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Police spies: awareness campaign launched


Lush, #spycops, national campaign, The public inquiry’s Chair ‘is making the inquiry more secretive and is granting the police anonymity in secret hearings’.

From 31 May to 18 June 2018, Police Spies Out of Lives and Lush will be hosting a national campaign to raise awareness of the ongoing undercover policing scandal, where officers infiltrated the lives, homes and hearts and beds of activists.

Lush UK shops, social channels and will be supporting the already active #spycops conversation and aims to highlight the current lack of progress of the Undercover Policing Inquiry and the granting of anonymity to key police witnesses.

Mark Kennedy, for example, was an undercover policeman who had been sent to spy on Lisa’s circle of activist friends.

For seven years, as the Guardian reported in 2015, he had adopted a fake persona to infiltrate environmental groups. Their unmasking of him kickstarted a chain of events that has exposed one of the state’s most deeply concealed secrets.

Back then, the public knew little about a covert operation that had been running since 1968. Only a limited number of senior police officers knew about it.

Kennedy was one of more than 100 undercover officers who, over four decades, had pretended to be fake campaigners, sometimes for years at a time, insinuating themselves into political groups and gathering information about protests that they even helped to organise.

By 2015 more than 10 women had discovered that they had relationships, some lasting years, with undercover policemen, some of whom were married, without being told their true identity.

And they still, now, have no idea why they were chosen to be the target girlfriends.

The Metropolitan Police apologised to some of the women targeted in this way in November 2015, and more recently admitted that these relationships were an abuse of their human rights, including Article 3: ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’.

This campaign seeks to inform the public about the ways in which officers from some controversial, and extremely secretive, police units, e.g. the Special Demonstration Squad, or SDS, ‘crossed the line’ during their undercover deployments.

Secret undercover policing units have been functioning in the UK since 1968. Their roles were to infiltrate political groups and collect ‘intelligence’ about planned demonstrations and the individuals involved. There is evidence that these units are still running.

A powerful but short (90-second) campaign film has also been released, illustrating just one of the ways in which these officers abused their positions – initiating long-term, sexual relationships with people they had been sent to spy on.

One of the women who was deceived in this way, ‘Jessica’, said: “We need to know the truth about these secret units and what they did.

“How many women and men were deceived into sexual relationships with married, manipulative, liars who were only there to spy on them, their friends and family?

“How many more miscarriages of justice did they commit?

“How many more grieving families did they spy on during the worst moments of their lives?

“How many workers’ lives were damaged by illegal blacklisting, with the collusion of these units?

“How many dead babies’ identities did they steal?

“It’s fantastic to have Lush backing the campaign for justice for the victims.”

Andrea‘, another of the women deceived by the spycops, said: “As victims of abusive undercover policing we are dismayed by the current situation with the inquiry.

“So far, £10.5 million of public money has been spent on what seems like a vastly expensive cover up.

“We have lost years of our lives due to the harm caused by these undercover police officers.

“We want to know which groups were spied on, the names of the officers who infiltrated our lives and we want to access those secret files which are held on us.

“There can be no healing without truth.”

And Rebecca Lush, Charitable Giving Coordinator at Lush and an environmental activist, said: “When Theresa May launched this public inquiry we all hoped that the truth about this scandal would finally be exposed and that the disgraceful police tactics would be examined.

“Instead, the public inquiry Chair is making the inquiry more secretive and is granting the police anonymity in secret hearings.

“It is time the Home Secretary listened to the victims and appointed a diverse panel to hear the full evidence.”

Lush staff will be asking customers to add their support by signing a postcard to the new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, urging him to:

INSTRUCT a panel of experts to assist the Chair;

EXTEND the inquiry to include Scotland;

DISCLOSE the cover names of the officers, the names of the groups they spied on; and to

RELEASE the personal files of the victims.

To sign the online petition, please click here.

The campaign is now live, with displays in the windows of over 100 Lush stores across the UK, and supporting material online, and you can follow it on Twitter via #spycops.

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