Controversy as Spy-Cops poster taken down from Peterborough store after visit from off-duty officer
Cambridgeshire police are investigating complaints into tweets after an off duty officer visited a branch of Lush in Peterborough and a controversial 'Spy-Cops' advertising poster was removed.
Paddy Reeve was out shopping with his family in the Queensgate shopping centre in the city when he saw the poster hanging in the window of the cosmetics firm.
The campaign has put Lush under fire after it joined forces with with activist group Police Spies Out of Lives, which raises awareness of the actions of some undercover police officers who are alleged to have “infiltrated the lives, homes and beds of activists”.
The poster said 'paid to lie' with a picture of a man's face split in two =- one side a person in a police uniform, and the other in civilian clothes.Mr Reeve went into the store and had 'a polite conversation' with managers in the shop - and shortly afterwards the poster was removed.
Mr Reeve tweeted about his actions - as did Liz Groom, chair of the Cambridgeshire Police Federation.
Mr Reeve said: "As a result of me visiting Lush, Peterborough, their terribly misleading marketing campaign was removed from their window. #FlushLush"
Mrs Groom said: "One of our officers went and had a polite and constructive discussion with the manager of @LushLtd Peterborough who then removed the display. Seems some of their staff are sensible and care about our feelings after all #Lushpolice #FlushLush"
A police spokesperson said: “We can confirm that an off duty officer went into the Peterborough Lush store on Friday (1 June) and had a polite conversation with the manager of the store.“The officer expressed his personal concern about the display and how the campaign had upset him and his family and asked if the manager would pass his comments and feedback onto her management. “At no point did he tell or ask the member of staff to remove the display. “While the officer was outside the store he saw a staff member remove the display and chose to record it and post it to his personal Twitter account. “The force has received complaints about the officer’s, and a member of the Police Federation’s, tweets, which are being addressed.”
A spokesman for Lush said: "Whilst intimidation of our shop staff from ex-police officers and unhelpful tweets from those in high office are ongoing, not all of our shops feel able today to have the campaign window in their shops. However the campaign is still running for three weeks and we will be constantly weighing up what to do about the situation."The issue of 'Spy-cops' has received a lot of attention in Peterborough as current city Councillor Andy Coles worked as an undercover police officer.
Protesters have attended Peterborough City Council meetings, leading to the public gallery at The Town Hall to be closed.
He told the Peterborough Telegraph he was 'deployed to infiltrate “some of the most committed and violent animal liberation extremists operating in the UK in the early 1990s,'The Tory member for Fletton and Woodston on Peterborough City Council also publicly denied allegations against him after claims he had a relationship with a young activist called “Jessica” while working as an undercover officer.