Home Secretary should take responsibility for Undercover Policing Inquiry, not snipe at victims from twitter

Cosmetics retailer Lush has been making headlines over the last couple of weeks after it launched an in-store campaign to shed light on the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI).

The campaign was run in conjunction with Police Spies Out of Lives and the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) - two organisations that have continuously fought to expose the injustices committed by undercover police - including miscarriages of justice and human rights violations.

It is important to note that these are not merely fanciful accusations or wild conspiracy theories, but allegations that are in fact so credible that the government has seen fit to open a public inquiry to investigate them. The Metropolitan Police have admitted to and apologised for some of these abuses in Court.

Perhaps predictably, the campaign has been met with outrage from the Police Federation, who so often equate any criticism of widespread or institutional wrongdoing by the police as mere anti-police sentiment and the bashing of hardworking and underpaid frontline officers.

More alarming is the Home Secretary Sajid Javid's take on the matter. The Home Secretary tweeted:

As Home Secretary, Javid now has overall responsibility for the manner in which the inquiry is run. The victim core participants recently wrote to him requesting that he appoint an advisory panel. They have done so because they have lost faith in the ability of Inquiry Chair Sir Justice Mitting to run the inquiry in such a way that it is able to expose the wrongdoings of the police.

The Home Secretary has so far refused to engage in that process. Perhaps if he were to use his powers to allow the Inquiry to function as it was supposed to, high street retailers would not need to run these campaigns. Instead by making one-sided comments on twitter he risks further undermining what little faith victims have left in this inquiry.


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