After 11 years of struggle, Kate Wilson won another victory on 30 September. Kate is an activist who was deceived into a relationship with the undercover police officer Mark Kennedy (who was posing as an environmental direct actionist called ‘Mark Stone’).
Further ‘unreserved’ apologies, from London’s Metropolitan police and from the national police chiefs’ council, came after a damning ruling by the official Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) on 30 September.
The IPT found that London’s Metropolitan police had violated Kate’s human rights by allowing Kennedy to form a relationship with her between November 2003 to February 2005
The IPT judges ruled that the senior officers in charge of Kennedy ‘knew of the relationship, chose not to know of its existence, or were incompetent and negligent in not following up clear and obvious signs’.
The claim by police chiefs that undercover officers were forbidden such relationships was ‘materially undermined by the sheer frequency’ of such relationships, the court said.
It is now known that 139 undercover police officers have spied on more than 1,000 British political groups since 1968. Many are known to have had sexual relationships with women they targeted while using false identities.
The IPT also found that senior officers appeared to have a policy of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ towards spycops who were forming such relationships. These senior offices probably also had ‘a lack of interest in protecting women’s human rights’.
Kennedy/Stone had several other relationships during his seven years’ deployment posing as an environmental activist, including one that lasted six years.
Kate, a social and environmental activist, only discovered Kennedy’s identity as an undercover police officer in 2010 when he was unmasked by activists.
She is due to be awarded compensation at a hearing in 2022.
Other cases continue, as does the official inquiry into spycops.