Lush's #SPYCOPS campaign returns to Peterborough after being suspended due to '˜aggressive behaviour' towards staff
Lush's controversial #SPYCOPS campaign has returned to stores, including the Queensgate branch in Peterborough, after it was suspended over the well-being and safety concerns of staff.
Posters in windows featuring an image of a man, dressed half as a police officer and half in plain clothes, accused police of “spying” and being “paid to lie”.
Lush said they were removed last week “for the safety of our staff” after reports of intimidation.
RELATED: Controversy as Spy-Cops poster taken down from Peterborough store after visit from off-duty officerThe campaign has now been resumed with new store displays, only featuring text that reads: “Over 1,000 campaign groups spied on by at least 250 undercover police officers. Infiltrating lives, homes and beds of activists for 50 years.
“May’s public inquiry: 3 years, £10 million, increasingly secret, going nowhere.”
A Lush spokesperson said: “It has been incredibly clear over this last week that the plight of the spy cops victims has universal support from all who hear of it.
“Therefore we have taken away the distraction of, what turned out to be, a controversial visual to return the focus onto the shocking facts.”
Activist group Police Spies Out Of Lies (PSOOL), who teamed up with Lush for the campaign, said the initial posters had been removed after staff members faced “aggressive behaviour and verbal attacks” from critics.
Lush maintained #SPYCOPS was not an anti-police campaign attacking forces as whole, instead aimed at “a controversial branch of political undercover policing that ran for many years before being exposed”.
The displays attracted criticism upon their release on June 1, with Home Secretary Sajid Javid saying: “Never thought I would see a mainstream British retailer running a public advertising campaign against our hardworking police. This is not a responsible way to make a point ”
The Police Federation called the campaign “an insult to the hard work, professionalism and dedication of police officers throughout the UK”.
Ongoing police inquiry
Lush is calling on Javid to take action ensuring the Undercover Policing Inquiry – which is investigating covert operations conducted by police forces in England and Wales since 1968 – gets back on track.
In a petition supported by over 2,000 signatures, Lush asked Javid to disclose the cover names of the officers, the names of the groups they “spied on” and the personal files of victims.
It also requested a panel of experts be enlisted to assist the Chair of the Inquiry, and the inquiry be extended to Scotland.
Postcards addressed to Javid are available for the public to sign and send.
Victims, ex-wives and children of the so-called “spy-cops” have come out in support of Lush’s fight for justice.
After the campaign was resumed yesterday, Wednesday June 13, PSOOL said: “We’re very happy that this campaign has drawn so much attention at all – we have been fighting for years to raise public awareness, and Lush has certainly helped to catapult the issue into the public consciousness in a way that we have never achieved by ourselves.”
Big issue in Peterborough
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.