15:14 GMT01 August 2021
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    The officer was a member of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), which was formed in 1968 in order to infiltrate protest groups in the United Kingdom. The unit’s first operation was to carry out surveillance of groups demonstrating against the Vietnam War near the US Embassy in London.

    An undercover female Scotland Yard officer reportedly had sex with her spying target, said QC Rajiv Menon. He made the allegation during a hearing that was held on 13 November. The officer in question, who is now deceased, was named Helen Crampton. In 1968, Crampton infiltrated the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign (VSC) with another undercover officer, Joan Hillier.

    During Friday’s inquiry, Menon questioned Hillier.

    He asked: "To the best of your knowledge or belief, did your former colleague Helen Crampton have some kind of intimate relationship or go out with a member of the Notting Hill Vietnam Solidarity Campaign?”
    Hillier, who is now 80 years old, replied: "I don’t know the – of course I don’t know for certain, but I would say I doubt it very much".

    Menon then mentioned that he was privy to information about Helen Crampton’s possible intimate relationship with George Cochrane, a prominent British activist against the Vietnam War. 

    The inquiry into the Special Demonstration Squad and National Public Order Intelligence Unit, which replaced the SDS, was launched in 2014 by then-Home Secretary Theresa May. The investigation came in response to allegations that the Scotland Yard unit had investigated the family of Stephen Lawrence in order to find dirt on him. Lawrence was killed when he was 18 in a racially motivated attack.

    The inquiry is looking into how more than 100 undercover officers had spied on more than 1,000 political groups.

    Rajiv Menon, one of the lawyers representing the alleged victims of SDS officers, noted that if the allegation turns out to be true, it would be the "very first example of an officer of the SDS engaging in some form of intimate relationship with a member of a target organisation".

    Results at All Costs

    This is the second time that an undercover female Scotland Yard officer has been accused of sleeping with an activist during the operation. Lynn Watson, who spied on anti-war activists and environmentalists in Leeds between 2002 and 2008, is said to have had sex with an activist in a tent at a climate protest.

    More than a dozen male officers have been accused of starting sexual relationships with their targets during undercover operations. At least three men had children with women they met undercover.

    Last month it was reported that Scotland Yard had apologised and paid substantial compensation to a man who was fathered by an undercover officer. The officer, Bob Lambert, disappeared after the boy turned two years old. Lambert's son, who is referred to in the lawsuit as TBS, learned at the age of 26 that his father was not a left-wing protester, a revelation that he says resulted in psychiatric damage. Scotland Yard previously paid TBS’ mother, Jacqui, 425,000 pounds ($560,000) in compensation.

    Metropolitan Police, undercover police operative (UCO), undercover agent, United Kingdom, Scotland Yard
    Community standardsDiscussion