The Human Rights Legal Action – a primer on a critical case

It is 8 years now since the lid on the undercover policing scandal was first lifted with the exposure of spycop Mark Kennedy. In that time the Metropolitan Police have publicly recognised, acknowledged and apologised for the abuse of activists and others by undercover police who deceived them into relationships under false identities. In the police’s own words, those relationships were “abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong…[they] were a violation of the women’s human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma…relationships like these should never have happened. They were wrong and were a gross violation of personal dignity and integrity.”

That was a powerful admission. But it did not lead to any proper disclosure by the police of the truth about undercover police and their practices (indeed, some believe that the apology was made in part to avoid doing just that). Crucially, neither has it led to the British State outlawing the abusive practice of deployed undercover police officers deceiving members of the public into intimate relationships. Without that kind of fundamental change, nobody can be certain that they will not be subject to such abuse. Nevertheless, the government does not appear minded to take such a responsible legislative lead.

A recently-launched legal challenge, however, brings renewed hope of change. Continue reading “The Human Rights Legal Action – a primer on a critical case”


Can we trust the police to police themselves?

29th January 2018

Those with longish memories may remember the name Operation Herne. An internal police investigation into undercover policing, it started life back in 2011. The unmasking of spycop Mark Kennedy, and the trail of other revelations that followed, formed the broad context for its launch. The more immediate stimulus was the unwholesome revelation that undercover police had been stealing the identities of dead children to use as cover names for their deployments. Continue reading “Can we trust the police to police themselves?”


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