Twelve British women who had long-term relationships with undercover agents belonging to London’s Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), without knowing their true identities, are suing MPS for alleged deceit they claim has caused them intense emotional anguish, reports The Guardian.
Three years after the women filed the continuing lawsuit, a judge has finally ordered the MPS to reveal the names of two undercover police officers who fathered children with civilian members of political groups they infiltrated.
Nine police officers, including one female officer, reportedly had sexual relationships with unsuspecting civilians while undercover. At least twelve women are suing the MPS based on allegations of deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office, and negligence, reports The New Yorker.
One of those duped women, identified only by the first name Jacqui, was featured prominently in this week’s issue of The New Yorker. She met Bob Robinson at an animal rights protest in 1984, never knowing for years that he was truly an undercover MPS police officer named Bob Lambert.
They soon began a serious relationship based on their interest in animal rights, according to Jacqui. Whereas some animal-rights factions of the period resorted to violence, Jacqui said she was a regular at protests but remained nonviolent. Bob presented himself as a committed activist and even urged Jacqui to become vegan.
He also seemed committed to their relationship. “He told me he loved me all the time,” Jacqui told The New Yorker. “I always felt that he was scared of losing me, and, in some ways, that felt quite powerful.”
In 1987, two years after their son’s birth, Bob told Jacqui he had to go abroad to dodge investigators looking into his involvement in the bombing of a department store.
That was the last time Jacqui heard from Bob until she saw his face in a Daily Mail news article in 2012. The article reported his true identity as Bob Lambert, an undercover cop who was accused of leaving a bomb in a department store selling fur products in 1987 to prove his commitment to animal rights radicals. That bombing caused no injuries but resulted in millions of dollars worth of damages.
Jacqui discovered Bob never hid abroad, instead continuing his police work several miles away as a member of the MPS’ Special Demonstrations Squad, which oversaw domestic intelligence-gathering.
The MPS has argued in a legal filing that Lambert and Jim Boyling, another MPS officer undercover between 1995 and 2000 who fathered two children, “violated explicit guidance” not to engage in long-term relationships and that they relationships were not a deliberate intelligence-gathering tactic, reported The Guardian. The department has also claimed the two officers started the relationships because of genuine romantic feelings.
The Metropolitan Police Service told The New Yorker in an email that sexual relationships between undercover police officers and civilians “is not an authorised tactic,” and the department’s commissioner called it inappropriate. Nevertheless, the department has fought in court to keep such relations legal.
Bob, who has since stayed in touch with Jacqui and regularly sees their son, admitted to having sexual relations with four women while undercover. In a televised interview he said he truly loved Jacqui and one other woman he had relations with. “They were both fine, upstanding citizens who had the misfortune to meet me,” he said in that interview. “I can only apologise to them. I think it was just a case of falling in love, I guess, and I should not have allowed that to happen.”
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