Police offer landmark apology and settlement to seven women with whom undercover officers had relationships

In the apology issued today by Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, the Metropolitan Police made clear that "officers, acting undercover whilst seeking to infiltrate protest groups, entered into long-term intimate sexual relationships with women which were abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong". He also stated that "these relationships were a violation of the women’s human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma".

 

He continued:

 

"I wish to make a number of matters absolutely clear.

 

"Most importantly, relationships like these should never have happened. They were wrong and were a gross violation of personal dignity and integrity."

 

Let me add these points:

 

"Firstly, none of the women with whom the undercover officers had a relationship brought it on themselves. They were deceived pure and simple. I want to make it clear that the Metropolitan Police does not suggest that any of these women could be in any way criticized for the way in which these relationships developed."

 

"Second, at the mediation process the women spoke of the way in which their privacy had been violated by these relationships. I entirely agree that it was a gross violation and also accept that it may well have reflected attitudes towards women that should have no part in the culture of the Metropolitan Police."

 

"Third, it is apparent that some officers may have preyed on the women’s good nature and had manipulated their emotions to a gratuitous extent. This was distressing to hear about and must have been very hard to bear."

 

"Fourth, I recognise that these relationships, the subsequent trauma and the secrecy around them left these women at risk of further abuse and deception by these officers after the deployment had ended."

 

"Fifth, I recognize that these legal proceedings have been painful distressing and intrusive and added to the damage and distress. Let me make clear that whether or not genuine feelings were involved on the part of any officers is entirely irrelevant and does not make the conduct acceptable."

 

Assistant Commissioner Hewitt further clarified that: 

 

(1) "The forming of a sexual relationship by an undercover officer would never be authorized in advance nor indeed used as a tactic of a deployment. If an officer did have a sexual relationship despite this (for example if it was a matter of life or death) then he would be required to report this in order that the circumstances could be investigated for potential criminality and/or misconduct." 

 

(2) "..these cases demonstrate that there have been failures of supervision and management. ... It is of particular concern that abuses were not prevented by the introduction of more stringent supervisory arrangements made by and pursuant to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000."

 

Assistant Commissioner Hewitt issued this public apology on behalf of the Metropolitan Police as part of the settlement of seven out of eight claims arising from intimate relationships they were deceived into by undercover police officers.

 

The apology is the result of a four-year legal battle to bring to public attention these state sponsored, deceptive relationships and to prevent future abuses. 

 

The full apology is published on the Metropolitan Police's website here.

 

Charlotte Kilroy and Louse Price represented the women instructed by Birnberg Pierce Solicitors. 

 

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