Judgment entered against police in undercover relationships case (UK)
On Friday 15th January 2016, the Metropolitan Police withdrew their defence in a case brought against them over undercover police relationships. In a significant development at the High Court, the police asked for judgment to be entered against them in respect of the claims for deceit, assault/battery, misfeasance in public office and negligence.
The claim had been brought by Kate Wilson, who was deceived into a 2-year relationship with undercover officer Mark Kennedy. The successful claim states that supervising officers had been negligent and had acted improperly in causing or allowing the relationship to happen.
The implication of this judgment is that the actions of Mark Kennedy “were undertaken with the express or tacit knowledge of other police officers employed by [the Metropolitan Police]”. Supervising and managing officers “knew that [Mark Kennedy] was abusing the power that he was given as an undercover police officer”, and their failure to act on this knowledge was “unlawful and in abuse of their own duties as supervisors and managers of [Mark Kennedy’s] undercover activities.”
Another implication of the judgment is that in circumstances where the police chose to use secret operations like these, they have a duty of care to the private individuals affected and are liable for any damage caused by their negligence. This may have important implications for future cases brought against them for their abusive undercover operations.
The judgment goes beyond even the historic apology issued by the Metropolitan Police in November to Kate Wilson’s fellow claimants, where the force acknowledged that undercover officers “had entered into long-term intimate sexual relationships with women which were abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong.”
However, despite this court victory for the women, concerns remain at the police’s lack of disclosure after a four-year court battle, raising further questions about their cooperation with the upcoming Public Inquiry Into Undercover Policing, and the power of that Inquiry to robustly uncover the truth.
Kate Wilson said:
“The police had already unequivocally accepted that the relationships were wrong. It is now clear that wrongdoing goes far beyond the individual undercover officers. Yet we are denied access to any information about the extent of the intrusion into our lives, who knew and how far up the hierarchy it went.
“The police’s decision not to defend the claim is clearly motivated by a determination to avoid disclosure of documents relating to the undercover operations, at any cost. Alongside recent revelations that they are unlawfully destroying files, it makes you wonder what further horrors they are really trying to hide.
“How many more women may have been affected by these abuses? How many more children may have been fathered by these undercover officers? It is clear the police are not going to come clean. The only way there can be real justice is if the Inquiry releases the cover names and opens the files so that these women can come forward themselves.”
A. Known undercover cops
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).
1. 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’.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. According to another source DS Maria Smith was head of NPOIU in 2006.
10. Also: Chief Supt Mitchell (do not have first name) was the line manager for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit in 2001.
This entry was posted on Friday, January 29th, 2016 at 2:21 pm and is filed under Social Control.