Spycops accused of ‘misogyny and mission creep’ as woman’s ten year battle for justice reaches final stage

Kate Wilson

One of the women deceived into a relationship by a spycop has reached the final stage of her case against the police for abusing her human rights.

20 April saw the start of Kate Wilson’s hearing before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). This is the last part of Wilson’s 10 year battle against the police using sexual relationships in undercover policing.

The tribunal will attempt to determine the extent of human rights breaches in the case, and how involved senior officers were. It will do this by examining thousands of secret documents in open hearings.

At least 30 women were tricked into relationships with undercover police officers, with some even fathering children with their targets.

The hearing

In 2003, environmental activist Wilson began a relationship with Mark Kennedy. She eventually found out that Kennedy was an undercover police officer who had infiltrated multiple environmental groups.

The tribunal will be asked to consider whether the use of secret policing against protestors was necessary in a democratic society. It will also consider evidence about the knowledge senior officers had of relationships, and whether such deceptive relationships count as sexist discrimination.

Wilson stated:

The police want us to believe that a top intelligence unit was so incapable of interpreting basic human interactions that they had no idea that we were boyfriend and girlfriend. I just don’t believe that. My relationship with Mark Kennedy was documented in great detail in their secret reports for over 18 months.

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.

Wilson’s case is backed up by the police logs that she was disclosed as part of the hearing:

Fight for justice

Kennedy was one of many police officers who embedded themselves in political groups, going as far back as 1968. Previously the police admitted that Kennedy’s relationship with Wilson was a breach of Articles 3, 8 and 10 of the Human Rights Act.

In 2020, Wilson said:

Over 30 women now know that they were deceived into intimate, sexual relationships with undercover officers. Many more people were subjected to similar infiltration by undercover officers. What happened to me was by no means unique, and hundreds of people will have had their rights violated in this way. These admissions mean it is simply not sustainable to say these operations were legitimate, proportionate, or lawful.

Undercover Policing Inquiry

While Wilson’s case is happening, the Undercover Policing Inquiry is starting its second phase of hearings on 21 April. It will begin with opening statements for three days, and then evidence hearings for up to 14 days.

19 witnesses are scheduled to give evidence about Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) undercover policing operations that began in the 1970s.

However, campaigners reacted angrily to the news that the third set of ‘Tranche 1’ (1968- 1982) evidence hearings will be postponed for many months. The inquiry, which has cost £36m to date and could cost up to £100m began in 2015, has been beset by delays. One core participant, Tom Fowler, stated:

The one area in which the Inquiry has truly excelled has been at delay. Even the most casual observer will recognise this as just another cynical manoeuvre by an establishment institution who are well aware that justice delayed is justice denied.

The majority of the people spied on have still not seen their files, as Jessica, who was deceived into a relationship with Andy Coles highlighted:

This farcical reason is another slap in the face. Yet again we have a high handed decision that impacts all of us, but they don’t care; this mismanagement just prolongs all our pain. Just what have they been doing the last six years? They need to stop messing around and release the files to us.

Featured image via Police Spies Out of Lives

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