Police bosses admit they ‘were aware’ of officer’s undercover sex

Mark Kennedy began a relationship with an activist in 2003. Picture: Dan Philips
Mark Kennedy began a relationship with an activist in 2003. Picture: Dan Philips

Police have admitted for the first time that supervisors knew about a sexual relationship between a undercover officer and a woman he was spying on.

According to campaigners, legal documents show a number of officers were aware of the relationship between Mark Kennedy and environmental activist Kate Wilson, allowing it to continue.

Ms Wilson began her relationship with Kennedy in 2003 when she was involved in organising protests planned for the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005.

A report published earlier this year by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland, a watchdog, said Kennedy, a member of the now defunct National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), visited Scotland on at least 17 occasions and carried out “multiple activities” on each visit.

Ms Wilson was one of eight women who took the Metropolitan Police to court after they were duped into relationships by undercover officers. After reaching a settlement with seven of them in 2015, the force said the relationships would not have been authorised in advance or used as a tactic.

Ms Wilson won a High Court battle against the force in 2016 after it withdrew from the case.

She stated at the time that supervising officers were negligent and had acted improperly in causing or allowing the relationship to happen, accusing the force of dropping its defence to avoid handing over key documents “at any cost”.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal is due to hear her case against the Metropolitan Police – alleging breaches of the Human Rights Act – on October 3.

According to the campaign group Police Spies Out of Lives, legal documents show the police have now admitted that the relationship with Kennedy contravened Ms Wilson’s human rights and the breach was made worse because bosses knew what he was doing.

Ms Wilson said in a statement: “It has taken me eight painful years to discover that managing officers really did conspire to deceive and abuse me, something the police had consistently denied.

“The wider questions for society here are massive, this is about institutional sexism, senior police officers sanctioning sexual abuse, and the systematic violation of human rights because of political beliefs, and we still don’t have the whole truth.”

In November 2015 Scotland Yard apologised to the eight women who had been deceived by the undercover officers and admitted they had been “abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong”.

They said such a relationship would “never be authorised in advance” nor used as a tactic and they were “failures of supervision and management”.

Yesterday, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said it would be “inappropriate” to comment on Ms Wilson’s ongoing civil action at the tribunal.

A spokesman said: “The MPS has made clear its position on long-term, sexual relationships known to have been entered into by some undercover officers in the past. Those relationships were wrong and should not have happened.”

The force said it was providing “every assistance” to the broader inquiry into undercover policing.

Earlier this year, the Scottish Government ruled out holding its own inquiry into the issue.