Undercover policing: women say “enough is enough, release the names and open the files”

  • latest court hearing will see renewed pressure on police re disclosure in legal case
  • 15 January is anniversary of dramatic Stasi secret files events of 1990
  • SDS officers themselves knew “that will be us one day”
  • women issue advance statement concerning the anniversary and hearing

On Friday 15th January 2016 a legal case over undercover police relationships will return to the High Court, in a renewed battle to force the police to follow normal court procedure and issue disclosure documents in the case.

The date of the hearing comes two months since the historic apology issued by the Metropolitan Police, after which calls began for officers’ cover names to be released, so that others affected may know the truth about disruption to their lives.

The hearing also coincidently takes place on the anniversary of occupation of the Stasi HQ in Berlin. The occupation led to files being protected and opened to those who had been spied upon. It is understood that in the UK in 1994, SDS officers, when viewing coverage about the Stasi files, predicted to each other “this is going to happen to us one day”.

The group of eight women issued a statement ahead of the hearing and anniversary, in which they said:

“Despite the apology and very public settlement of seven of our eight claims, the police have so far refused to disclose any information to any of us about the files held on us, the extent of the intrusion into our lives, or the motivations behind the abusive police operations we were subjected to.”

Kate Wilson, who’s ongoing case will be the subject of the hearing, added:

“I would like to see the true nature of Britain’s political policing fully exposed, and I believe everyone affected by these abusive undercover units should be given free access to their files.”

Key background links:

1. The hearing on 15 January will be a case management conference to clarify the timetable for disclosure and related matters. Previous hearings have sought to ensure the Met follows normal court procedure:
Police climb down and withdraw ‘strike-out’ application March 2014
Women issue legal challenge to NCND in court June 2014
Partial NCND victory Aug 2014

2. The claims arise from the deception of women into long-term intimate relationships by five police officers who had infiltrated social and environmental justice campaigns. The common law claims relating to the 15 January hearing include deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office and negligence.

3. 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. Kate Wilson’s case continues, as do other civil cases being brought against the police over undercover policing. A public inquiry has also been launched.

4. The eight women bringing this legal action are doing so 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.

5. For how the SDS officers viewed the events surrounding the Stasi files, see here.

6. A solidarity demo will be held on 15 January – see here for details.

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