Last week the High Court hosted a hearing where women who had long-term relationships with undercover police challenged 'Neither Confirm Nor Deny' (NCND), the police's stonewalling tactic of refusing to say whether anybody was ever an undercover police officer.
It's a transparent ploy to avoid accountability, as was made clear by BristleKRS and as I said on the COPS blog too.
The excellent report of the hearing on Law Is War further expands on the many exceptions to the NCND rule. But if you've been following the case, what catches the eye is this description of
a tense moment after the Judge repeatedly asked whether the Defendant would in fact view long-term sexual relationships in this case as appropriate or not. After a phonecall it was finally conceded by the Met that this would be inappropriate.
This is the same Metropolitan Police whose lawyers were in the same building 18 months ago. On that occasion they were trying to ensure that the human rights aspect of the womens' case was not held in court but was instead sent to a bullshit Stalinist tribunal that doesn't allow the womens' representatives to even be present for the hearing and always finds in favour of the government.
In order to win that, the police had to show that the offending relationships were covered under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act - in other words, that they were, in fact, authorised.
Paragraph 37 of that judgement has the solicitor for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police's angle.
Authorisation was granted for Mark Kennedy's deployment as a … CHIS [Covert Human Intelligence Source; undercover cop], as defined in s.26(8) of RIPA. He established and maintained 'a personal or other relationship' with your clients which he covertly used to obtain information and he covertly disclosed information obtained 'by the use of such a relationship'
Once again it seems that the sexual relationships are authorised when it helps the police refuse accountability, and not authorised when their position needs them to be ignorant. In the same way, as the women showed at last week's hearing, NCND is an absolute rule when the police want to keep quiet and a mere idea when they want to big themselves up.
They have flip-flopped on both aspects so many times that everyone can see what's going on. By not even admitting their abuse, police extend and intensify the damage and injustice they've wrought. They stand there like Vicky Pollard in a uniform, spluttering 'yeah but no but yeah but no,' then blurt the latest implausbile excuse followed by an irrelevant decoy that insults the intelligence of everyone who hears it.
Perhaps a tad more generous, the Guardian's Rob Evans said yesterday that they have air of Canute about them, becoming ever more isolated and absurd as they command the inexorable rising tide of truth and justice to turn back.