Today, the Metropolitan Police issued a contrite apology to those women deceived by undercover police officers who had adopted false identities and formed sexual and marital relationships, purely to gain information about political activities. The women were cynically used, abused and basically raped. Nor can the police say what happened was an aberration: several of the spycops had relationships with activists and one officer had more than one relationship, while two of the officers fathered children. Hence, there was a pattern that suggests a deliberate strategy, approved from above. In time, the abused women took legal action that saw undisclosed compensation awarded to seven of the eight women, with the proviso that no further action would be taken against the police. But that proviso does not apply to anyone else – journalists, researchers, etc. Consequently, below, we name and provide the details of not only all the officers involved, who must certainly be held to account, but, most importantly, their supervisors too, who presumably gave approval to their subordinates’ activities. There is also the matter of a legal challenge against the CPS’ ruling not to prosecute the spycops…
(For Part 2 of this article (CPS intervened at every stage to ensure no spycop was prosecuted: the evidence) click here.)
Note: the sections on Bob Lambert and Belinda Harvey been updated and a new section on ‘Jacqui’ has been added.
To see today’s Metropolitan Police apology – click here.
Back in August, 2014, the Crown Prosecution Service ruled that there was insufficient evidence to bring against the undercover police officers who had formed relationships with the women. The judgement was flawed in many aspects. One aspect clearly stands out more than others: that of consent. Consensual sex can only truly be consensual if the persons participating are not doing so under pretence – e.g. adopting a false identity – in order to gain (in this case, information). That CPS ruling needs to be re-examined in every aspect and the cases reviewed and other cases – e.g. that of the supervisors – examined too.
One analysis of the CPS decision quotes from a legal expert: “I do think they [the police officers] should have been charged and prosecuted for these activities. The women would clearly not have consented to sex had they known the men were undercover police officers. I think there is a level of deception in these cases which raises them above the ‘I love you’ sort of deception [where someone pretends to in love to convince someone else to have sex with them].”
The question of consent and undercover policing is examined in detail by lawyer Ben Fitzpatrick. His conclusions – see below – suggest a legal challenge to the CPS ruling may well be required (perhaps by an NGO?):
- It is possible, particularly in the light of recent developments in the caselaw, that the undercover status of the officer affects the free choice of the complainant such as to negative consent as partially defined in s. 74 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
- It is doubtful whether the undercover status of the officer changes the ‘nature’ of the act such as to (i) vitiate consent for the purposes of the common law (relevant to pre-2003 Act undercover behaviour) or (ii) trigger the conclusive presumptions regarding lack of consent and lack of belief in consent for the purposes of s. 76 of the 2003 Act.
- It is possible that the undercover status of the officer involves a deception as to the purpose of the act, which could trigger the conclusive presumptions under s. 76 of the 2003 Act. This would not apply, of course, to behaviour which took place prior to the coming into force of the 2003 Act.
- It is possible that the undercover status of the officer involves a deception as to identity which would vitiate consent at common law.
- It is questionable, given the statutory language, whether the undercover status of the officer involves an impersonation of a person known personally to the complainant, such as to trigger the conclusive presumptions under s. 76 of the 2003 Act.
A. The undercover police officers (spycops):
The following 10 people were employed as undercover police officers, whose remit was basically to spy on political/environmental protesters, using any means possible. There may be many more individuals not yet identified (it is believed that more than 1200 police officers are involved in undercover operations in the UK). All those named below should be held accountable and subject to justice (regardless of any ‘agreement’ by the Pitchford Inquiry).
1. Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy’s undercover name was Mark Stone. He spent seven years undercover, from 2003 until his exposure in October 2010. He worked with groups such as Dissent!, Rising Tide, Saving Iceland, Workers’ Solidarity Movements, Rossport Solidarity, Climate Camp, Climate Justice Action and others. He worked undercover in Ireland, Germany, Spain, Denmark, France, the USA, Italy, and Iceland, amongst other places. His exposure led to demands in many of those countries for official information about his activities. Kennedy had a six year relationship with one of his ‘targets’. He also had an eight month relationship with another ‘target’, whom he continued to befriend for another five years. A third ‘target’ saw a relationship that lasted three years; (See also Mark Kennedy: A mole in Tarnac (France & Euro-wide ops).)
2. Bob Robinson (Robert/Bob Lambert)
Lambert infiltrated London Greenpeace and the Animal Liberation Front from 1984-88. He had sexual relationships with four women while he infiltrated animal rights and environmental groups between 1984 and 1988. His relationship with one of his ‘targets’ lasted 18 months. He also had a relationship with another “target” that lasted four years, during which time Lambert fathered a child (for more on this, see Jacqui’s story, below.) Lambert was accused in parliament by Caroline Lucas MP of participating in an arson attack on a department store. Later Lambert was promoted to Head of Operations in the Special Demonstration Squad. The outing of Bob Lambert, MBE, took place after the former Detective Inspector had just spoken at an anti-racist conference in London. He was challenged by five members of London Greenpeace, who called on him to apologise for the undercover police infiltration of London Greenpeace, Reclaim The Streets and other campaign groups – an operation he took part in or supervised over two decades, whilst rising to the rank of Detective Inspector and taking charge of the Special Demonstrations Squad. Lambert helped in the conviction of two activists from the Animal Liberation Front, who had been charged with planting incendiary devices in branches of Debenhams in protest at the sale of fur in July1987. After leaving the police Lambert ran the Muslim Contact Unit, a Scotland Yard department. Later he worked as a lecturer at Exeter and St Andrews universities. He is currently a lecturer at London Metropolitan University.
3. Jim Sutton (Andrew James Boyling)
Boyling infiltrated Reclaim the Streets from 1995-2000. He formed a relationship with a “target” for 18 months, before he disappeared, then resurfaced a year later, admitting to the woman that he was a police officer. He had another relationship over nine years with an activist: they married and Sutton fathered two children. He and his ‘target’ divorced in 2009.
4. John Barker (John Dines)
Dines infiltrated a number of groups including London Greenpeace and squatting groups between 1987 and 1992. He had a two year relationship with one of his “targets”. (Incidentally his adopted name was coincidentally the name of one of those accused of being a member of the insurgent group, Angry Brigade.)
5. Lynn Watson
Based in Leeds, from 2003-08, Watson infiltrated numerous environmental, anti-capitalist and peace groups: Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp, UK Action Medics Collective, Drax Climate Camp, Dissent! and others.
6. Mark Cassidy (Mark Jenner)
Jenner infiltrated the Colin Roach Centre, the Building Workers Group, Hackney Community Defence Association and, allegedly, Anti-Fascist Action and Red Action between 1995 and 2000. He had a five-year relationship with a woman now known publicly as ‘Alison’. Note: Bob Lambert was his boss.
7. Simon Wellings
Wellings was exposed after five years with the group Globalise Resistance (2001-05) when he accidentally phoned an activist friend whilst discussing photos of and information on the group with officers at a police station.
8. Peter Daley/Pete Black (Peter Francis)
Francis infiltrated anti-racist and anti-road campaigns between 1993 and 1997 and slept with two activists during that time. He was in Special Branch before joining the Special Demonstration Squad, where he used the identity of a four-year old who had died of leukaemia as his cover. His real name is unknown, but he went to the press with stories of his time as an undercover officer in March 2010, before the exposure of Mark Kennedy in October.
9. Rod Richardson
Richardson infiltrated anti-capitalist and hunt saboteur groups, in particular working with groups protesting against political summits such as the G20. He went abroad to Sweden, France and Italy at various times.
10. Mark/Marco Jacobs
Jacobs operated from 2004 to 2009 and infiltrated anarchist, anti-militarist and migration campaigns. He travelled abroad to Germany and France (on a number of occasions with Mark Kennedy).
B. Undercover police supervisors
The undercover officers with whom the women had relationships were employed by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). Four of these officers worked within the MPS’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). Other officer worked within the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU).
(Note: most of the following is courtesy of PowerBase.)
- Detective Chief Inspector Richard May: described in newspaper articles as Mark Kennedy‘s boss while at the NPOIU. He is noted for confirming to French police that the NDEU had intelligence related to the Tarnac case, which is thought to have come from Kennedy’s attendance at a 2008 meeting of European anarchists in France. However, he also told police that the ‘source of this intelligence will never be revealed and no formal statements will be provided’.
- ACC Anton Setchell was the National Coordinator Domestic Extremism, with rank of Assistant Chief Comissioner, answering to ACPO from July 2004 to November 2010. Setchell was on secondment from Thames Valley Police, where he had previously organised policing at the biotech lab being targeted by the SPEAK campaign. He subsequently became head of Global Security for the infrastructure and services company, Laing O’Rourke.
- DCS Adrian Tudway had served as deputy to Anton Setchell from January 2010; in November 2010 he was appointed Setchell’s successor as National Coordinator Domestic Extremism, though at the rank of Detective Chief Superintendent. He would oversee the merger of the different units into the National Domestic Extremism Unit, remaining as its head until replaced by Greany. He was later seconded to the Home Office.
- DCS Christopher Greany replaced Adrian Tudway as head of the National Domestic Extremism Unit in March 2012. In 2010 he was appointed head of counter terrorism for City of London Police and in 2011 led Operation Withern, which investigated crimes committed during the London Riots of 2011. DCS Greany oversaw the transformation of the NDEU into the NDEDIU, remaining as head of the latter. Towards the end of September 2014 he left NDEDIU and was promoted to Commander, heading up the National Police Coordination Centre.
- Ronnie Liddle was ACPO ACC for Counter Terrorism, December 2012 – February 2014. Based at the Metropolitan Police, he was co-ordinator of ‘UK Counter Terrorism functions and operations’, part of his remit included ‘Responsibility for National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit, including business engagement’. However, it is noted that during this period he was actually seconded to the Terrorism and Allied Matters Committee within ACPO, which indicates that ACPO was still overseeing the NDEDIU, despite its transfer to the Metropolitan Police.
- Melvyn Young: Deputy National Coordinator Domestic Extremism (NCDE), September 2004 to September 2009. Prior to this he had been with specialist operations & major crime at Thames Valley Police. From October 2009 he was Global Head Extremism and Risk for Novartis and their Deputy Head for Global Security in January 2012, remaining there until June 2013. It is of note that another NDET officer, Jim Sheldrake, also joined Novartis’ Issues and Risk Communications Team in April 2010. This was one month after the NDEU set up a sting, with the complicity of Novartis, that resulted in the jailing of SHAC activist Debbie Vincent, whereby a member of the unit, ‘James Adams’ posed as an executive of Novartis, meeting Ms Vincent in the company of Novartis’ Head of Global Security, Andrew Jackson.
- Marc Vincent: Deputy Head of NDEU, Oct 2008-Sept 2012; since October 2014 he was Assistant Inspector with HM Inspectorate of Constabulary. From January 2003 to January 2007, he was Head of Special Branch for Lancashire Police, before seconded to NDEU. He subsequently returned to Lancashire Constabulary as Head of Covert Policing and Authorising officer for undercover work. For three months in 2006 he was part of the national review of police forces planning, preparation and readiness to deal with terrorism and domestic extremism. In 2008-2012 he was involved in rolling out the PREVENT programe on a national level, and was the lead officer on piloting the CHANNEL Project for the Home Office.
- Supt. Steven Pearl: a Cambridgeshire officer involved in the policing of protest around Huntingdon Life Sciences. In March 2004 he established the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit, based in Huntingdon. He remained as its head until forced to retire in 2010. He has since become a director of Agenda Risk Management, which vets applicants for jobs in the animal research industry.
- According to another source DS Maria Smith was head of NPOIU in 2006.
- Also: Chief Supt Mitchell (do not have first name) was the line manager for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit in 2001.
C. Today’s statement by the eight women (courtesy of ‘Police spies out of our lives’):
Note: One of the eight women, Kate Wilson, has not settled in the case and says that she discovered a GPS tracking device attached to her car earlier this year.
In the apology issued today by Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, the Metropolitan Police finally conceded that “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”
AC Hewitt issued this public apology on behalf of the Metropolitan Police as part of the settlement of seven out of our eight claims arising from intimate relationships we were deceived into by undercover police officers Bob Lambert, John Dines, Mark Jenner, Jim Boyling (all Special Demonstration Squad officers) and Mark Kennedy (of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit), all of whom infiltrated environmental and social justice campaigns.
The apology is the result of our four-year legal battle to bring to public attention these state sponsored, deceptive relationships and to prevent future abuses. We have worked together on this painful and deeply personal legal case in order to expose the serious and systemic abuse of power by undercover police officers and their managers. Although no amount of ‘sorry’, or financial compensation, can make up for what we and others have endured, we are pleased the police have been forced to acknowledge the abusive nature of these relationships and that they should never happen.
Our relationships, spanning a period of nearly 25 years, had remained hidden until we exposed them through a series of media reports starting late in 2010. By linking our cases together we have been able to evidence a clear pattern of abusive, discriminatory behaviour towards women which amounts to institutional sexism by the Metropolitan Police.
Five years ago it would have seemed inconceivable to the public that state employees would go to such lengths, but the scale of the abuse uncovered demonstrates that this was accepted practice for many years. Other cases arising from intimate relationships are still ongoing and we are aware of more relationships yet to be publicly exposed.
While the UK purports to be a democratic country, the level of deception perpetrated by state agents seeking to undermine movements for social change is more akin to that of the Stasi in East Germany. These professionally supported relationships – some of which bore children – lasted as long as nine years and have remained hidden from the public for decades. Indeed, the police still refuse to publicly acknowledge the harm caused to the children born of and into these relationships or even bring themselves to refer to them in their apology today.
One of the key reasons we brought the case was to ensure that such relationships would not happen again. As part of the settlement, the Metropolitan Police acknowledged that “sexual relationships between undercover police officers and members of the public should not happen”, that “these cases demonstrate that there have been failures of supervision and management” and they recognised “that this should never happen again and the necessary steps must be taken to ensure that it does not.” The police also recognise that “these relationships, the subsequent trauma and the secrecy around them left these women at risk of further abuse and deception by these officers after the deployment had ended.”
Alongside this comprehensive apology, the Metropolitan Police made substantial financial settlements to seven of us, meaning we are unable to take this matter forward to open court. However, one of us is able to continue her case and the rest of us will support her and continue the fight to obtain disclosure, and to have the legal framework governing undercover policing examined by the courts.
The apology from the Metropolitan Police is a clear admission of responsibility for what happened to us, and we will now be working hard together and with others to ensure that the Public Inquiry into undercover policing is robust and transparent. Secret political policing undermines social progress for justice and equality and should have no place in our society.
D. Individual statements released by the women
These quotations from the women in the case were released for the press conference on 20th November 2015. See also Additional cases following this section.
I am known in the public domain as ‘Alison’. I had a five year relationship with Mark Jenner who was known to me as Mark Cassidy. We lived together in what I believed was a monogomous relationship for more than four of these years. I met him when he joined the Colin Roach Centre in Hackney where I was a member. The Colin Roach Centre worked to expose police corruption, to promote trade unionism and to challenge racism and fascism. Mark and I attended relationship counselling for over a year before he disappeared in Spring 2000 because I wanted children and he did not. I later discovered he was married with children throughout this time. I loved him very deeply and have suffered significant psychological damage from the experience of suspecting and then proving he was an undercover police officer.
Five years of my life, documented in photographs and videos, are tainted by the presence of a person I never really knew. The experience has eroded my confidence in my own judgement and impacted negatively on my ability to trust new people. I have a strong sense of having been violated by this relationship which to date I have been unable to resolve. Since beginning the litigation, the Metropolitan Police has maintained a position of neither confirming nor denying Mark Jenner’s identity which has aggravated the damage done to me. Answers and disclosure would help me piece together the missing parts of my life; continued obfuscation and avoidance of the truth simply prolongs the pain. I hope the public inquiry, therefore, will be robust and transparent.
I had a two year relationship with a man who called himself John Barker but who was in fact an undercover policeman called John Dines. We met through London Greenpeace and became close friends over the next three years before starting a relationship and renting a flat together. Our relationship seemed ideal and we made plans for the future and discussed starting a family. Then John followed the SDS pattern of appearing to have a breakdown and disappearing abroad.
I was left distraught and I spent years searching for him. In the course of that search I found he had been using the identity of a child who had died. The discovery that someone I thought I knew so well didn’t actually exist has had a lasting impact on my life. I spent 19 years searching for the truth, while the police took active steps to conceal it from me. It was only through Rosa that I found out the truth, her ex partner Jim Boyling had confirmed it.
I am glad that the Metropolitan Police have finally admitted that these undercover relationships are abusive and indefensible and I call on them to now come clean about political undercover policing. Through our case alone we know that these relationships spanned a period of nearly 25 years, while the vast majority of undercover officers who have been exposed by campaigners are known to have had relationships while undercover.
The public is entitled to know the true extent of these and other human rights abuses committed by undercover political policing units. To that end the police and the Public Inquiry should now release the cover names of those officers who spied on campaign groups so that those who came into contact with them can make sure the truth is heard by the Inquiry.
I’ve been active in environmental and social justice movements for over 20 years. From 2003-2005 I lived with a man calling himself Mark Stone. He not only became part of my world but also that of my parents and my brother’s family. After we separated he kept in close contact, travelling to see me even after I moved to Spain and then Germany. For 7 years I believed he was one of my closest friends and companions. In 2010 friends uncovered that he was, in fact, Mark Kennedy, a police infiltrator working for a unit that targetted political movements in the UK and abroad. The personal implications of that discovery for my life’s projects, and my sense of who I am and what I can believe, have been devastating, and I remain haunted by unanswered questions.
Even after four years of litigation, the police are still refusing to give us any disclosure. I recently made a DPA application for my police files: the response does not mention Mark or any of the 5 other police spies I now know that I have known, or the GPS tracker that I found under my car. Was I targetted for my political beliefs and they are lying to cover it up? Or am I simply “collateral intrusion” in a secret operation against political dissent, that sidelined my life, my family, my body and myself, and did not even consider it worthy of a mention in an operational authorisation? The political implications of either of those possibilities are also devastating. I am not able to discuss what occurred during our mediation proces with the police. However I can say that my courtcase will continue, and I hope that through that process, through the public inquiry, and through the amazing work of activists and whistleblowers, that we will eventually get answers.
My name is given as “Lisa” and I was in a six year relationship with Mark Kennedy. He was my closest friend, my partner and my confident for most of my 30’s. I believed him to be part of my family. I found out that he was an undercover officer whilst we were still together, and it has had a profound traumatic effect on me. I have had difficulty forming relationships ever since I discovered the truth and it will continue to have an impact on my life for years to come.
This is not simply about a man lying in a relationship, it was a deception perpetrated, overseen and supervised by the state. He had a handler that knew his every move. There were anonymous back-room faces who will have listened to our telephone conversations, read all of our intimate text messages, seen our holiday photos, may have even come along to monitor him from afar on our holidays. There were employers instructing and supporting his deception with fake I.D. and overtime paid. I welcome the fact that The Metropolitain Police have admitted responsibility for their actions, and have clearly stated that what happened to us was wrong, but no amount of money or ‘sorry’ will make up for the lack of answers about the extent to which I was spied upon in every aspect of my most personal and intimate life.
I had an eight month intense relationship with a man I knew as Mark Stone. I had been involved in social justice campaigning since I was a teenager and met Mark through a friendship network of people connected with those campaigns. During our time together we went travelling, went to my brother’s wedding and connected over a shared belief in openness and honesty. When I ended the relationship, he cried in my arms. Our close friendship over the next five years was influenced by that relationship. That all ended when I received a call five years ago to tell me that Mark Stone did not exist and was actually an undercover policeman called Mark Kennedy. He had been paid by the Metropolitan police for the seven years that I knew him to spy on me and everyone I loved. In the time since then I have struggled to reconcile my personal memories with everything I have learned about Mark Kennedy and the police force that controlled him.
I would never EVER have consented to this relationship if I knew who he was or what he was doing and why. The fact that all eight of us are here today demonstrates that this institutionalised sexism and abuse has gone on for decades.
I was in a relationship for 9 years with a man who initially introduced himself to me as fellow activist, Jim Sutton. We moved in together. Months later I weathered his mental abuse when he claimed to be suffering a breakdown, I searched for him for a year and a half when he went missing, clung to my sanity when my tracking exposed that he did not exist whilst he emailed me riddles and telling me to speak to no one. Then he walked into my work. The new tales he told me – of being the partner I knew and slept next to every night, the misunderstanding of his deployment, that he was the only one, that our country doesn’t spy on peace or green movements, of being a turncoat and needing my help to escape the police – they were more believable than the truth. The unlikely truth was this: my life partner was fabricated by the state. He never existed. I was pregnant within two weeks of his reappearance and bore children by the actor, a random police officer, who had played my partner. A stranger planted in my political movement, one of many, trained to undermine both everything I stood for and my traumatised self. He used his professional skills of deception and manipulation to try to control my feelings and actions. He had me isolated from all my friends, comrades and associates, and I lived in an abusive relationship with him. I eventually escaped to a women’s refuge with my children.
Once they have you conceive by them, they permanently have a surveillance officer placed in your life, who can never be removed as he gains legal voting rights in your family. The operation never ends. Looking at what little we have uncovered of the 100 officers deployed, I believe there are many more families and children affected. I have been damaged and traumatised for ever by my relationship with Jim Boyling. He has fathered children with me who never asked to be tainted by the extreme levels of state abuse and manipulation. Both he and his police handlers are responsible for generations of damage. The police have yet to extend this apology to my children nor even refer to them in the apology today. I am angry after all we have lived through.
Belinda met a man using the name Bob Robinson at a friend’s party in 1987. They had an intense relationship lasting over 18 months, which led her to believe they would be together for ever. However he announced he had to go on the run from the police, but he would send for her when it was safe. She never heard from him again. In August 2012 she was contacted by Helen Steel to tell her that she had found out he was really an undercover police officer called Bob Lambert.
Ruth met a man in the mid 1990s presenting himself as Jim Sutton, an activist in Reclaim the Streets. They had a deep and serious relationship lasting over 18 months. Ruth was not aware until January 2011 that Jim Sutton was really Jim Boyling, an undercover police officer. She has joined with the other eight women in working to expose the outrageous misconduct of the police, and even now, is still struggling to come to terms with the obscene level of intrusion into her personal life.
A comprehensive and very detailed account of what happened with ‘Jacqui’ and Bob Lambert can be found here via an interview in the New Yorker magazine.