Met Statement - Investigatory Powers Tribunal judgment
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has today, Thursday, 30 September, delivered its judgment on a claim made against the Metropolitan Police Service (the Met) and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).
The claim, brought by Kate Wilson, complained of breaches of her human rights relating to the actions of undercover police officers deployed to gather intelligence on protest groups, and people associated with those groups.
Prior to the IPT hearing in April 2021, the Met and the NPCC had admitted to several significant Human Rights Act breaches in respect of Ms Wilson – specifically Articles 3, 8 and 10. The IPT hearing considered issues relating to the severity of the admitted breaches, but also several other complaints including further aspects of Articles 3, 8 and 10, as well as Articles 11 and 14 that had not been admitted.
The IPT has found that the Respondents breached the Claimant’s human rights in respect of most of the matters that had not been admitted prior to the hearing.
We accept and recognise the gravity of all of the breaches of Ms Wilson’s human rights as found by the Tribunal, and the Met and NPCC unreservedly apologise to Ms Wilson for the damage caused, and the hurt she has suffered from the deployment of these undercover officers.
Some of the breaches related to a sexual relationship. A Met officer, Mark Kennedy, was seconded to the now disbanded National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) as a UCO from 2003-2010. During his deployment, and in his cover identity of ‘Mark Stone’, he began a sexual relationship with Ms Wilson. Mark Kennedy resigned from policing in 2010.
In relation to this, we also reiterate the previous apologies provided to Ms Wilson by Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt when he met with her in 2015 and which was provided in writing to her by Assistant Commissioner Fiona Taylor in 2017. As those apologies made clear, the Met and NPCC acknowledge that the sexual relationship was wrong, it was an abuse of police power and violated Ms Wilson’s human rights. It caused Ms Wilson significant trauma, and demonstrated failures in the way Kennedy was supervised and managed.
The Met and the NPCC wish to thank the Tribunal Panel for the care they have taken to consider the numerous complex factual and legal issues in this case. We accept the Panel’s findings and are carefully considering the detail of the judgment to see whether any further learning can be taken from the findings, to add to the changes already implemented since 2010, to the training, supervision and legal oversight of UCOs.
There will be a further hearing before the IPT at a later date, at which the Panel will determine the appropriate remedy for Ms Wilson’s claims, having considered further evidence and submissions from the Metropolitan Police, NPCC, Counsel to the Tribunal and Ms Wilson. The case is still ongoing, and in those circumstances it would not be appropriate for the Met and NPCC to comment further at this time.