New evidence has been heard at the spycops inquiry of the misogynistic culture in Metropolitan police as women deceived into relationships by undercover police make links to recent police abuse of women.
Today Charlotte Kilroy KC delivered her closing statement at the final hearings of Tranche 1(1968-1982) of the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI), on behalf of women deceived into relationships by undercover officers (Category H UCPI).
Police Spies Out Of Lives (PSOOL) has produced a downloadable summary of the powerful closing statement which include reference to an explosive report from 1983 that reveals the extent of racism, sexism and misogyny in the force.
‘Police in Action’, was commissioned from the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) by then Met Commissioner Sir David McNee. It confirms that the MPS have known for decades about the toxic culture within the organisation. This is the same culture that has resulted in horrifying cases reported recently of police abuse of women.
Yet in the most recent apology offered to the women deceived into sexual relationships by undercover police, Met Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, refuses to acknowledge institutional sexism within the Met and refuses to make a commitment to eradicating it.
We welcome counsel to the inquiry David Barr KC’s comments yesterday that establish this abuse of women by Special Branch officers was there from the early years of the unit: ‘We can see from these admitted sexual relationships alone that instances of sexual activity between undercover police officers in their cover identities and members of the public were not uncommon from the mid-seventies onwards.’
In the Met police closing statement yesterday, even lawyer Peter Skelton KC had to concede the operations were ‘unjustifiable‘. No one appears to have addressed their mind specifically to the legality of the SDS operations. The Counsel to the Inquiry’s own closing submissions state that: ‘Had they done so, there is a strong case for concluding that they should have decided to disband the SDS’.
The Category H submissions concluded:
‘When they unlawfully interfered with the public’s longstanding constitutional rights, the MPS also took the misogyny which riddled and corrupted the entire organisation into the private homes and private lives of women. Both the MPS, and the men sent into their lives, had contempt for them. It is clear women were severely discriminated against by the SDS’s activities, and were subject to discriminatory risks at the hands of a police force in which sexism was endemic. Any police officer, official or minister who knew officers were being sent undercover with false identities and cover addresses for years, knew about that risk. That extends to Commissioner level and into the Home Office; it also encompasses the Security Service.’
A PSOOL spokesperson said:
‘We have come a long way from Neither Confirm Nor Deny, through a few bad apples, to entirely unlawful operations, and now an entire force and policing culture that is recognised as rotten to the core and sanctioned by the state. The issue now is to stop it happening again, and that means fundamental change.’