UK police admit abuses over undercover relationships

2015-11-20 16:57
(AP)

(AP)

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London - British police on Friday issued an "unreserved apology" to seven women deceived into sexual relationships with officers on undercover assignments, one of which led to the birth of a child.

Metropolitan Police accepted the women were tricked into "abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong" relationships and said that settlements had been reached.

"I acknowledge that these relationships were a violation of the women's human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma," said assistant commissioner Martin Hewitt.

"I unreservedly apologise on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service. I am aware that money alone cannot compensate the loss of time, their hurt or the feelings of abuse caused by these relationships."

The officers were working for two units - now disbanded - that infiltrated groups promoting radical political action on issues such as environmental campaigns, anarchy and animal rights.

Hewitt said that such relationships "should never have happened", calling them "a gross violation of personal dignity and integrity."

He warned that any future officer who had a sexual relationship under similar circumstances faced prosecution.

The women accused the force of "institutional sexism".

"Although no amount of 'sorry', or financial compensation, can make up for what we and others have endured, we are pleased the police have been forced to acknowledge the abusive nature of these relationships and that they should never happen," they said in a statement.

"By linking our cases together we have been able to evidence a clear pattern of abusive, discriminatory behaviour towards women which amounts to institutional sexism by the Metropolitan Police."

Five former undercover officers were found to have had relationships while undercover, one of which led to the birth of a child.

That case was settled separately last year for more than $610 000.

Known only as "Jacqui", the woman said she had received psychiatric treatment since discovering the true identity of her child's father in a newspaper in 2012.

"He presented himself as Bob Robinson, a long-haired leftwing radical," the woman known as "Jacqui" told the Guardian.

"In reality he was a member of a secret police unit, the special demonstration squad, and was embarking on a five-year mission to infiltrate environmental and animal rights groups."

The man disappeared from her life when the child was two years old, going back to his original wife, children and identity.

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