After months of putting a survivor of police human rights abuses through the legal wringer at taxpayers’ expense, the Met police have failed to stop the Pitchford Inquiry on undercover policing from confirming that John Dines, now a police training officer in Australia, did in fact operate for them as an undercover police officer under the alias of John Barker.
Dines was employed by the Special Demonstration Squad from 1987-1991 before disappearing in early 1992. During that time he was involved with numerous activist activities and started a relationship with Helen Steel, which lasted for two years before his unannounced departure. It wasn’t until 1994 that she found out her former partner had for years been using the name of a dead child, later discovering he had also been married — it wasn’t until 2010 that she was able to confirm his Met police links.
Even after his role was exposed however, and the Met settled a case in court with the admission that spycop relationships were a form of human rights abuse, the force refused to confirm or deny that they had employed Dines.
While I welcome the official admission that my former partner John Dines was an undercover policeman in the Special Demonstration Squad, it is a travesty that the police have been allowed to take this long to confirm what I and others exposed years ago.
Even after they issued a public apology for serious human rights abuses to myself and six other women who had been deceived into relationships with undercover policemen, the police still argued they could not confirm the identity of my abuser. To date, despite that apology, they have also refused to confirm the identity of Mark Jenner who deceived ‘Alison’ into a five year relationship.
We and other women similarly deceived have had no disclosure at all about how these abusive relationships were allowed to happen, instead we have been subjected to intrusive demands for evidence of the effects of the abuse. None of those responsible for this abuse have been held to account – even those still employed by the police have kept their jobs.
It is an insult to the many victims of political undercover policing that the police who are responsible for serious human rights abuses have been allowed to cover up the truth and withhold information from those they abused. The public inquiry should release as a matter of urgency the cover names of all these political police and also the files they compiled on campaigners, so that those spied on are able to understand what happened and give relevant evidence to the inquiry.
We know that over a thousand campaign groups have been spied upon by these political undercover policing units. This represents a significant interference with the right to political freedom of thought and the right to protest. Ultimately it is a means for those who hold power to preserve the status quo and prevent social change. For this reason it is in the public interest for the cover names of all the political undercover police to be released, along with the files they compiled so that those who have abused their power can be held to account, the public learns the true extent of this political spying in this country and further human rights abuses by such units can be prevented.
Steel confronted Dines earlier this year while he was training Indian officers in how to break up left-wing activism.
The announcement follows recent admissions that several other men – Carlo Neri, Marco Jacobs and Rod Richardson – were also spycops. However, it still leaves the majority of exposed officers, and another 100+ unknown officers, unconfirmed. A further survivor came forward yesterday to talk about how Jacobs betrayed her.
More information and updates on the spycops investigation can be found at campaignopposingpolicesurveillance.com
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