I lived with an undercover officer – this BBC series gets it all wrong

Alison,’ one eight women who sued the police over being deceived into relationships with undercover cops, has spoken out in criticism of the BBC’s new drama series ‘Undercover.’ She had a relationship with ‘Mark Jenner’ an undercover cop she knew as Mark Cassidy (pictured).

Mark Jenner - former SDS undercover officer
Mark Jenner – former SDS undercover officer

She has written a piece in the Guardian, saying that despite advising the screenwriter Peter Moffat some years ago, she feels that the story he is portraying is misleading and inauthentic. It misrepresents “the deceitful individuals involved” and misunderstands “the power dynamics and sexual politics” that underpin the deployment of officers by these units.

‘Alison’ explains that “There is no precedent of officers having families with their targets then sustaining a happy marriage for two decades under the guise of their state-sponsored identity”. Instead, since 1996 all officers have been required to have wives and possibly children in their lives. Many officers cheated on, lied and exploited both their wives, and their activist lovers, with their dual domestic role.  ‘Alison’ feels that their “true stories… were sufficiently dramatic without requiring elaboration,” and that Undercover is a sensationalised misrepresentation of how the Met Special Demonstration Squad operated, and hopes that because of this it does not miss the opportunity to spark viewers to find out about the true stories of “abusive relationships condoned by the police in the name of law and order.”

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Recent media coverage

As we announced yesterday, the women and their legal team are examining the two reports that were released yesterday, and the announcement of a public inquiry. In the meantime here is a select list of media articles on the events…..

BBC Newsnight 6/3/14 (available for 7 days from broadcast date)

BBC – “Undercover police – what have we learned?”

BBC – “Stephen Lawrence police ‘spy’ prompts public inquiry”

BBC – “Police spying and corruption at heart of Lawrence case

Bristling Badger Blog : “What kind of public inquiry?”

The Guardian – “Undercover police could face criminal charges over relationships with activists”

The Guardian – “How the scandal of Scotland Yard’s secret spy unit emerged”

The Guardian – “Scotland Yard undercover unit condemned in home secretary’s report

We would urge supporters of this case to use the lens of the Where We Stand statement when scrutinising reports.

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Alison interviewed on BBC Newsnight

The main story on the BBC’s Newsnight programme last night concerned the announcement by Home Secretary Theresa May of a public inquiry into undercover policing.  The programme included an interview with Alison, one of the women in this case. The programme can be watched via BBC iPlayer; Alison’s interview begins from 16.57 into the broadcast.

The Newsnight piece also included a statement issued by the Metropolitan Police, in which they yet again hide behind “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” – a flimsy ‘policy’ that the women and their supporters are saying should not stand – and in particular, should not stand in the way of justice.

There is more of Alison’s testimony on this website, and it can be found here.  There are also accounts from Belinda and Helen, two more women in this case, of their stories here and here.  All three women, along with two others, are involved in an important court hearing on the 18th and 19th of March, for which the women are asking for support in their battle against police secrecy – see here for details on the hearing.

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