Response to the Lush 'Paid to lie' campaign
I have been asked to comment on the Lush ‘Paid to Lie’ Campaign.
I think it should be made clear, this campaign is not about policing in general.
It is not about the huge number of Officers who serve the public day in day out with integrity, dedication and absolute professionalism. This campaign centres around the actions of a very specific unit of undercover officers based in London, the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) who are subject to a public enquiry about their actions in infiltrating groups of animal rights campaigners and effectively ‘setting up home’ with some of the activist who were women.
Undercover Police Officers, using fake names of children who died, targeted animal rights campaigners in order to initiate relationships, a number of those officers then in effect, set up home with these women, had children with them, despite having pre-existing families ‘in real life’ and then just disappeared from their ‘fake’ lives. The whole purpose of this was to infiltrate animal rights groups for policing purposes.
In my view these deployments were disproportionate and distasteful. In 2014, I met the then Policing Minister Sir Mike Penning to discuss these concerning deployments.
In the interests of transparency, Mark Constantine , the owner of Lush, did make donations toward both of my election campaigns. Nothing was offered or exchanged, then or now, for those donations. It is important to note that Mr Constantine, believes in the independent scrutiny of our Police Force and that’s why I believe he supported an independent candidate. However, our views differ on many issues, including some very important ones, such as Brexit.
In short, I do support Lush in exposing this issue, indeed, I would support any organisation that did the same. However, I acknowledge and understand the public condemnation of what seems to be on the face of it (as you walk past the display window of Lush) a company being anti-police.