Politics

Met apologises for undercover agents

A five-year late and not a sufficient apology for the loathsome and utterly shameful behaviour of the Metropolitan Police this week, now would be an appropriate time to review the job police are doing.

Scotland Yard’s Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt issued an apology on behalf of the police’s procedures of two disbanded policing intelligence units, the Special Demonstration Squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit. The apology is specifically to seven women, all of whom were affiliated heavily with protest groups, who had long-term emotional and sexual relations with undercover officers who were investigating their activities.

Mark Kennedy, Bob Lambert, John Dines, Jim Boyling and Mark Jenner all engaged in deceitful relationships between the 1980s and 2010, one of which lasted nine years. During these relationships, where the women gave their lives to state paid actors, officers attended family events including one of Mark Kennedy’s victims’ (a word I use deliberately) father’s funeral. Nauseating though is that these men in some cases had children with their victims. Need I suggest the kinds of feelings these children will have growing up knowing that their fathers were day-in-day-out liars to them and their mothers? Martin Hewitt did not once mention these children in his apology.

When Hewitt apologised, he regretted that these investigations were a “gross violation of the personal dignity and integrity” of the women involved.

Compensation to the victims is estimated at around £3 million, courtesy of the tax payer. I do not take issue with these women receiving this money,it will not even begin to redress what must be unbearable grievances held by the women. The issue lies in the fact that in this case, the taxpayer is being mugged from an increasingly slender policing budget and the sole responsibility for this lies with the police – specifically the officers involved and all parties who oversaw the activities. Therefore, the responsible individuals I firmly believe should be sentenced to imprisonment as those who carry out similar fraudulent and rape-related activities are. The fact that none of the men involved will be prosecuted shows the gross hypocrisy and inconsistencies in our laws. You can trick women into spending years of their lives with you, sharing their bed with you and having children with you by lying about who and what you are by using the identity of a dead child, and all you need to get away with it is a badge. If an average citizen were to do this, they would rightly be regarded as a disgraceful individual without any form of conscience or morality.

The state apparently will only access the extensive records of your communications if you are a suspected terrorist or paedophile Theresa May says. But they will conduct life-changing and unethical covert investigations if you so much as happen to be an animal rights or environmental activist. They will abuse your trust, your human rights (Hewitt’s word, not mine) and will make drastic changes to your life if you wish to pursue a life of campaigning for social or environmental justice. This is nothing short of a complete and deliberate disregard for privacy, for basic human decency and for freedom of association and protest on the part of those we pay to supposedly keep us safe. If the state is to retain any integrity at all at this point, it must bring swift and potent justice to those responsible, firstly and most importantly for the direct victims and secondly for the tax payer who has been utterly and undeniably robbed by the police in this instance. This is why I welcome – albeit with scepticism – Theresa May’s judge-led inquiry into such undercover activities which still continue legally.

Has the police force got to big for it’s boots? A complete overhaul must surely be in order. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), in the Police Complaints: Statistics for England and Wales 2014/15 has revealed that since 2004/05, there has not been a year with as many complaints against the police by the public as this one, and since 2013/14 there has been a 13 per cent increase in allegations of malpractice against the police – 88 per cent of these concern those in officer ranks. Per 1000 officers, 293 have received allegations of malpractice nation-wide – over 1 in 4 police officers you see, statistically, have been accused of malpractice. Some police forces across the country have as many as 580 per 1000 officers with questionable conduct. South Wales has seen a 20 per cent increase in complaints about police conduct since last year – 257 per 1000 officers in that specific force. I for one, am uncomfortable with these statistics, and as the police continue to refuse to enforce the laws that our elected officials have passed, I think the integrity and public image of the police is soon to be rapidly in decline – if it is not already.

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