The Metropolitan Police have been told to pay £230k to an environmental activist who was deceived into entering a long-term relationship with an undercover police officer, who had been sent out to gather intelligence on protest movements.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal ordered the Metropolitan Police to pay £229,471.96 for breaching the activist’s human rights, after it deployed undercover police officer Mark Kennedy to spy on an environmental movement that she was part of.
The tribunal came after environmental activist Kate Wilson, 41, entered a relationship with Kennedy in 2003, before the couple split up amicably in 2005.
Five years later, in 2010, Wilson discovered that Kennedy, who had been using the name Mark Stone, was an undercover police officer, deployed to gather intelligence on the environmental protest movement she was a part of.
The tribunal found that senior officers turned a blind eye to Kennedy’s relationship and failed to put in place sufficient measures to prevent undercover officers from entering sexual relationships.
The tribunal said in a ruling that the Met Police took a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to undercover officers entering sexual relationships.
The tribunal also ruled that it had been “unnecessary” to deploy Mark Kennedy, in claiming the decision to deploy undercover police officers was not proportionate to the need for intelligence on the protest movement.
In a statement, Alan Pughsley, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for undercover policing, said: “undercover policing remains an effective and vital tactic in the fight against serious organised crime. Officers in these roles put themselves at great risk every day to protect the public.”
“Policing will continue to review current policies to ensure tactics are used lawfully and ethically, and all officers uphold the highest professional standards.”