‘Police spies court case suggests sexual relations with activists were routine. Lawsuit for undercover police deception indicates several officers struck up intimate relations with those they spied on’: The Guardian
Undercover police use of sexual relationships with UK female activists was part of their strategy to create credibility within different groups: ecologists, animal lovers and left wing organisations. Several fathered children, although they had their own families, and there is some evidence that they functioned as something akin to agents provocateurs, helping plan illegal activities for the protesters in which they participated but were not charged. The women involved in long term relationships with undercover agents using aliases and disappearing misteriously from their lives, were left feeling used, abused and psychologically distraught. Some of them are going to court to stop this practice.
Occupy London’s General Assembly has produced the following statement:
‘Where we stand
The women who are bringing this case, and Occupy London, believe that:
There are no circumstances in which it would be acceptable for an undercover police officer to engage in intimate relationships with either targets or members of the public under the guise of their undercover identity.
The fact that this has taken place repeatedly, despite being morally wrong and unjustifiable, shows that within the police forces in the UK there exists:
institutional sexism – women have been used to shore up undercover identities, without regard for those women’s right to a private life (whilst men have been affected, evidence so far shows that it is primarily women’s lives that have been abused in this way).
institutional prejudice against members of the public who engage in social justice and environmental campaigning, including a disregard for their human rights.
Both these forms of institutional prejudice must be challenged and stopped; each has reinforced the other.
We call for:
– a clear and unambiguous statement that the abuse has ceased, and will never, in any circumstances, be permitted
– the past to be thoroughly and openly investigated, so that the damage may be acknowledged, those responsible may be held to account, and that as a society we may come to terms with what has happened, heal the wounds that have been inflicted and be confident that the practice has ceased.
– action and change to prevent these human rights abuses from ever happening again, including stronger support for whistle-blowers and greater protection for rights of association and expression.
– Until these things happen, we have no reason to believe that these abhorrent abuses have stopped, or that the police acknowledge their actions are wrong, and that they must change.
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. We welcome allies who wish to engage with the above issues in this spirit of democratic empowerment.
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 stand in solidarity’.
See the Action Menu for those who wish to support the 8 women bringing up this case