Courageous Jessica makes statement

Today, there have been shocking revelations about Andy Coles (deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire, and Tory councillor for Cambridge [2]) being an undercover officer known as ‘Andy “Van” Davey’. He, like so many other officers that have been uncovered [3], had an abusive relationship with a female activist while undercover. That activist, known as ‘Jessica’, has only recently discovered the truth, and is today courageously speaking out and releasing her own statement about their abusive relationship. For the full text of the statement, go here.

‘Jessica’ was a young (19 years old) animal rights campaigner when she was targeted in 1992 by Andy Coles and had a relationship with him. In this statement she talks about feeling groomed:  “I look back now and realise I was naive, idealistic,  unsophisticated and a very young 19. Appallingly I also now know my  “boyfriend” was a 32 year old, married undercover policeman working for  the Special Demonstration Squad. I had believed him to be about 24 at the time. I attended my first demonstration at 14 years old, I am just grateful I never met him then”.

She also explains how the experience of finding out she had been abused by a police officer has affected her: “This has been one of the most stressful times I have ever known: my life as I knew it was a lie. One of the people that I trusted most never existed.  I can’t look back at those times in the same way now. I can’t trust my judgement, because I got things so wrong. I am now beginning to look at people I know differently. I can’t even feel that I’m being paranoid, because it’s justified.”

In her own words, “This is a story that has to be told, has to be prevented from happening again. I am not the first person to go through this, and unfortunately, I will not be the last. We don’t know the full scale of the abuse at the hands of the undercover police. “

Background for editors

1] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/12/cambridgeshire-deputy-police-commissioner-facing-calls-to-resign-over-spy-allegations;  channel four news: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obyJPByHgNE
2] http://www.cambridgeshire-pcc.gov.uk/the-commissioner/the-commisioners-deputy/
3] https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/our-stories/
4] Profile of Andy Coles http://powerbase.info/index.php/Andy_Coles
5] Story of how Andy Coles was undercovered as an undercover officer: http://undercoverresearch.net/2017/05/12/finding-andy

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Lisa speaking out this week

Centre for Women’s Justice: South-West of England launch event
University of West of England Bristol 20 April 2017: 9.45 – 5.30

This week Lisa will be talking publicly about being deceived into an intimate relationship by an undercover cop, and her fightback for truth and accountability from the police.

Her talk will be part of the Centre for Women’s Justice South-West of England launch event.  The Centre for Women’s Justice is a new Charity which aims to advance the human rights of women and girls in England and Wales by:
(1) Holding the state to account for failures to prevent violence against women and girls
(2) Challenging discrimination against women and girls in the criminal justice system

This event will bring together survivors, activists, women’s sector groups, academics and others concerned with violence against women and girls to explore with lawyers how to hold the state to account and challenge discrimination within the criminal justice system.

Lisa is one of eight women who were deceived by undercover police officers in intimate relationships. They worked as a collective to battle against police obstruction tactics achieve a historic victory and public apology from the Metropolitan police

Lisa will talk as part of the programme called: “Up against it:  Survivors and activists and their legal cases” which will be chaired by Harriet Wistrich, Lisa’s lawyer in her battles against the police, and the founder of the Centre for Women’s Justice.

To book a place at this event, go to http://centreforwomensjustice.org.uk/events-page/bristol2017/

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Alison speaking as part of International Women’s day event

Alison is speaking about her experiences being targeted for an intimate relationship by undercover officer Mark Jenner. Her speech will form part of the International Women’s Day meeting:

WOMEN AGAINST THE STATE by Unite London & Eastern Region, WEDNESDAY 8 MARCH 6pm. This is a free event, but you need to book a ticket here.

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The extensive undercover policing scandal was first revealed by Alison and other women who discovered their former partners were undercover officers. It seems the majority of undercover officers had deceitful relationships while undercover. These relationships shored-up the cover-stories of the officers, and the extensive pattern of abuse reveals institutional sexism within the Metropolitan Police and other police forces.

Alison, along with other women affected, have formed part of the fight back against the infiltration of social justice campaigning groups. Her legal action, with seven other women, led to an historic apology by the Metropolitan Police, where they admitted that they had abused their human rights.

They admitted “officers, acting undercover whilst seeking to infiltrate protest groups, entered into long-term intimate sexual relationships with women which were abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong” and that “these relationships were a violation of the women’s human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma”.

Alison and the other women are now core participants in the Undercover Policing Inquiry, which is still in its preliminary stages, two years in. Other core participants include the Lawrence family, who were spied on by police when they were campaigning for justice for their son, and trades union activists who were put on an employment blacklist by the police for their political activities.

It is women like Alison bravely speaking out that have started to reveal the true extent of this political policing scandal which spans nearly 60 years. We highly recommend that you take this opportunity to hear her speak.

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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’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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