Two ex-wives of undercover police officers have hailed cosmetic retailer Lush’s campaign highlighting the misconduct of their husbands’ “spy-cop” operations.
Lush, going far beyond its remit of providing bubbly soaps, championed a movement against undercover police officers who had deceived women into intimate relationships.
The company plastered its facilities and social media pages with criticism of undercover police officers.
In a letter to the Guardian, the two women backed Lush’s campaign, hailing them for doing more to raise public awareness of the issue than the inquiry into the matter – which kicked off three years ago.
The inquiry, led by Sir John Mitting, is looking into allegations of police spies violating human rights and abusing their powers since 1968. While targeting political groups and individuals, in some cases officers are accused of subjecting interested parties to significant trauma, breaching article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In some extreme cases, officers went as far as starting families with the people they were trying to dupe, before vanishing when the operation ended and abandoning their offspring.
“Although the events in question took place many years ago, they continue to have a profound effect and we are still waiting for the officers concerned (as well as their chain of command) to give an account in public,” said the two former wives.
The retailer, however, received backlash over its campaign.
“You sell soaps, get off your high horses and stick to what you’re good at, because politics definitely isn’t it,” Grace Coop, a commenter on Lush’s official statement.
Some politicians, including Security Minister Ben Wallace, blasted them for conducting an “anti-police” campaign.
Support for the company emanated from sections of the public including unions, lawyers, and politicians, including Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who says that he was also the target of a spy cop operation.
The ex-wives’ letter added: “Our view is that the amount of public money spent to date for such little progress is of far greater concern than the Lush campaign. Its campaign has not only drawn attention to the plight of some of the victims but has also brought into focus legitimate concerns about how the inquiry is proceeding, which we also share.
“We would like supporters of the police who are criticizing Lush to be aware that we, as affected police ex-wives, endorse the points that Lush are now publicising. Lush’s campaign is not an attack on hard-working police officers and we ask critics of the campaign to hold an open mind, look into the facts of this issue.”
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