#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 14°C Friday 20 May 2022
Advertisement

Activist deceived into relationship with undercover London police officer awarded £230,000 (€275k)

The Metropolitan Police and the National Police Chiefs Council have been ordered to pay compensation to Kate Wilson.

Image: PA

AN ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST who was deceived into a nearly two-year relationship with an undercover officer has been awarded almost £230,000 (€275k) compensation after winning a landmark tribunal case against the Metropolitan Police for breaches of her human rights.

Kate Wilson, 41, began a relationship with Mark Stone shortly after first meeting him in 2003 and had a “whirlwind romance” for more than a year before they split amicably in 2005, when she moved to Spain.

In 2010, Ms Wilson found out he was a married police officer called Mark Kennedy, who had been sent to spy on activists as part of the Met’s National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPIOU).

Yesterday, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ordered the Met and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) to pay a total of £229,471.96 to Ms Wilson “by way of just satisfaction for the breaches” under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Helen Ball, the Met’s Assistant Commissioner for Professionalism, said: “We recognise the gravity of the judgment in this case, which outlined a series of serious failings that allowed Kennedy to remain deployed on a long-term undercover deployment without the appropriate level of supervision and oversight. This resulted in Ms Wilson’s human rights being breached.

“In entering into a sexual relationship, Kennedy’s actions went against the training and guidelines undercover officers received at the time. However, the tribunal found that the training was inadequate and more should have been done to consider the risks of male undercover officers forming relationships with women. We accept these findings.”

Kennedy had sexual relationships with as many as 10 other women during his deployment, including one with a woman known only as “Lisa” which lasted for six years before she discovered a passport in his real name.

He was one of half a dozen undercover officers from the NPIOU or its “sister unit”, the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), who Ms Wilson came into contact with between 1998 and 2010.

Ms Wilson had brought legal action against the Met and the NPCC for breaches of her right to freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment, her right to privacy and right to freedom of expression.

The Met and NPCC accepted that Kennedy’s actions amounted to a breach of those rights, but they had denied that other officers, apart from Kennedy and his cover officer, knew or suspected Wilson was in a sexual relationship with Kennedy.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

In a ruling last September, the IPT found the Met’s claims that undercover officers (UCOs) knew sexual relationships were banned were “materially undermined by the sheer frequency with which (Kennedy) (and other UCOs) did conduct sexual relationships without either questions being asked or action being taken by senior officers”.

The IPT also found that the Met and NPCC’s failure to guard against the risk of UCOs entering into sexual relationships with women amounted to unlawful discrimination against women.

The tribunal concluded: “This is not just a case about a renegade police officer who took advantage of his undercover deployment to indulge his sexual proclivities, serious though this aspect of the case unquestionably is.

“Our findings that the authorisations under (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000) were fatally flawed and the undercover operation could not be justified as ‘necessary in a democratic society’ … reveal disturbing and lamentable failings at the most fundamental levels.”

About the author:

Press Association

Read next:

COMMENTS (10)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel