Helen Steel issues statement as former partner confirmed as undercover officer

PRESS RELEASE for immediate release

  • Undercover Policing Inquiry has named John Dines as an undercover police officer
  • Helen Steel has issued a statement in response. It is contained here

HSAustThe Undercover Policing Inquiry (1) has named John Dines as an undercover police officer (2), the third officer confirmed in recent weeks (3). John Dines was the long term partner of Helen Steel (4), who until recently was suing (5) the police, with seven other women who had been deceived into relationships with undercover officers.

It was Helen’s search for John Barker, after he had disappeared from her life, which revealed he was John Dines, an undercover officer. This is only being confirmed by the Inquiry now. Despite settling her legal action with a comprehensive apology (6), the police have until now refused to admit that John Dines was an undercover officer, relying on their ‘policy’ of ‘neither confirm nor deny’ (7).

Helen Steels Statement:

“While I welcome the official admission that my former partner John Dines was an undercover policeman in the Special Demonstration Squad, it is a travesty that the police have been allowed to take this long to confirm what I and others exposed years ago.  Even after they issued a public apology for serious human rights abuses to myself and six other women who had been deceived into relationships with undercover policemen, the police still argued they could not confirm the identity of my abuser.  To date, despite that apology, they have also refused to confirm the identity of Mark Jenner who deceived ‘Alison’ into a five year relationship.  We and other women similarly deceived have had no disclosure at all about how these abusive relationships were allowed to happen, instead we have been subjected to intrusive demands for evidence of the effects of the abuse.  None of those responsible for this abuse have been held to account – even those still employed by the police have kept their jobs.  

It is an insult to the many victims of political undercover policing that the police who are responsible for serious human rights abuses have been allowed to cover up the truth and withhold information from those they abused.  The public inquiry should release as a matter of urgency the cover names of all these political police and also the files they compiled on campaigners, so that those spied on are able to understand what happened and give relevant evidence to the inquiry.  

We know that over a thousand campaign groups have been spied upon by these political undercover policing units.  This represents a significant interference with the right to political freedom of thought and the right to protest.  Ultimately it is a means for those who hold power to preserve the status quo and prevent social change.  For this reason it is in the public interest for the cover names of all the political undercover police to be released, along with the files they compiled so that those who have abused their power can be held to account, the public learns the true extent of this political spying in this country and further human rights abuses by such units can be prevented.”

—statement ends—

Key background links

1)    https://www.ucpi.org.uk/

2)   The Undercover Policing Inquiry confirmed him as an officer today on 20th December 2016.

3)    Carlo Neri and Marco Jacobs were also recently confirmed as undercover officers (see Guardian report). They had also previously been identified by activists as an undercover police officer, and are also the subject of legal actions against the police. The police have as yet failed to admit that Mark Jenner was an undercover officer. He had a relationship with ‘ Alison’, one of the seven other women who took the legal action against the police with Helen Steel.

4)    Helen Steel was one of the eight women who had a high profile case against the Metropolitan Police for being deceived into relationships with undercover officers

5)    The legal action against the Metropolitan Police involved claims of deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office and negligence

6)    As part of an out-of-court settlement for seven out of the eight claims, the Met police issued a comprehensive apology in November 2015 – their first admission that the relationships had taken place and had caused significant damage. Other civil cases being brought against the police over undercover policing continue.

7)    The police say that they have a ‘policy’ of ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ (NCND) in relation to undercover officers. If anyone asks whether one of their officers is an undercover, they reply with words to the effect of “We can neither confirm nor deny that X person was an undercover officer”. NCND doesn’t have any legal standing, or even appear to be a proper policy. Despite this, and despite the very serious nature of the many allegations against undercover units, the police are seeking to in the Inquiry see Secrets beyond lies briefing. Helen Steel herself demolished NCND at the hearing about restriction orders and secrecy in the Inquiry into Undercover Policing – for a transcript see here.

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