Undercover police officers were on duty when they infiltrated our most personal lives, deceiving us into intimate, sexual relationships. Maintaining Her Majesty’s peace: monitor political protest, get close to the main players, then disempower the groups ‘by any means necessary’.
Our women were all associated with progressive political groups, and different types of protest. It’s what got us here in the first place.
So we are disturbed to witness a period in time where even the mildest form of protest is deemed unacceptable: holding a sign with words on. Down with the Monarchy!
As the country spends millions of pounds marking the death of Queen Elizabeth II, forgive us for feeling uncomfortable. We have suffered directly at the hands of the State and have seen its agents close up. Way too close up. Something that was never meant to happen.
Under UK law, all police officers in England and Wales take an oath in which they swear to serve the monarch. Like it or not, what was done to us was done in her name.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) drove home the advantage, ensuring these officers were protected from criminal proceedings. We were told, insultingly, there was no case to answer for sexual assault because we consented to the relationships. According to the CPS, they were based on ‘genuine feelings’.
The Establishment closed ranks and the Judiciary rejected our Judicial Review of the CPS decision.
Some of us have been compensated through civil claims for the damage caused whilst others are still waiting. None of us have received our files.
We’ve known for a long time that British democracy is deeply flawed. Citizens are spied on and those who question the status quo are shut up or marginalised.
The media was keen to share stories about ‘the queue’. The warmth of participating in a shared experience; the camaraderie created by common values; the pleasure of belonging to a mutually supportive community.
Those of us spied on have experienced this spirit in our political groups. Different purpose, same emotions. We know about the power of collectivity.
Political leaders – terrified the status quo might shatter – appealed to republicans to accept the theatre of monarchy. Maintain a respectful silence, they told us. Look away if we don’t like it.
Yet unlike those waiting hour upon hour in the queue, our collectivity was and is disrespected. Our shared experiences were spied on. Our values were misrepresented and decried; our communities were damaged and in some cases destroyed.
Those of us calling for a better society – one based on equality and justice, rather than inheritance and elitism – have the right to call out unfairness free from interference by the State. We want the millions who mourn the Queen to know what is done in her name.
For more information, see OUR STORIES.