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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 November 2015

Police finally own up to spies' relationships with target women

Silhouette, photo by Lauren Mitchell (Creative Commons)

Silhouette, photo by Lauren Mitchell (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Lois Austin, Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance

The Metropolitan Police have finally apologised to seven women who undercover officers had intimate relationships with under false pretences.

This is a massive victory. Up until now, police have said they can neither confirm nor deny that relationships actually took place. They have now owned up, apologised and offered an out-of-court settlement.

Environmental activists, trade unionists, socialists and others have been victims. The Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance brings all these people together. It has led the fight for a full public investigation.

Victory

This is our second major victory. Earlier this year, we pressured Tory Home Secretary Theresa May into making the Home Office a core participant in a promised inquiry.

But while the apology is hugely welcome, it does not go far enough.

The Met has said that individual officers, members of the now-rebranded Special Demonstrations Squad, overstepped their remit. The unit liaised with MI5 and was part of political police agency Special Branch, now merged into 'Counter Terrorism Command'.

It was not just a few 'bad apples'. All officers had the same cover story and initiated relationships in the same way. They extricated themselves in the same way: by feigning a mental breakdown.

There was a pattern. They were obviously trained.

At least one of these relationships lasted as long as nine years. One officer had two children with a woman - who only found out 24 years later the father was an undercover spy. And there are still women with outstanding legal claims.

We demand the public inquiry make all documents surrounding these cases open.

And we want heads to roll. We demand to know who was in charge of the Special Demonstrations Squad. We want to know what police commissioners knew about it. We want to know who at the Home Office was responsible for its policy, and what other politicians knew about it.

It is inconceivable that home secretaries such as Labour's Jack Straw had no part in spying on groups such as Youth Against Racism in Europe, active during his tenure in the 1990s.

We call for democratic accountability of communities over policing. The Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance is also asking trade unions, campaign groups, student unions and others to affiliate and join the fight against political policing.

To affiliate, and for details on upcoming protests and lobbies, see http://campaignopposingpolicesurveillance.com

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In The Socialist 25 November 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Back doctors' strikes

Stop the Tories' war on Syria

Autumn statement: bonanza for bosses, pain for us

Police finally own up to spies' relationships with target women

Transgender woman dies after spiteful courts pick men's prison

'Antibiotic apocalypse': profit system holds back research

Sun's racist lie about Muslim support for terror

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

Socialist change not climate change


International socialist news and analysis

Bombing Syria won't stop Isis

Dictatorship's methods still reign in 'democratic' Chile

Myanmar: electoral defeat for the military, renewed class struggle ahead


Workplace news and analysis

Trade Union Momentum launched to organise to defend Corbyn

Lambeth library workers' wildcat strike

"I'm voting for Roger because I believe we need change in our union"

Steelworkers demand government action to Save Our Steel

Firefighters rally to defend pay and conditions

Solidarity with sacked BT worker

Protest demands reinstatement of John Vasey

Workplace news in brief


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Tory MP made me sick with tax credit cut lies

Transgender access to healthcare is worsened by cuts


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Waltham Forest march demands homes for all

Fire cuts cost lives

Save Dorothy Lucy centre


 

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Related links:

Policing:

triangleProtesting is not terrorism

triangleSecret police infiltration of workers' movement exposed

trianglePressure needed to force secret police disclosure

triangleLondon: COPS trade union conference

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Resist political policing - no to spy cops!

Women:

triangleShocking increase in domestic violence killings

triangleLockdown increases domestic violence calls - Tory money a drop in the ocean

triangleCoronavirus and domestic violence: a double threat to women's lives

triangleChildcare - costly, inadequate and hard work

Police:

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Jack Straw:

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triangleHow Blairism sank its claws into the Labour Party

Youth Against Racism in Europe:

triangleSocialists defend Lush ad campaign against spy cops

MI5:

triangleHistory: Alice Wheeldon - an anti-war socialist persecuted by the state

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