Guardian journalists Rob Evans and Paul Lewis are publishing a book on police infiltrators in activist movements. The book has been previewed in the Guardian and in a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary which aired last night.
The Dispatches programme is disturbing viewing. Allegations include infiltrating the campaign for justice for Stephen Lawrence and a number of other entirely legal protest groups.
Even more seriously, a number of the police spies have deceptively involved themselves in relationships with activists (and one non-activist) as part of their cover. Some of them even fathered children with their partners before disappearing when an infiltration was finished.
Bristle has published a useful Spycop Timeline.
The radical history of Hackney has lead to police spies being active in the Borough.
In 1984 Bob Lambert (AKA ‘Bob Robinson’) was infiltrating animal rights groups. He met ‘Charlotte’ outside Hackney Town Hall and began a relationship with her. The couple went on to have a child together, before Lambert disappeared.
In 1987 John Dines (AKA ‘John Barker’) was sent to Hackney to infiltrate activist groups including London Greenpeace. He eventually embarked on a fraudulent relationship with Helen Steel of London Greenpeace who was later one of the McLibel defendants. (See a recent statement here on the police infiltration of London Greenpeace from Dave Morris, the other McLibel defendant).
I have previously written about Mark Jenner (AKA ‘Mark Cassidy’) and his 1990s infiltration of the Hackney Community Defence Association and the Colin Roach Centre. Details of his fraudulent relationship with ‘Alison’ have now been published.
The Police Spies Out of Lives group are
“supporting the legal action by eight women deceived into long term intimate relationships with undercover police officers who were infiltrating environmental and social justice campaign groups.
As part of our support, we are exposing the immoral and unjustified practice of undercover relationships, and the institutional prejudices which have led to the abuse. We are calling for an unequivocal end to the practice, a full inquiry into the past, and changes to prevent it ever happening again.”