Former undercover officer Andy Coles, photo courtesy of Peterborough Today
This time it’s the turn of cosmetics chain Lush to feel the tabloid backlash for drawing attention to the ongoing skycops scandal, covered extensively in the pages of the Guardian.
Briefly, the allegation is that during the 80s and 90s undercover police officers manipulated female activists into entering into sexual relationships as part of their efforts to gather information about their political activities.
Last year Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridge Andy Coles was outed by campaigners from the Undercover Research Group. The group claims that Coles was part of a covert group of Metropolitan Police Officers who assumed false identities in order to inveigle themselves into the lives of political activists.
What is so alarming about the revelations, and the reason why the Met is looking down the wrong end of a whopping lawsuit, is that the activists targeted were by and large engaged in legitimate political protest. Where they erred on the wrong side of the law, it was generally for activities such as breaking into animal laboratories or climbing over fences outside nuclear bases, acts that when set against today’s terrorist horrors, seem almost charmingly quaint.
Who authorised officers such as Coles to destroy the lives of these vulnerable young women when the stakes were so pitifully low? And how on earth did they justify the huge amounts of police time and taxpayers’ money on an effort that delivered so little, especially when set against the emotional devastation not only to the victims but to the families of the officers themselves, blissfully ignorant their husbands and fathers were leading state-sponsored double lives?
It does beg the question as to what, if anything, could ever justify such behaviour? It’s this area that’s explored in my novel, The Insider’s Guide to Betrayal, in which the consequences of ruining a young woman’s life are weighed against the prospect of saving hundreds of innocent civilians from injury, mutilation and violent death.
The Insider’s Guide to Betrayal by Donald Finnaeus Mayo
Published by Betimes Books Available here on Amazon