The Metropolitan Police Force has paid £425,000 in a settlement to a woman in an extraordinary unprecedented case. The woman did not know that the father of her child was an undercover police officer. The settlement follows a long battle by a group of woman who allege that the police used sex as a method of infiltrating their protest groups.
Bob Lambert was an undercover police officer working with the Special Demonstration Squad of the Metropolitan Police Force. The purpose of his role as an undercover officer was to infiltrate suspected dangerous fringes of animal rights protesters and activist groups in London.
Despite already being married and having two children, during his undercover work, Bob had relationships with four women in the groups, two were long term. He would spend part of the week with the woman before disappearing off to be with his wife and two children elsewhere. One of the women was Jacqui, who has now courageously come forward to tell her story to the press.
Jacqui was 22 years of age when she first met Bob Robinson (Lambert) in 1984. He was like her, an animal rights activist. However, while Jacqui was a genuine hunt saboteur, Bob was of course, posing as such. They became romantically linked and were in a relationship when Jacqui found out she was pregnant with her first child.
In 1985, Bob was with her throughout the 14 hour labour that delivered her son. Jacqui thought that this was his first child too, but of course he already had two children. She describes the birth of her son as the most intimate moment of her life yet, in her words now; she shared it with a ghost.
Two years later, Bob disappeared without a trace. Jacqui was distraught and tormented and her son was left without a father. All she had left of Bob was photographs and memories.
Jacqui was able to find love again though, with a man that loved her son as much as he loved her. Challenges were met when he was going through the legal process for adoption. Social services became involved trying to locate Bob, the natural father. The attempts made to locate Bob Robinson by official were unsurprisingly unsuccessful. An informant, Mrs Moseley, who shared the same flat with him in London disclosed that Bob Robinson’s whereabouts are unknown.
She confirmed that she felt that Bob was unlikely to surface in the future due to his intense political involvement with the Animal Liberation Movement Activities. Jacqui now believes that Mrs Moseley was a plant, used in an attempt to prevent her and social services trying to track Bob down further.
Three decades later, some of the former campaigners that Bob had stood alongside, made the link between the academic that had previously been a counter-terrorism detective was also the man that they had known as Bob Robinson. Jacqui, read the report in a newspaper and learned the truth.
The intentions of the Special Demonstration Squad and its officers remain the subject of an internal police investigation and will be reviewed under an impending inquiry. The former undercover officers, Bob Lambert included, have been advised that they will not face prosecution for their roles. It is known that the work of the Special Demonstration Squad was so secret that even within itself, only a select few members knew what it was doing. Bob Lambert was one of a number of officers sent on long-term undercover missions. Criticisms have been drawn in respect of the secrecy of the work, focused on the fact that there was little oversight of what the officers were doing, and there was no efforts made to monitor or question the tactics of the officers, or of course provide support or assistance to the officers if they became too sucked into their undercover alter-ego.
Jacqui and the other women, wanted answers from the former bosses of Scotland Yard. In particular, why women were targeted. They soon found that the Metropolitan Police Force were not willing to confirm or deny the activity of the Special Demonstration Squad, a commonly used legal defence tactic. Their defence began to fail as the former officers began to speak out in public and of course because of the physical evidence of Jacqui’s son.
The Force has now admitted that both Bob Lambert and another man, Jim Boyling, were indeed officers for the Special Demonstration Squad. However, it also stated that it has never had a policy that officers can use sexual relations for the purposes of a police investigation. This position was also maintained in Operation Herne, an internal review in light of the allegations made by former Special Demonstration Squad officer Peter Francis.
Since the time of these types of investigations, it is thought that the training for undercover operations has greatly improved and is now reinforced by law under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.
At Farleys, our specialised Actions Against the Police team have a great deal of experience in bringing all kinds of claims against the police where they have acted inappropriately. For further information or to speak to us about pursuing a claim against the Police, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us by email or call us on 0333 331 4598.