by the women’s lawyers to counter the strike out claim. These files detailed instances where the police had confirmed the identities of undercover officers; commented on operational tactics of these political policing units; show the identities of the undercover officers reported in the media; and where the women had meticulously compiled evidence demonstrating that they can show the true identities of the officers.
4. This hearing concerns five of the eight women; the other three women are also bringing claims under the Human Rights Act, including suffering “inhumane and degrading treatment” and disruption of their “private and family life, including the right to form relationships without unjustified interference by the state”. They are fighting a separate battle to stop their claims being sent to a secret court, the IPT.