Guide for creative work around undercover policing

We encourage anyone wanting to create fictionalised accounts or art about these events and issues to fully consider ethics as part of their creative process and their publicity. This brief guide will help you to get it right.

Are you attempting to genuinely open up  discussion, to educate, illuminate and  empower? Or will your production  merely entertain, sensationalise and  exploit?

Remember these are ongoing  real-life events which are still being unpacked, as the police have given the people affected no disclosure what so ever about what happened. In real life, the police officers become actors, abuse the public they claim to serve, and refuse to divulge who wrote their  lines.  This isn’t a drama, it’s real life (and we’re all immersed in it  – no  ticket required).

Consult the affected where possible
As part of your research, make contact (first hand if possible) with the people and groups affected by police political spying, particularly those depicted in your piece.

First-hand contact with any of the many groups affected takes time, and indeed may not be successful. Those affected  are not only attempting to rebuild their lives but are also mired in  uphill battles to bring the police to account. What happened to them  still generates enormous demands on their lives. It may not be possible for them to play an advisory role to those wishing to make depictions about traumatic events.

What to include
– Give voice to those affected by using their own words and stories
– Emphasise where the police have admitted wrongdoing
– With performances or showings, include a companion ethics debate accessible to all
– Enable participants to find out more about the ongoing campaign to make the police come clean – as well as us, you could link to Campaign to Oppose Police Surveillance, Undercover Research Group, Newham Monitoring Group, and Netpol.

Reading material
Our Stories – personal accounts by women affected by relationships with undercover officers
Undercover by Paul Lewis and Rob Evans
Secret Manoeuvers in the Dark by Eveline Lubbers
Blacklisted by Dave Smith & Phil Chamberlain






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