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'Neither Confirm Nor Deny' My Arse

Normally it's activists hoping their cases get struck out of court, but not this time: it's the Met. And they failed.

Five women who were decieved into relationships with undercover cops are fighting a case against the force for deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office and negligence. Alongside they're campaigning with the group 'Police Spies Out of Lives'.

The case concerns the intimate relationships spies from the (now defunct and superceded) Special Demonstration Squad had with women they were spying on. Since the unveiling of the spies, Bob Lambert, John Dines, Jim Boyling and Mark Jenner, the woman have been fighting for justice for the state-sanctioned abuse they suffered.

The women who were preyed on by the most famous of the infiltrators Mark Kennedy are fighting the case on slightly different grounds as the abuse occurred after 2008 when the Human Rights Act was written into UK law.

The Met are pretty keen to avoid having to bare all in the dock and have been scraping the barrel to try and prevent it. Their latest effort was to claim that an official policy exists concerning disclosure of undercover operations known as 'Neither Confirm Nor Deny' (NCND). They argued the policy meant a court case would be unfair to them, as they could not respond to the women's claims – NCND was presented as a blanket ban on giving any information in any circumstances.

Today (Thursday 13 March), they made the surprise move of withdrawing their application. They must've realised they didn't have a leg to stand on: The handling of the police-abuse controversy has been as cack-handed as they come.

Firstly, they have failed to produce one document pertaining to the NCND policy (presumably because it doesn't exist). They also failed to mention it until many months after the women began legal proceedings in December 2011.

They also shot themselves in the face by making numerous public statements about the identities of outed spies, confirming the deployement of Mark Kennedy and Jim Boyling in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Met supervisors, along with infiltrators, also appeared on a BBC documentary True Spies – so much for cast-iron secrecy to be taken to the grave.

The Met claim the decision to withdraw was due to home secretary Theresa May's announcement that a public enquiry is to be launched into undercover policing: “It is now not proportionate or appropriate for the claims to be struck out”. Let's hope they don't use the upcoming enquiry to further deflect from the women's case, because it's likely to be a washout. It's not set to begin until 2015, and it's coming from a woman who shows her love for activists by pushing for water cannons to blast them right off the streets, and her love for people in general by pushing for the repeal of the Human Rights Act.

The backstory, and legal ins-and-outs of the women's struggle, can be read here: http://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/twists-turns/

Police Spies Out of Lives are encouraging supporters to take part in a week of solidarity 17th-21st March, including a picket outside the Royal Court of Justice at 9am, Tuesday 18th March.

Stories about similar subjects...

Convoys of trucks carrying equipment descended on West Newton yesterday, as Rathlin Energy commence their exploratory fracking drilling.

Anti fracking campaigners have got their hands on a Sussex Police report that details an 'emerging' nationwide strategy on protests against the controversial drilling technique. The report has been exposed in a report about the policing of the protests at Balcombe, West Sussex, last summer.

We started writing about three interesting but unrelated things happening in June. Here is an amalgamated version, which is worth a read.

Is this the last March for England? “They have become the fools in a carnival of anti-fascism” Stop MfE protestor

A national week of solidarity with Afghanistan - drone capital of the world - takes place with Fly Kites Not Drones day, with our local event hosted by anti-militarists Smash Edo.

Brighton students demo in favour of teachers' strike attracts police attention.

Debbie awaits sentencing after farce of a court process

Over 100 arrests so far as Manchester's infamous Tactical Action Unit police take their role as corporate foot soldiers very seriously.

Twitter: @SchNEWS