THE Metropolitan Police has made an ‘unreserved apology’ and paid an undisclosed amount in compensation to seven women who were tricked into long-term relationships with undercover police spies.
In a statement yesterday, Scotland Yard admitted the women were deceived ‘pure and simple’. The unprecedented settlements relate to officers who worked undercover for the Met Police’s Special Demonstration Squad and the separate National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU).
Both teams deployed officers on long-term undercover operations to infiltrate political groups such as environmental campaigners, anarchists and animal rights groups and were involved in supplying information for the blacklisting of trade unionists. The settlements cover the actions of five former undercover officers, including Bob Lambert and Jim Boyling from the Met and Mark Kennedy of the NPOIU. These three are said by lawyers to have had more than one undercover relationship.
One of these, between Lambert and a woman called Jacqui, led to the birth of a child. That case was separately settled last year for more than £400,000. The two other officers whose actions are covered by this settlement eventually disappeared, leaving their partners searching for years for answers.
Unite welcomed the ‘unreserved apology’ from the Metropolitan Police to the seven women duped into relationships with undercover police officers. The union said that the time has now come for those responsible for the Special Demonstration Squad to acknowledge its role in destroying the lives of dozens of men and women working in construction and associated industries.
During the Scottish Affairs Select Committee inquiry into blacklisting, held in 2014, Ian Kerr, a former employee of the Economic League and chief officer of the Consulting Association, stated that information was shared between the police and the Economic League. Documents seized by the Information Commissioner confirmed collusion between blacklisting employers and the police.
Gail Cartmail, Unite assistant general secretary, said: ‘At long last, we are arriving at the truth regarding the disturbing scale of these covert activities and an acceptance that there was an organised and appalling misuse of police officers to spy on UK citizens. ‘We have long been concerned that this misuse of the police extended to the workplace where “rogue” employers developed a blacklist of construction workers and others who were union members.
‘Our darkest fears were confirmed by the industry itself last year at the Scottish Affairs Select Committee when it was confirmed that blacklists of employees were compiled with police assistance.
‘These workers have spent a working lifetime fighting for that justice. Further delay in delivering it to them is yet another scandal in the making.’