On 25 January, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ordered the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Metropolitan Police to pay just under £230k, including payment of legal costs, to political activist Kate Wilson. This was for the breach of five of her human rights.
But justice is far from being served.
In her own words
The perpetrator of this abuse was married police officer Mark Kennedy, who used the undercover name ‘Mark Stone’. Kennedy formed a long-term and intimate relationship with Wilson, who was unaware of his police role, in order to spy on other activists.
Here is what happened to Wilson in her own words.
She also explained what happened in this video:
The police have described the sexual relationships formed by Kennedy as “abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong”, and a “gross violation of personal dignity and integrity” that “caused significant trauma”. And the
Kennedy is known to have spied on several protest groups, most of which were environmental groups. As well as England, his undercover work took place in several other countries including Scotland, Northern Ireland, Germany, Denmark, France and Iceland.
It’s believed that from 1968 to 2010 more than 1000 mainly left wing groups were spied on by “at least 144” UCOs.
Wilson believes the compensation awarded was also in regard to “how complicit Mark’s managers were, and the role of 5 other undercover officers in violating my political rights”.
Police Spies Out Of Lives (PSOOL) states how Wilson was also spied on by other undercover officers (UCOs): Jim Boyling, Jason Bishop, Rod Richardson, Lynne Watson and Marco Jacobs.
Known UCOs are also listed by the Undercover Research site and Powerbase. Names and photos of some of the UCOs are given in this video:
In 2015 the Met apologised to eight women for their abuse by UCOs and the violation of their human rights.
Role of the police supervisors
The tribunal ruled [pdf, p3]:
(i) Undercover police officer (“UCO”) Mark Kennedy (“MK”) … grossly debased, degraded and humiliated [Wilson] and interfered with her bodily integrity;
(ii) MK’s sexual relationship with the Claimant was conducted with the knowledge of his principal “cover officer”;
(iii) MK’s deployment manager, who had the rank of Detective Chief Inspector, knew or turned a blind eye to the sexual relationship;
(iv) Other senior officers of the rank of Detective Chief Inspector or above who had operational and managerial responsibility within the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (“NPOIU”) for MK’s deployment either knew of the relationship, chose not to know of its existence, or were incompetent and negligent in not following up on the clear and obvious signs that MK had formed a close personal relationship with the Claimant which might be sexual in nature;
(v) There is no evidence to support a finding that UCOs having sexual relationships was a deliberate tactic of the NPOIU. The true position is closer to being one of “don’t ask, don’t tell’. [Emphasis added]
In September 2018, journalist Rob Evans had reported that:
In papers lodged with the IPT, the police admitted that Kennedy’s cover officers and line manager “were aware that he was conducting a close personal relationship” with Wilson. They added that Kennedy’s “sexual relationship with [Wilson] was carried out with the acquiescence of his cover officers and line manager”.
Also in September 2018, The Canary revealed the names of Kennedy’s supervisors, derived from confidential police files which it had seen.
The Met previously admitted that undercover officers had “abusive and deceitful” relationships with at least 12 women, including Wilson.
As previously reported by The Canary, “over 30 women were deceived into having relationships with undercover police officers. These spies also fathered, then abandoned, children with some of the women”. More ‘spycops’ who used sex to gather intelligence have been named.
Meanwhile, PSOOL points out there are a number of civil claims currently being brought “against The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis“. Other cases are expected.
Not just history
The UCO scandal is not about history but is ongoing. As The Canary‘s Eliza Egret pointed out:
Despite the ongoing Undercover Policing Inquiry, and despite Wilson’s tribunal, the state passed the sinister Covert Human Intelligence Sources Act in 2021. The act legalises the criminal activities of undercover officers and agents working for the police, MI5, and other state agencies.
And if that isn’t horrific enough, the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is passing its final phases in parliament, will give the state extensive new powers.
Furthermore, in May 2019, the Crown Prosecution Service reportedly decided that no UCO would be prosecuted for “having non-consensual sexual relations with any member of the public”.
Wilson also commented on how the police are institutionally sexist:
I am one of many dozens of women deceived into this kind of relationship by deployed undercover police officers. They used sex with women to gather ‘intelligence’. The evidence suggests a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach by senior officers embedded in a culture of misogyny and mission creep. I have no doubt that the police are institutionally sexist.
In July 2018, 85 non-state core participants to the inquiry, including Wilson, issued a list of demands including:
full disclosure of all names – both cover and real – of officers from the disgraced political police units, accompanied by contemporaneous photographs
Feature image via YouTube