Privacy SOS

Sleeping with the enemy?

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Undercover cops in England now have the government's official blessing to have sex with and start affairs with their targets. From the London Evening Standard

Policing minister Nick Herbert said this was essential otherwise suspects could use the offer of sex as a way of outing police if they feared they were under surveillance.

Mr Herbert’s comments follow the controversy over Met officer Mark Kennedy who infiltrated environmental protesters opposed to a power station in Nottinghamshire.

He had affairs with two of the activists he was monitoring and the trial of six campaigners later collapsed after details of his role, which had initially been kept secret from defence lawyers, were disclosed.

The case led to a review of undercover policing by the Inspectorate of Constabulary and widespread calls for greater checks and scrutiny of operations.

At least four other Met police officers are also suspected of having had sex with people among the communities they were targeting during their long periods of undercover work. Two among them fathered children with their targets; eight women who allege police tricked them into long term relationships with undercover police officers are now suing.
 
But the government maintains it did nothing wrong, and has now authorized the practice. The Policing Minister claimed that banning undercovers from having sex with their marks would negatively affect their ability to remain undetected: “Banning such actions would provide the group targeted the opportunity to find out whether there was an undercover officer within their group.”
 
Wow. 
 
UPDATE: A reader passed along a tip about a women's protest held outside police headquarters in the UK last year where activists demonstrated objecting to the practice.
 
Back then, "[t]he Association of Chief Police Officers denied…that it was at all acceptable for undercover police officers to have sex with their targets, but an anonymous former officer told The Guardian that it was a common technique." 
 
Adding insult to the injury of the disgusting practice, one of the police officers quoted in the piece basically calls activist women sluts and says that's why it's such an important tactic:
"Everybody knew it was a very promiscuous lifestyle," said the former officer, who first revealed his life as an undercover agent to the Observer last year. "You cannot not be promiscuous in those groups. Otherwise you'll stand out straightaway."
Women protesting the policy held (awesome) signs that said things like: "You Told Me the Handcuffs Were Kinky" and "Keep Your Truncheon in Your Trousers."
"We know women have been abused by men posing as policemen and it's becoming clear this was state-sanctioned. These women did not know they were forming a relationship with policemen. It's appalling -– and now we want the full details of the undercover officers to be made public."
h/t @mattcornell
 
Read more about the case of officer Kennedy and the Met Police's "National Public Order Intelligence Unit," which spies on and interferes with political activity.

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