Woman was tricked into relationship with undercover police officer until 2015 – four years AFTER conduct of Met Police moles was made public, ‘spy cops’ inquiry hears
- Police officers went undercover to infiltrate political and social campaign groups
- Dozens of women were ‘deceived’ into relationships as far back as 1985
- But details of police mole operations began to emerge in 2011 via whistleblowers
- Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) heard one such relationship ended in 2015, four years after tactics became public
A woman was deceived into a relationship with an undercover police officer until as recently as 2015, a public inquiry has heard.
Phillippa Kaufmann QC made an opening statement to the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) today on behalf of 21 women tricked into relationships with police spies.
She said that 18 were sexual relationships, two were friendships that were sexual at times, and the other was a long-term, close friendship.
The earliest began in 1985 and the most recent ended in 2015, four years after details of undercover tactics began to be made public and sparked outrage.
Details of the conduct of police moles began to emerge in 2011, after environmental activists discovered that a man called Mark Kennedy was a police spy.
A woman was deceived into a relationship with an undercover police officer until as recently as 2015, four years after the Met Police’s ‘spy cops’ became public, an inquiry has heard
Former Met officer Peter Francis also turned whistleblower about his time in the force’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS).
Ms Kaufmann told the inquiry there are probably more women who do not know that they were involved with police spies.
‘It’s very likely that there are other women who have yet to discover they were affected,’ she said.
‘The inquiry itself has led to a number of women, including six of those that I represent, discovering that relationships which they always believed to be significant and genuine were, in fact, police infiltrations.
‘There may be other women in the same position who don’t know that. The extensive anonymity granted by the inquiry to officers, including of their cover names, means that these women will continue to be denied the truth.’
So far, inquiry chairman Sir John Mitting has ruled that the cover names of 51 officers must remain secret, along with 119 of the real names of officers and staff.
There are more than 30 women identified as having been deceived into relationships, and their lawyers claim officers becoming involved with campaigners was a deliberate tactic.
Phillippa Kaufmann QC made an opening statement to the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) today on behalf of 21 women tricked into relationships with police spies
‘The accumulation of cases raises a pressing question,’ Ms Kaufmann said.
‘Are these really all instances of individual officers acting beyond their authority, or is the pursuit of intimate relationships with women a deliberate tactic?
‘The women strongly believe there are too many similarities between their cases, and too many instances of undercover officers having relationships, for the Metropolitan Police to maintain the position that it has adopted to date, that these relationships resulted from a lack of supervision, they weren’t known about, they weren’t acquiesced to by more senior officers.’
She told the inquiry that the targeting of political and social campaign groups in this way was ‘out of all proportion’ to the devastation that it caused to the women involved, and that they had been treated as ‘mere objects’.
The tactic was inherently sexist because women could fall pregnant, or could lose their childbearing years to a relationship with a police spy, the inquiry heard.
The mammoth investigation was set up in 2015 by then-home secretary Theresa May after a series of disclosures about undercover tactics.
It is looking at two units – the Metropolitan Police SDS which existed between 1968 and 2008, and the undercover section of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), which existed between 1999 and 2010.
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