Deceived into relationships with undercover cops: Powerful new short film

We are pleased to release today a powerful new short film, made by Reel News, showing four women talking about their startlingly similar experiences of being deceived into relationships with undercover police.

It is being premiered this week at the Lush Summit, where “Alison” and “Andrea“, two women deceived into relationships with undercover police, are talking live and Police Spies Out of Lives is exhibiting.

In this film, the women talk about the experience of their most intimate lives being invaded by undercover police, the effect this has had on them, and about their ongoing fight for truth, accountability, and a complete cessation of these abuses.

These women’s most intimate lives were deeply infiltrated by these officers, living with them as life partners, attending family funeral’s, and promising to start a family. They left the women in similar ways, faking a nervous breakdown, and disappearing which was deeply upsetting for the women. It left them wondering who their partners were, and indeed who they were. Alison reveals “The damage that I experienced and the acute paranoia I experienced has subsided now, but is still there’

Lisa  explains just part of the enormous psychological abuse that these relationships have caused, and one of the questions that these women are left with. “I had grown and changed over that time with someone who was fictional, if they were fictional what did that make me now?”

In legal actions about undercover relationships, the Met has asked for judgment to be entered against them, implying that the relationships were undertaken with the express or tacit knowledge of other officers. Kate asserts “You didn’t just have a relationship with a man who didn’t exist, you had a relationship with a man who didn’t exist, and a back room, and the managers, and the superior officers who were making the decisions about that relationship, and the support teams who were following him around on your holidays, and people who were listening to your phone calls, and the people who were reading your emails”

All these women have been involved in legal actions against the Metropolitan police because of these relationships. They won a comprehensive apology from the police, yet despite this, and the fact that a public inquiry started in 2015, they have still not received any information from the police about what happened to them. Helen tells us: “We still have no answers as to why this abusive behaviour was allowed to happen. We have had absolutely no disclosure”

These political policing units have been systematically abusing women since 1968. The women in this video, and others, continue their brave fight for truth, accountability, and to stop this abusive practice, through legal courts and through the public Inquiry. Helen explains “Ultimately what we want to do is make sure these abuses can never happen again.”

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Coming this week: Film and talks

A brand-new short film from Police Spies Out of Lives made with the help of Reel News. It will be launched at 12noon on Wednesday 8th February simultaneously here on our website and live at the Lush Summit in London.

On Thursday 9th February, the Human Rights room at the Lush Summit will host an hour-long session (also at 12 noon) with two women, Alison & Andrea, talking about their personal experiences of relationships with #spycops.

The Lush Summit takes place at the Leathermarket building in East London. Entry is free, but you need to register The Human Rights room is one of many showcasing the work done by various campaign groups that Lush has supported financially; the others include Animal Rights and Environmental campaigns.

Thank you to REELNEWS and Lush for their continued support.

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Activists hold press conference telling of being targeted by spycops in Ireland

Mark Kennedy in Dublin with Sarah Hampton & Kim Bryan

Yesterday, activists targeted by UK undercover police, held a press conference in Ireland, to highlight the activities of these undercover officers in Ireland. Among these people was Kate Wilson, who was targeted by Mark Kennedy for an intimate relationship and is one of the women involved in the eight women case we supported, traveled with Mark Kennedy to protest events in Ireland.

A statement was also read out written by an American woman, Sarah Hampton, who has just received an apology from the Metropolitan police for her relationship with Mark Kennedy. She spoke about the effect of the abusive relationship on her, saying  “Finding out that Mark was an undercover police officer brought about a deep depression that seemed impossible to navigate, there were times I almost gave up completely. The process of seeking justice on this case has felt at times belittling, intimidating and downright scary.” She went on to ask “Who gave permission for a British undercover officer to form and have a relationship with a US national in Ireland, in the UK, in Scotland and in Spain?”

Kate Wilson explained some of the issues around undercover police in Ireland: “I found out in 2010 that my partner was an undercover officer and since then information has just kept coming out about the practices of undercover policing in the UK. We now know that since 1968 they have been running top secret political policing units, starting with the Metropolitan police in London but also other forces around the country. Activists have been finding information about those officers. The state hasn’t actually yet given us any information that has not be already found out by researchers and whistle-blowers getting that information to the public.

We already know that a large number of undercover officers were involved in the kind of long term intimate relationship that I had. Some of them even fathered children. We know that they were spying on the families of the victims of police violence. People who had been killed by the police or whose murders had not be properly investigated.

And we know that they were working with the Crown Prosecution Service and were responsible for a number of miscarriages of justice. Mark Kennedy alone, who was the man that I was involved with, is responsible for over 56 unsafe convictions. These were convictions that were overturned because of the role of undercover police in those cases. People were wrongfully convicted.

We are all here because our privacy and political rights were violated by these British police officers here in Ireland. We think its really important that people know these things happened in Ireland and affected Irish citizens as well.

There is currently no information and no investigation in Ireland. So we are here to talk about some of the things that happen here in Ireland. Yesterday the Metropolitan police issued a public apology to Sarah Hampton who is a woman who was deceived into a relationship with Mark Kennedy that started here in Ireland.”

Kim Bryan, spoke about how Mark Kennedy paid for and facilitated her educational group, Trapese, to visit Ireland before the G8 in 2005, encouraging the 200 people who attended the G8 protests in Scotland to do so. She said “I think it raises a very serious question because Mark Kennedy was essentially coercing, manipulating and manufacturing situations which meant Irish citizens then took part in things that were being manufactured by a British spy who was operating on Irish soil.”

Jason Kilpatrick, an activist who was also targeted by Kennedy in Ireland, said “We have been informing the minister for months now that this British officer created serious human rights violations that the police admit. Kennedy was here five or six times in the Republic of Ireland. Were there wrongful or miscarriages of justice here in Ireland? That has to be investigated. That has to be made public. And so far Minister Fitzgerald has not even shown that she understands these issues.”

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Women’s statement: Full investigation needed on undercover policing in Scotland

openthefilesFour women deceived into relationships with undercover officers have made a joint statement criticising the new HMICS review into undercover policing, and demanding a full Public Inquiry into the undercover policing in Scotland.

Full Statement from the four women:

“One of the major concerns we have about the scope of the Inquiry into Undercover Policing is that the terms of reference are currently limited it to operations conducted by the police forces of England and Wales. It is very concerning that the activities of the Metropolitan  police’s spies whilst in other countries are excluded.

 As women who had relationships with undercover officers, we spent time abroad with these men, whom we believed to be a  friend and close partner.

 We know that Mark Kennedy’s major operations involved G8 summits in Scotland and  Germany, and it would make a mockery of the inquiry if these events were to be left out of its scope. Mark Kennedy spent further time with his partners, “Lisa” and Kate, attending protests and meetings in Ireland, Spain, France, Denmark, Iceland and Italy, he also spent time every year of his deployment on holiday with “Lisa” and friends in Scotland. Carlo Neri spent time with his partner, “Andrea”, in Scotland and Italy. Mark Jenner spent time with his partner, “Alison” in Ireland, and Scotland.

 On all of those visits abroad, the men were being paid by the Police, using the characters created within the undercover units,  working with activists from the UK in these countries, continuing their deceitful relationships with us wherever they went.  Therefore it would allow police to cover up whole chapters of outrageous behaviour if the investigations into their conduct did not include their activities in these countries. 

 The review into Undercover Policing set up by HMICS in Scotland is an insult to those of us who were spied on there. It is the Police investigating the police, with the people affected by undercover policing being given no voice. Our experience  would lead us to expect a cover up. HMICS is staffed with ex-police, some of whom will return to policing with the force they are examining, and some of whom actually have links to undercover policing in Scotland. It is also limited to events from 2000. Those of us who were spied on in Scotland before that date will not even be included.

 We call for a full Public Inquiry to get to the truth of what happened in Scotland, and in all the countries these undercover officers operated in. We call for everyone who was spied on to be given access to the police files held on them in all of these countries. These units were political policing units, akin to the Stasi of East Germany. They must be closed, and held accountable for their actions.”

Signed: ‘Andrea’, ‘Alison’, ‘Lisa’ and Kate Wilson

 

— end of statement —

Key Background information

1.The women who made this statement have all been affected by undercover police. It is the first time they have come together to make a statement. ‘Alison‘ had a long term relationship with Mark Jenner, ‘Lisa‘, and Kate Wilson had a long term relationships with Mark Kennedy, and ‘Andrea‘ had a long term relationship with Carlo Neri. ‘Alison’, ‘Lisa’ and ‘Andrea’ are pseudonym as they have anonymity upheld by the courts.

2. Three of these women have recently written a letter to Scottish Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson, along with eleven other core participants in the Undercover Policing Inquiry, requesting to meet in light of release of terms of reference for the HMICS review of undercover policing in Scotland.

3. The  HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) review into under cover policing, commissioned by Justice Micheal Matheson has recently issued its terms of reference.

4. ‘Alison’ and ‘Andrea’ have been in the Scottish Press recently attacking the lack of proper investigation into undercover officers operating in Scotland. Alison gave an interview to Scotsman and Andrea gave a interview to the Scottish Sunday Herald.

5. These women have all made legal claims against the Metropolitan Police arising from their deception into long-term intimate relationships with police officers who had infiltrated social and environmental justice campaigns. These are both common law claims, including deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office and negligence, and human rights claims.

6. As part of an out-of-court settlement, the Met police issued a comprehensive apology to two of these women (Alison & Lisa) in November 2015. A public inquiry has also been launched.

7. These women aim to highlight and prevent the continuation of psychological, emotional and sexual abuse of campaigners and others by undercover police officers.  ‘We come from different backgrounds and have a range of political beliefs and interests, and we are united in believing that every woman, and every person, has a right to participate in the struggle for social and environmental justice, without fear of persecution, objectification, or interference in their lives.’  – from ‘Where we stand’ Statement.

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Andrea speaks out revealing institutional sexism around undercover policing

neriAndrea story in her own words was printed in two articles by Union News this week. She is one of the women targeted for long term intimate relationships by an undercover officer. It is part of a pattern of institutional sexism, where officers used women to shore up their fake identities and gain trust with activists. In the first article she tells the story of being targeted by Neri, an undercover officer. In the second article, she writes about the impact of discovering he was an undercover officer.

The trauma of discovering your ex partner was an undercover policeman is huge, and their stories deeply personal. It enormously brave for her, like the other women before her, to share her story publicly. It is these women’s stories that are proving to be our most powerful tools to stopping these abuses happening again.

She talks about the strength of their relationship. “We were inseparable. Within six weeks he’d moved in with me. It felt right, and three months later we got engaged.” The relationships these officers had whilst undercover were often very serious for the women involved, as the officers played the role of the perfect partner.

She tells the now familiar story of the breakdown that Neri faked before he left her, which was devastating for her. He even used the emotionally manipulative tool of telling her he was going to kill himself.

Andrea talks about the effect of discovering Neri was an undercover officer “When this happens to you, when your narrative becomes a fiction, life itself becomes fragmented.  There’s a ripple effect.  It impacts on your relationships, your work, your family, and when you start to uncover the truth, you still find out only a part of that truth.  It is an enormously cruel thing to do.

Andrea reflects on why this happened to her – why she was one of many women used by undercover police in this way. “I don’t know why I was chosen. Wrong place, wrong time? A mere convenience? It seems I provided a cover so that this man could infiltrate the trade unions and movements that he was sent to spy on.

Many of the undercover officers that have been revealed so far had deceitful intimate relationships while undercover. These relationships shored-up the cover-stories of the officers – by definition the undercover officers had no real background, friends or family, and by having a relationship with a trusted female activist, they would be accepted into their target groups more readily.

In conceding the a previous similar case, the police admitted that supervising officers had been negligent and had acted improperly in causing or allowing the relationship to happen. It was not the actions of rogue officers, but instead had been authorised or allowed to happen by the supervisory structure. This reveals a sexist mind-set, that it is ok to abuse women like this, to shore up the identity of an undercover officer.

It is the bravery of women like Andrea speaking up, which is revealing the extent of this abusive practice, and the institutional sexism that surrounds it. The Pitchford Inquiry into Undercover Policing MUST officially recognise this institutional sexism for it to change. We have seen the power of the McPherson Inquiry recognising racism in the Met, and this is what is needed to cause real change and to stop women’s lives being abused like this in the future.

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