Activist misled in connection with undercover officer awarded £230,000 in compensation

An environmental activist who was duped into a nearly two-year relationship with an undercover officer has been awarded almost £230,000 in compensation after winning a landmark court case against the Metropolitan Police.

Kate Wilson had a “giddy romance” with undercover officer Mark Kennedy after he was sent by the now-disbanded National Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) to spy on an environmental activist group with which it was associated. Mrs Wilson.

The relationship ended amicably in 2005 after more than a year when Ms. Wilson moved to Spain. However, five years later she discovered that her ex-lover, whom she knew as “Mark Stone”, her cover identity, was a police officer.

The disclosure led to legal action against the Met and the National Council of Police Chiefs (NPCC), both of which admitted to a series of violations of Ms Wilson’s human rights and apologized for the “damage and harm” caused by the intelligence operation.

The Investigative Powers Tribunal (IPT) ordered the Met Police and NPCC to pay a total of £229,471 to Ms Wilson “by way of just satisfaction for violations of her human rights”.

in a statementHelen Ball, the Met’s deputy commissioner for professionalism, said: “We recognize the seriousness of the trial in this case, which outlined a series of serious flaws that allowed Kennedy to remain on a long-term undercover deployment without the appropriate level of supervision and surveillance.

“By engaging in a sexual relationship, Kennedy’s actions went against the training and guidelines that undercover officers received at the time. However, the Court concluded that the training was inadequate and that more should have been done to consider the risks of male undercover officers establishing relationships with women. We accept these findings.

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“It is important to note that since the deployment of Mark Kennedy there has been a huge shift in covert policing, both at the Met and nationally, and I want to make it clear that this case in no way reflects modern covert policing.” .

Police Chief Alan Pughsley, leader of the National Council of Police Chiefs for covert surveillance, also commented on “significant changes” in the way covert surveillance is carried out.

“The selection and training of all undercover officers have been standardized and authorized by the independent body, the College of Police,” he said.

Mr. Pughsley described the training as “more rigorous” and stated that “the psychological fitness and well-being of undercover officers is a key consideration during their recruitment, training and deployment.”

He added: “In addition to the laws, regulations and rules in force, the conduct of undercover officers is governed by a National Code of Conduct and the Code of Ethics of the Police College.

“Significant work has been done to ensure that undercover officers and those authorizing their deployment understand the legal boundaries within which they operate, including the basics of deployments that must be necessary and proportionate, and the need to minimize collateral intrusion. in the private lives of others. .

“Covert deployments continue to be monitored by high-level individuals and the independent Investigative Powers Commissioner’s Office is aware of and “scrutinizes covert deployments.”

Kennedy, who resigned from the Met in 2010, had sex with up to 10 other women while undercover, including one with a woman known only as “Lisa” that lasted six years. Her identity came to light when Lisa discovered her passport with her real name.

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Despite Ms. Wilson’s “amazing and historic” achievement, Lisa said the independent she has no faith that the Met has made significant changes.

She said: “They have consistently denied any guilt and their statement really misses the point.

“They mainly comment on the sexual relationship, but the IPT is very clear that that is not what compensation is about. It is specifically about the abuses and violations of their human rights that the Met was responsible for.”

She adds: “The Met is putting the spotlight on the sexual relationship rather than the fact that the IPT ruled the entire operation unnecessary and illegal in a democratic society.”

Despite her misgivings, Lisa acknowledges the IPT’s ruling as an “amazing and historic” achievement, as the agency does not normally hold public hearings.

“The complaint concerned personal intrusions into Kate’s and my privacy. But it is about much more than that. It’s about the way protests are policed ​​in the UK,” Lisa said.

“They have interfered with their democratic right to protest. It’s a bit like the Stasi or how we imagined the Soviet Union to be, but it’s happening here.”

She continued: “Eight of us started the claim with Kate and she went further than any of us. Her victory is a victory for all of us.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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