Call for demo as police seek secrecy in undercover relationships human rights case

When? 10 am Friday 23rd June (the hearing will start at 10.30am in court 5)
Where? Employment  Appeal Tribunal (EAT) located in Fleetbank House, Salisbury Square,  London, EC4Y 8JX
What about? Showing public support for a woman’s fight to outlaw the abusive and chilling practice of undercover cops deceiving women into intimate relationships
Who should come? Anyone who cares about or right to participate in social justice campaigning without fear of abuse at the hands of the state

Kate Wilson is one of the women, whose stories of their abusive relationships with undercover police, have shocked the nation. She is taking what might be a unique case against the Metropolitan Police concerning the abuse of her human rights when she was deceived into a long term intimate relationship with Mark Kennedy, an undercover officer infiltrating social and environmental justice groups. It is being held at the Investigatory Powers tribunal, the secretive court that oversees complaints about the states covert intrusion into our lives.

There is a demo called before a case hearing, where the police are applying to have the whole case heard in secret, meaning Kate or her solicitors would not be able to attend the hearings, argue her case in court, hear or contest any of the police’s evidence, or even hear a reasoned judgement at its conclusion.

It is essential that such appalling abuse of Kate’s and other women’s human rights is challenged, and that this is done in the open, so the truth about what happened can come out, and the public can be reassured that it is being dealt with properly and accountably. Relationships are one of the most profoundly disturbing tools of social control so far unearthed as part of the decades-long activity of undercover units. It is essential that people are able to participate in social and environmental justice campaigning without fear of such abuse.

This case is the first time the Police have had to answer human rights claims about their undercover officers’ deception of women into intimate relationships. Kate is in an almost unique position to be able to do this, and it is possibly our best opportunity yet to force changes in the laws that oversee undercover policing.

Public outrage at the treatment of women at the hands of the police has meant that they have not been able to sweep these cases under the carpet, and it is essential that we continue to show our support for and solidarity with these brave women holding the state to account.

Come to the demo to show your support! Come into the court hearing itself at 11am, and show the Judge the level of public interest.

If you can’t make it, then make noise on social media – talk about it to your friends, or write to your MP. We must keep up the public pressure and hold the state to account.

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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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Women spied on in Scotland, demand full investigation

openthefilesWomen we support, who were targeted for undercover relationships, have been speaking out bravely about being targeted in Scotland, and criticising the very limited investigations into the role of English Undercover Officers in Scotland.

Pitchford made the controversial decision not to extend the Inquiry into Undercover Policing to Scotland. The ensuing review, commissioned by the Scottish Government is extremely limited (only going back to 2000), and there appears to be links between HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) who are doing the reviewing, and the SDS & NPOIU.

Alison” speaking to Scotland on Sunday, expressed concerns over trips Jenner made to Scotland with her that will not be examined by a review set up by the Scottish Government.

“I just don’t understand the thinking of the Scottish review,” Alison said. “It makes you wonder if there is stuff they don’t want to uncover. By only going back to 2000, they’re writing huge chunks out of the story.”

Andrea“, speaking to the Scottish Sunday Herald said she made four visits north of the border with Neri, who she described as a “sociopath”. “Andrea” and “Alison” believe Neri and Jenner were being paid by the police every time they made a trip.

Criticising Pitchford’s decision to not extend the Public Inquiry into undercover policing to Scotland, “Andrea” said “I think it is absolute nonsense,” she said. “We know they were all active in Scotland.” She also criticised the HMIC review of undercover policing in Scotland: “It’s box-ticking exercise and serves no purpose.”

The targeting of women for relationships by undercover officers has been recognised as an abuse of their human rights, and this needs to be investigated wherever it happened. The use of undercover police against social justice and environmental campaigners is political policing, and needs to be halted immediately, and the files to be opened and investigated where ever this abuse of democracy has occurred.

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Helen Steel issues statement as former partner confirmed as undercover officer

PRESS RELEASE for immediate release

  • Undercover Policing Inquiry has named John Dines as an undercover police officer
  • Helen Steel has issued a statement in response. It is contained here

HSAustThe Undercover Policing Inquiry (1) has named John Dines as an undercover police officer (2), the third officer confirmed in recent weeks (3). John Dines was the long term partner of Helen Steel (4), who until recently was suing (5) the police, with seven other women who had been deceived into relationships with undercover officers.

It was Helen’s search for John Barker, after he had disappeared from her life, which revealed he was John Dines, an undercover officer. This is only being confirmed by the Inquiry now. Despite settling her legal action with a comprehensive apology (6), the police have until now refused to admit that John Dines was an undercover officer, relying on their ‘policy’ of ‘neither confirm nor deny’ (7).

Helen Steels Statement:

“While I welcome the official admission that my former partner John Dines was an undercover policeman in the Special Demonstration Squad, it is a travesty that the police have been allowed to take this long to confirm what I and others exposed years ago.  Even after they issued a public apology for serious human rights abuses to myself and six other women who had been deceived into relationships with undercover policemen, the police still argued they could not confirm the identity of my abuser.  To date, despite that apology, they have also refused to confirm the identity of Mark Jenner who deceived ‘Alison’ into a five year relationship.  We and other women similarly deceived have had no disclosure at all about how these abusive relationships were allowed to happen, instead we have been subjected to intrusive demands for evidence of the effects of the abuse.  None of those responsible for this abuse have been held to account – even those still employed by the police have kept their jobs.  

It is an insult to the many victims of political undercover policing that the police who are responsible for serious human rights abuses have been allowed to cover up the truth and withhold information from those they abused.  The public inquiry should release as a matter of urgency the cover names of all these political police and also the files they compiled on campaigners, so that those spied on are able to understand what happened and give relevant evidence to the inquiry.  

We know that over a thousand campaign groups have been spied upon by these political undercover policing units.  This represents a significant interference with the right to political freedom of thought and the right to protest.  Ultimately it is a means for those who hold power to preserve the status quo and prevent social change.  For this reason it is in the public interest for the cover names of all the political undercover police to be released, along with the files they compiled so that those who have abused their power can be held to account, the public learns the true extent of this political spying in this country and further human rights abuses by such units can be prevented.”

—statement ends—

Key background links

1)    https://www.ucpi.org.uk/

2)   The Undercover Policing Inquiry confirmed him as an officer today on 20th December 2016.

3)    Carlo Neri and Marco Jacobs were also recently confirmed as undercover officers (see Guardian report). They had also previously been identified by activists as an undercover police officer, and are also the subject of legal actions against the police. The police have as yet failed to admit that Mark Jenner was an undercover officer. He had a relationship with ‘ Alison’, one of the seven other women who took the legal action against the police with Helen Steel.

4)    Helen Steel was one of the eight women who had a high profile case against the Metropolitan Police for being deceived into relationships with undercover officers

5)    The legal action against the Metropolitan Police involved claims of deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office and negligence

6)    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. Other civil cases being brought against the police over undercover policing continue.

7)    The police say that they have a ‘policy’ of ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ (NCND) in relation to undercover officers. If anyone asks whether one of their officers is an undercover, they reply with words to the effect of “We can neither confirm nor deny that X person was an undercover officer”. NCND doesn’t have any legal standing, or even appear to be a proper policy. Despite this, and despite the very serious nature of the many allegations against undercover units, the police are seeking to in the Inquiry see Secrets beyond lies briefing. Helen Steel herself demolished NCND at the hearing about restriction orders and secrecy in the Inquiry into Undercover Policing – for a transcript see here.

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No faith in new undercover policing guidelines

Eigwhere we standht women who were affected by relationships with undercover officers, and who started Police Spies Out of Lives, have issued the following statement in response to the new guidelines for undercover policing issued by the College of Policing. These guidelines are out for consultation until midnight Wednesday 10th August 2016.

It is only through the actions of women such as ourselves, political activists, whistleblowers and journalists that abusive undercover relationships have been exposed, the police would have covered them up forever if they could get away with it – as witnessed by their continuing stance of ‘neither confirm nor deny‘ in the face of all the evidence and despite the serious abuses committed.

  • We have no faith that the measures proposed by the College of Policing will stop further human rights abuses;
  • There are no circumstances in which the use of undercover intimate sexual relationships are justified;
  • The use of such relationship amounts to institutional sexism and serious sexual violation;
  • There is no excuse for abuse and that those who commit or sanction such abuse should be subject to prosecution;
  • The infiltration of political movements is an affront to any decent society and represents an interference with the right to freedom of expression and assembly; and that within this context undercover relationships have a particularly harmful affect on the ability of women to exercise these rights.

We will do our best to ensure that the Public Inquiry brings to light the true extent of the abuses committed by these political policing units and that action is taken to prevent the abuses from ever happening again.”

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