The Met Police should face a public inquiry over affairs by undercover officers


11:01 am - November 20th 2012

by Jenny Jones AM    


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The most powerful voices talking about undercover officers and the best way to start this article, is to hear directly from the women affected:

I feel cheated, I feel I was violated in a cruel way, almost like a prostitute. That it wasn’t a real relationship. He had his real relationship, he was married with children.

This person who I spent so much of my life with and you know who I really loved and who I lived with and I don’t even know his name. All the photographs that I’ve got, all memories I’ve got are of a nameless stranger. What do you do with that?

When the scandal of undercover officers was first exposed, we heard from senior police that it was “never acceptable” for undercover officers to have sex with people they were targeting, commenting that “something has gone badly wrong here. We would not be where we are if it had not.” It was the classic bad apple defence.

I was told by the Met that no authority is ever granted for an undercover officer to engage in a sexual relationship whilst deployed on an authorised police operation. So why are there so many apparent examples?

I have faced an uphill struggle to get answers from the Met while they insist on fighting a case against eight women and one man, who claim they were deceived into forming relationships with undercover officers, and the Met seems determined to have this case heard in secret.

If the case is heard at the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, as the Met wants, rather than in Court it will be so secretive that if the women lose their case they will not be told why and will not have the right to appeal. They also do not get to see any of the evidence being presented nor will the lawyers acting on their behalf, who are also shut out of this Tribunal. How can these women have any confidence in a system they are not able to participate in?

It looks like the Met are adamant to prevent these women – who have had their lives disrupted in the most invasive way – from hearing evidence or scrutising police actions. The Mayor and the Met should admit that what has happened was wrong and simply apologise to the women whose personal lives have been intruded upon, rather than fighting an expensive court case and wasting public money on lawyers.

There are allegations that undercover officers have fathered children with woman they were targeting. Does this not mean the Met has some parental responsibility for these children? Do the children, who are now young adults, not have the right to know the real name of their legal father?

Continually I am told lessons have been learnt and guidance to officers changed. However, the guidance is confidential so I am told to trust the Met. Just as I was told to trust them over phone hacking. With each new revelation the Met’s response has been that this was a one off and could not happen again.

Of the undercover officers exposed, seven of the nine that I am aware of engaged in long-term relationships and approached the women in each case in a similar way – this indicates a pattern of behaviour rather than the actions of lone officers. Meanwhile the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime claims to have no specific political oversight of domestic undercover operations despite the Metropolitan Police Authority agreeing to have oversight in this area before it was abolished. If the police continue to refuse to be scrutinised by the people who are elected to oversee their work, then a full public inquiry is the only solution.

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About the author
This is a guest post. Jenny Jones is a London Assembly Member, representing the Green Party. She is also leader of the Green Group and Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Civil liberties ,Crime ,Our democracy

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Reader comments


Grow up.

It’s a tough World out there.
Watch any half-decent cop show and it will be full of overational and moral dilemmas and ambiguities.

What would you do, if your family’s lives depended on the intel?

“What would you do, if your family’s lives depended on the intel?”

As Gobbels used to say: Those who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear.

Of course, the more relevant questions are about how many of these undercover operations into social protest groups are to protect the public from harm rather than to protect the politics of the government? Another is why do undercover police find it necessary to develop relationships with women in social protest groups? If the operations are directed against terrorist cells or criminal gangs, there could be a valid justification, but with social protest groups? C’mon.

These women have never been arrested or charged with any crime.

Such operations cost a large amount of public money, yet there appears to be no public scrutiny of their cost effectiveness. Just how much valuable intel is produced as a result of this expense and has any related to campaigners actions which might endanger any ones life, or even prevented injury?

There are significant questions about who the police deem to be ‘domestic terrorists’ and who they target in this way.

Bob B

Well yes, but a Public inquiry? Surely not.

Would you include Greenpeace or the Animal Liberation crowd in your list of social groups? IMHO, once violence is threatened, then undercover detective work is justified.

5. Chaise Guevara

I suppose there may be risks in making the information public, if these people are still in the field, but you kinda feel that in that case they should be withdrawn so that the victims can have an even-handed trial. Not giving their lawyers access to evidence is insane. I can’t imagine what it was like for these people to find out, but it must have been horrifying.

Minor point, but I notice that you mentioned a male victim then went to extraordinary lengths to exclude him from your calls for justice, repeatedly only talking about the women. I am racking my brains as to your motivations here but am struggling to come up with anything. Could you explain?

@ Shrugged

“What would you do, if your family’s lives depended on the intel?”

A line that compassion-free people also often use to justify torture.

Shrugged

“Would you include Greenpeace or the Animal Liberation crowd in your list of social groups? IMHO, once violence is threatened, then undercover detective work is justified.”

Agreed that Greenpeace and Animal Liberation activities have exhibited violence – or threatened violence – there are still issues about the cost-effectiveness of undercover police surveillance operations and even more so about undercover operators developing relationships with women activists in those organisations to the extent of fathering children. Do the fathers have to pay maintenance for the siblings and does that come out of public spending?

Watch any half-decent cop show and it will be full of overational and moral dilemmas and ambiguities.

Also fantasy and might not reflect the real world. Which is apparently news to some.

8. Churm Rincewind

Maybe this is exactly the kind of situation that could be best addressed, if not prevented, by some sort of system of holding the police to account by way of a locally elected official answerable directly to the public.

They could be called “Police and Crime Commissioners”.

It doesn’t matter how many members of the police force past or present come on here to justify their ‘methods’, the fact is they have got a considerable job on their hands convincing anybody who has had any relationship with Hillsborough, Orgreave or the 1000s of people who have died when in police ‘care’.
Fathering children, immorally and illegitimately is just another means of achieving ‘justice’ like altering a witness statement or colluding with fellow officers in the construction of the same.

IMHO, once violence is threatened, then undercover detective work is justified.

Which of the women threatened violence?

Churm: “Maybe this is exactly the kind of situation that could be best addressed, if not prevented”

I do get the point but for all the powers of the newly elected Commissioners, the police reserve unto themselves decisions about “operational details”, which would naturally include those secretive undercover surveillance operations. We do need some institutional checking system at least after the event, if not before, to hold the police to account.

Something not touched on is that the undercover police have to be well endowed with talents in duplicity. Is this an aptitude we should especially value in our police? There’s not much of the legendary “policing by consent” if police are recruited and promoted for their talents in duplicity.

In the 1960s when anarchist terrorists lived in squats where Pot, LSD and free love were then norm you’d think police spies would have to conform and get involved in drugged orgies. Do you think this sounds fantasy. I thought it fantasy in the early 1970s.
This fantasy view was forced on us with the trial of the Guildford four. The newspapers fed us with a story of hippies
living in a squat & getting stoned on pot & acid & driving stolen cars to drive around and plant bombs in a Guildford pub frequented by military, and one or two other places. Four innocent people were sent to jail for crimes they did not commit. For a long time millions believed they were guilty. British Justice is supposed to be ‘The Best in The World’. These people were jailed as a result of forced confessions rather than police surveillance.
I do not think this debacle leaves the judiciary blameless. The legal profession needs to show where it stands on ‘agents provocateur’, and some of these deep cover cops were already doing this as well as having sexual relationships. Sometimes they made transport available or advised people how to cut fences etc.
The judiciary should discourage this sort of policing by dismissing more cases.

Anthony Goddard: “The judiciary should discourage this sort of policing by dismissing more cases.”

A telling point there. Juries in trials with evidence from undercover operators should be warned that these operators are talented at the arts of duplicity and juries need to weigh that in considering the reliability of their testimony.

A memorable case was how a woman police officer tried to entrap Colin Stagg into admitting to the murder of Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common on 15 July 1992.

“Over a period of five months she attempted to obtain information from him by feigning a romantic interest, meeting him, speaking to him on the telephone and exchanging letters containing sexual fantasies. During a meeting in Hyde Park, they spoke about the Nickell murder, but Stagg later claimed that he had only played along with the topic because he wanted to pursue the romance. . . An internal review estimated that the pursuit of Stagg had cost the Metropolitan Police Force £3 million.”

At the subsequent trial of Stagg in September 1994, the judge stopped the case saying the police had tried to incriminate the suspect by using “deceptive conduct of the grossest kind”.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Rachel_Nickell

In 2008, another man – Robert Napper – was convicted of the manslaughter of Rachell Nickell after pleading guilty.

The details of the case are worth reading because of the many insights that can be gained over the extraordinary lengths the police will go to in order to obtain the conviction of someone they wrongly believe to be guilty of murder. In this case, the undercover woman police officer used feigned sexual attraction as a means of attempting to entrap Colin Stagg – so this issue is not just a case of duplicitous men acting as undercover operatives.

Minor point, but I notice that you mentioned a male victim then went to extraordinary lengths to exclude him from your calls for justice, repeatedly only talking about the women. I am racking my brains as to your motivations here but am struggling to come up with anything. Could you explain?

Especially in light of the Colin Stagg case mentioned sbove.

15. Chaise Guevara

@ Bob B

I remember reading about that. It was a ludicrous attempt at entrapment. His first sex fantasy was too gentle, so she invited him to write a darker one. And so on.

@ Shatterface

Indeed. We don’t even know whether the victims of this are skewed by gender, and if so which way. What we have is a statistically irrelevant sample, and an author going out of her way to ignore the male victim.

The only real issue here is should we be keeping relatively harmless people under surveillance like this? I mean compared to drug gangs and real terrorists, paedophile rings and the like, does scaling a cooling tower or occupying tree houses or even, whisper it, violence against vivisectionists* constitute a threat to national security? As for having sex with the people they happen to be keeping tabs on? People have sex with people who lie to them all the time and nothing is ever said. I know guys that tell women that they are just back from a tour of duty with the SAS to get into the pants of women, but it seems to work. On the other hand, some of the best looking guys I know tell women they are single and they are never short of action.

*No, I am not condoning violence against such people, but there are dozens of families around here who need to be put under constant surveillance if that is the criteria.

17. Chaise Guevara

@ 16 Jim

While none of them are good things to do, there’s a difference between a man lying about how cool his job is to attract a woman at a bar, and entering an apparently committed, long-term relationship when the “you” that they know is a complete lie.

@OP, Jenny Jones: “There are allegations that undercover officers have fathered children with woman they were targeting. Does this not mean the Met has some parental responsibility for these children? Do the children, who are now young adults, not have the right to know the real name of their legal father?”

Are you sure you understand what you are asking for?

We, who are personally unaffected by what happened, can demand facts and explanations. We need to know what happened to ensure that it does not happen again. We don’t need to know the identities of undercover officers to establish the facts.

Those who were directly involved may have different needs or expectations from us. It is unlikely that their different needs will be served by a public inquiry. I can’t conceive easy ways to answer their questions. I don’t know how a woman can be helped to answer the question “Tell me about my dad”.

@OP, Jenny Jones: “Meanwhile the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime claims to have no specific political oversight of domestic undercover operations despite the Metropolitan Police Authority agreeing to have oversight in this area before it was abolished.”

This is a remarkably ingenuous protestation. The undercover officers would have been members of Special Branch or its successors, not the CID. They may have been officers from London, perhaps from other authorities with a Special Branch equivalent. Where ever they were from, they were accountable to UK security services. If the MPA agreed or claimed oversight, they lied or were mistaken.

Mata Hari, anyone?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mata_Hari

Or any number of cold war ‘honey traps’?

Jim @ 16 nails it:

“As for having sex with the people they happen to be keeping tabs on? People have sex with people who lie to them all the time and nothing is ever said.”

Any woman (or man) planning potentially violent or destructive acts of protest should surely be tough enough to cope with (and be prepared for?) sexual deceit by an undercover officer.

CG @ 5:

““What would you do, if your family’s lives depended on the intel?”

A line that compassion-free people also often use to justify torture.”

Yes. But, arguably, the end can justify the means. (Presumably, you’d lie to protect someone from a known homicidal maniac?)

And, as for torture, it depends what you mean by the term. To me, sleep deprivation, white noise, face-slapping, food deprivation and even water-boarding are not torture, whereas pulling fingernails, using electric prods, burning and cutting flesh, and the breaking of bones most definitely are. (But then I’m in a minority here.)

What interrogation techniques are used must depend on the severity of the threat or crime. If I have strong and reasonable grounds for believing that you know the location of a bomb you have hidden in central Manchester, then water-boarding and some rough treatment would be more than acceptable. If we are seeking the location of some mega-loot or a stash of drugs, face-slapping and water-boarding would not be appropriate.

Bob B @ 2:

“As Gobbels [sic] used to say: Those who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear.”

Do you have a source for this attribution, please?

As in all public policy, such decisions have largely to be made on utilitarian grounds. Try working your way through this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism

And consider the Kantian/personalist alternative: when the homicidal maniac

15
Chaise: “I remember reading about that. It was a ludicrous attempt at entrapment. His first sex fantasy was too gentle, so she invited him to write a darker one. And so on.”

What emerged at the aborted trial of Colin Stagg about the attempted entrapment was like something from third rate crime fiction. Unwelcome consequences flow from that because the police came to be widely regarded as capable of duplicitous actions on a grand scale. There were substantial costs to the public purse from police obsessions about pursuing someone they wrongly believed to be guilty by entirely disreputable methods on the familiar principle that ends justify the means, the rationalisation of every despot.

Don’t tar all police forces with the same brush. The principal agencies in these cases have been ACPO, which runs the undercover operations, and the Met. ACPO is an organisation that has taken some questionable turns recently. A sensible government might want to think about their use of public money and assumption of powers above what might be considered reasonable for such a body. I’d welcome any inquiry that brought these issues into the public eye.

23. Chaise Guevara

@ 20 Bob B

In defence of the police, while they should have known better, the case was being handled by a celebrated profiler. He was something of a household name, widely respected, and they probably assumed he knew what he was doing.

One of the frightening things is that this guy, either at the time or afterwards, convinced himself that Stagg had introduced all relevant elements to the dialogue himself. Which is the opposite of true. See the fantasy letters thing above, or the fact that she told him that she would find it very attractive if he was the murderer.

Shrugged: “Would you include Greenpeace or the Animal Liberation crowd in your list of social groups?”

Maybe certain Animal Liberation organisations… but last time I checked, Greenpeace was a legal protest organisation. I appreciate most right wingers think it shouldn’t be legal, but it definitely is.

Are you seriously saying that if you become a member of a perfectly legal organisation whose activities the police wish to investigate, it is acceptable for the police to ruin a decade or more of your life in this way?

TONE: “If I have strong and reasonable grounds for believing that you know the location of a bomb you have hidden in central Manchester, then water-boarding and some rough treatment would be more than acceptable.”

But chances are you wouldn’t find the bomb.

Because either:

(A) You’re correct that they know where the bomb is – but they lie about it, and by the time you’ve rushed to the wrong scene it’s too late. If the person isn’t actually a psychopath (i.e. incapable of guilt/empathy), normal interrogation techniques will probably work better.
(B) You’re wrong that they know where the bomb is – and they lie to stop you torturing them. Same result.

Either way, you’re torturing someone, which is morally unacceptable in the first place, regardless of what they’ve done. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

26. Chaise Guevara

@ 20 TONE

“Yes. But, arguably, the end can justify the means. (Presumably, you’d lie to protect someone from a known homicidal maniac?)”

Definitely, although I don’t consider lying to be an evil in the first place.

“And, as for torture, it depends what you mean by the term. To me, sleep deprivation, white noise, face-slapping, food deprivation and even water-boarding are not torture, whereas pulling fingernails, using electric prods, burning and cutting flesh, and the breaking of bones most definitely are. (But then I’m in a minority here.)”

They are things designed to be unbearable, done either to control the victim or simply to hurt them. If they are not torture, what are they for?

What you’ve got there is a list of tortuous activities that are favoured by torturers because the general public (with its usual habit of never forming an opinion without first reading up on the subject extensively, of course) thinks that they sound less torture-y.

“What interrogation techniques are used must depend on the severity of the threat or crime. If I have strong and reasonable grounds for believing that you know the location of a bomb you have hidden in central Manchester, then water-boarding and some rough treatment would be more than acceptable.”

See Jungle above, although I agree that there are hypothetical scenarios where it’s justified (e.g. torturing one evildoer to prevent 20 innocents being tortured).

@25 Yep, torture, or forms of torture people have decided aren’t torture, are very good at obtaining information. But they are not very good at obtaining accurate information.

Course nowadays every cunt thinks they’re Jack fucking Bauer.

23 Chaise

I’m unconvinced about the value of “profiling”. It can go badly wrong because the police tend to focus on the profile to the exclusion of other leads.

I was living with young family in W Yorkshire at the time of the Yorkshire Ripper, who was interviewed twice in routine inquiries by the police and not picked up. Instead, the police focused (obsessively) on a bogus, teasing message in a Geordie accent they received on a cassette tape. The message was analysed in depth for language and accent, broadcast in shopping centres for public recognition etc.

Eventually, the Ripper was picked up by pure chance, two murders later, in Sheffield, S Yorkshire, when all previous murders had been in W Yorkshire, except one, if I remember rightly, over in Lancashire. He was caught in a quiet area of Sheffield by the local vice squad after being observed in a car engaged with a professional sex worker (one lucky lady). Questioned in the police station, he confessed to being the Ripper. Unsurprisingly, on conviction he was consigned to Broadmoor.

I’ve some sympathy with the police in cases like that because the victims were chosen virtually at random and murdered horribly so it is very challenging to develop any insight into rational motivation. The Met police used profiling in the case of Rachel Nickell and that led them (wrongly) to Colin Stagg whom they tried to entrap by feeding him with sex fantasies. Eventually, years later they came upon the real killer, already in Broadmoor for another murder.

If there are lessons to be learned it is mainly about the diagnosis and treatment of paranoid schizophrenics IMHO, not about the value of “profiling”.

28

Although I agree with you about the dangers of profiling,but throwing ‘paranoid schizophrenia’ into the mix is a red-herring. You are far less likely to be murdered by a stranger with paranoid schizophrenia than someone with no diagnosis of mental illness.

Peter Sutcliffe, as one example of a serial killer, managed to hold down a job and his wife recognized nothing unusual about him, it’s very unlikely that someone with schizophrenia would have managed this, in fact the jury in his trial rejected it. However, it is convenient that he is being held under a section at Broadmoor Hospital because he will never be released. This is why Ian Brady wanted his mental health tribunal held in public, it is unlikely that he ever suffered from schizophrenia, both probably have a psychopathic personality disorder which, until quite recently, was not considered to be treatable, therefore it wasn’t a reason to detain those people in a psychiatric hospital.

Of course, when someone with schizophrenia murders someone, the diagnosis becomes the most significant factor, at least as far as media coverage. The thing is, the act if often not the result of the symptoms, and under those circumstances, the offender would receive a prison sentence rather than be sent to the forensic services.

But it makes us all feel better that the likes of people such as Ian Brady, committed those terrible acts because they ‘couldn’t help themselves’.

30. domestic extremist

The Met seems to have a lot of friends posting on this thread. Still, it does have an extraordinarily large PR department, so I suppose it keeps them all looking as if they’re busy serving the public interest.

29

I agree that, as a fact: “You are far less likely to be murdered by a stranger with paranoid schizophrenia than someone with no diagnosis of mental illness.”

I also agree – not least from direct personal experience of two cases – that it can range from difficult to impossible for the untutored to detect paranoid schizophrenia. When I moved to a job in London in the late 1980s, for two years I rented a room in an apartment. Two years on, shortly before I was scheduled to move out, the landlord started to behave strangely and I returned one evening to the apartment to find him kneeling directly in front of the TV set praying to it. This unnerved me (naturally) and I started phoning around his relatives and friends. Only then did it emerge that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had stopped taking his medication, apparently because he thought he didn’t need it any longer.

Since then, I’ve taken a special personal interest in reading press accounts of homicides which are traced, sometimes with much difficulty, to killers who are diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia before or after their act of homicide.

In the news today:

“Patient care of schizophrenics at all time low”, The Independent has reported, while Sky News called the treatment of schizophrenia patients “shameful”, and the BBC said care was falling “catastrophically short”. . .
http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/clinical-zones/mental-health/schizophrenia-care-failings-outlined/5051871.article?blocktitle=Behind-the-Headlines&contentID=4530

@31. Bob B: “Only then did it emerge that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had stopped taking his medication, apparently because he thought he didn’t need it any longer.”

I’ve had a similar experience and have learned from it. I’ve used it to understand risk.

My experience did not inform me about how to identify unstable people; it probably made me realise how difficult it is. But it helped me to understand that when you give somebody a “red button”, you create risk; to reduce risk, you reduce the number of people who can press a “red button”.

31

Unfortunately, care for people with schizophrenia is going to get worse but that’s for another thread.

The incident you cite about a former landlord would have been disturbing but this really makes my point, people with untreated schizophrenia, such as your ex-landlord who failed to take his medication, will show signs and are unlikely to continue with their (normal) day to day routines. Peter Sutcliffe and Ian Brady were able to lead an outwardly normal life and Sutcliffe’s wife did not notice anything abnormal, that is why I question their diagnosis and suggest that it is one of convenience.

Conversly, there are people serving prison sentences who have schizophrenia but where it has been determined that their illness had nothing to do with the reason they
carried-out the crime. Suggesting that paranoid schizophrenia is a significant factor in cases of murder is as helpful as suggesting that being a white male is a possible precondition for child murder on the basis that most child murderers are white males.

33

I mentioned that I had two direct personal experiences. The first was as a pre-teen. My parents took in a lodger, a medical student, to help pay the bills. A variety of his friends would periodically visit and I would sometimes chat informally with them. One, a music student, for some reason started to confide fears to me, perharps because there was a 10 or more years gap between our ages.

Young as I was, his fears were clearly disproportionate – I’d never heard the term “paranoia” or knew anything of significance about mental illness: I wasn’t even into my teens. He confided that on buses he would untie his shoe laces so it would be easier to escape. At night, in his lodging, lights would shine in at his bedroom windows (cars passing) because “they” were trying to keep him awake. And there were many like stories.

I mentioned this to my mother and to the medical student that I thought this strange but they initially dismissed this. In due course, the music student became a patient of Dr William Sargent at St Thomas’ and was then sent away to a secure hospital in Epsom for treatment by physical methods – ECT, as I recall but there could also have been insulin shock.

Disproportionate fears apart, he would speak rationally and fluently and he was a genuinely talented pianist up to concert standard.

35. Chaise Guevara

@ 28 Bob B

“I’m unconvinced about the value of “profiling”. It can go badly wrong because the police tend to focus on the profile to the exclusion of other leads.”

Agreed, and that’s so obviously what happened in the Stagg case. He fitted the profile very well (better than the actual killer), and once he’d been promoted to the police’s notice for that reason, they visited his house and found out he was a card-carrying “heathen”, which under the circumstances they no doubt found creepy, so at that point they were probably under the impression that they’d found their guy and just needed the proof.

(Anyone reading this who’s not familiar, btw, the profile included things like his age, gender and sexual experience. Hardly eclectic. And the profile is almost always the same.)

36. Chaise Guevara

@ steveb

“But it makes us all feel better that the likes of people such as Ian Brady, committed those terrible acts because they ‘couldn’t help themselves’.”

To be fair, if he did have a serious case of psychopathy, as I understand it, he would have seen no need to restrain himself assuming he thought he could get away with it. Of course, psychopathy in itself would not be enough to get him to commit that crime. It just would have made it easier for him to act on whatever motivation lead him to do it.

I doubt being a psychopath is ever the primary cause for a crime, unless the associated anger-management issues count. But it’s a bloody obvious risk factor.

Chaise: “I doubt being a psychopath is ever the primary cause for a crime, unless the associated anger-management issues count.”

Compare the (chilling) case of the serial killer Graham Young, who was apparently to all intents clearly rational except for an obsessive interest in toxicology and an irresistible inclination to test out poisons on colleagues and relatives so he could observe and note down the effects:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Young

There is lots on the web about Graham Young because of the extraordinary features of the case.

36

It is a commonly held view that people with psychopathy could not contain themselves but this is quite untrue, most psychopaths have high IQs and understand the social implications for all behaviours. Some of the most notorious serial killers were diagnosed as psychopaths, Ted Bundy and Fred West for example, Ian Brady has a diagnosis of psycopathy and psychosis. All managed to live outwardly normal lives and cover their murders very easily. And, as you note, psychopathy on its’own is not a precondition for violent crimes.

On the other hand, schizophrenia, can cause very strange behaviours, such as Bob B describes @29 & 34, the sufferer has a different view and belief system about the world around them and consequently during acute episodes of psychosis, are unaware that their behaviour is ‘abnormal’, that’s why I find it very hard to believe that Peter Sutcliffe has schizophrenia.

34
Although schizophrenia can produce stange behaviours, this does not mean that sufferers cannot be highly talented and hold down jobs with the right treatment. It’s when the illness isn’t controlled that it gets in the way of ‘normal activities.

39. Chaise Guevara

@ 38 steveb

“It is a commonly held view that people with psychopathy could not contain themselves but this is quite untrue, most psychopaths have high IQs and understand the social implications for all behaviours. ”

I know. Hence me saying “if he thought he would get away with it”, and saying he would see no need to restrain himself assuming he had reason to do said bad thing to begin with. The point is that a psychopath would not restrain themselves on what we would call moral grounds (although they might on ethical grounds, and it’s rare that I see a need to make that distinction but it applies here). I am absolutely not under the impression that “psychopath” means what it means in the layman “psycho” sense. It means, loosely, someone who lacks the capacity for empathy.

I think the high IQs thing is a myth, by the way.

39

There is research which suggests that psychopaths do have, on average, slightly higher IQs than the general population, but there are also psychopaths who have low IQs and a diagnosis of ‘learning disability’. And though we are discussing criminals here, most psychopaths do not focus their behaviours on criminal activity. There is good reason to believe that Donald Trump may be a psychopath (in the clinical sense), and his recent behaviours towards the small community in Scotland where he is planning to build a golf course, does nothing to contradict the view.

The term ‘sociopath’ is preferred in the USA and it’s starting to be used more widely in the UK on the basis that judging behaviours as ‘appropriate’ or ‘unappropriate’ or just simply good or bad is dependant on situation/environment.

I’m intrigued to learn whether Graham Young as @37 officially qualifies as a “psychopath”. He was held in Broadmoor as the result of his first killing spree but was then released as officially “cured”, whereupon he engaged in another killing spree after which he was sent to prison.

As reported, he appeared to be rational and intelligent and so qualified as “normal”, apart from his deep interest in poisons and testing the poisons out on those around him. There seems little to separate him out from some kinds of politicians except in the scale of their respective operations, while Young seems to have previously known the people he poisoned.

20,32 , One of the worse things about the Colin Stagg scandal was even after he was cleared the Daily mail ran an articel full of hint an dinnuendo that he was guilty afterall, Now the Mail of course at the same time ran an article sayign that teh men cleared Of Stephen Lawrence were guilty afterall, Now 2 of the 5 suspects have since been guilty, and the Mail congratulates itself on saying that epopel cleared of a crime were guilty afterall, But the fact the Mail had the article saying with innuendo that Stagg was guilty afterall, how long before another innocnet person is slandered by teh pres s and lynched, remember teh Peadiotrcian who’s house was petrol bombed becuase a lcal paer misunderstood it and said he was A peado,

or when DNA revealed James Hanratty was guilty afterall, all those who were saying his original conviction was a miscarrigae of justice went quiet, how long before other people who doogooders are inncoetn when they’re not or are cleared on technicalities are found guilty a second time under double jeopardy,

41

Hence the term ‘sociopath’ imo, more accurately describes people with a diagnosis of ‘psychopathy’.

As for the case of Graham Young, it’s difficult to comment without reading the case notes. However, The Mental Health Act (2007) widens the category of mental disorders which now includes all personality disorders, (the old 1959 & 1983 act did not acknowledge personality disorder as a mental health issue) If Green was diagnosed as schizophrenic, it could easily be argued that he was ‘cured’ when in fact he had a personality disorder which, at the time, could not be used to section or detain a person. Detained persons can appeal against their section after 6 months and thereafter, yearly, which usually involves a solicitor to represent them, and solicitors specializing in mental health act law are very knowledgable about clinical presentation.

The relevance here is whether undercover police who go around fathering children with women who belong to some group under surveillance can be considered to have a “personality disorder”.

Is this ground for dismissal from the police force or are there some, or indeed any, mitigating factors to take into account, such as an imperative need to maintain their undercover status?

Regarding the Mail ,slander and the pres thinking they were above the law and entrapment, what About David Norris being secretly recorded saying he’d like to stab not only every police officer and every black person, that was used in his murder trial ,and
When Rod Liddle wrote in the spectator that Gary Dobson was found guilty of throwing a chip wrapper at a off duty P.C in a car a few years ago, he was really found guilty of not being found guilty of Killing Stephen Lawrence, It may have been an inappropriate time to write it, but his view hit a nerve, that the presumption of innocence was missing at this new trial for the Killing Of Stephen Lawrence, as media outrage stoked by Liberals had created the abolition of double jeopardy and they wouldn’t be happy till they got the result they wanted, resulting in a third time his name being put up with the only evidence being DNA form some clothes he may have once worn to those Strands of blood and hair from Lawrence,

What If with the abolition of Double jeopardy some black men who were cleared of killing a white man get charged again with his killing despite being acquitted, and those on the hard left say with the abolition of double jeopardy, that Gary Dobson would have faced a retrial For Lawrence, but black men who kill a white man shouldn’t face retrial for his killing. David Norris and Gary Dobson had previously stabbed a white kid before stephen lawrence so the fact that Gary Nelson had previously shot a black man before P.C Patrick dunne doesn’t mean that the law didn’t have the right o firstly see if they felt that Nelson shooting dead Dunne was racist,

@45. john p reid: “…as media outrage stoked by Liberals had created the abolition of double jeopardy and they wouldn’t be happy till they got the result they wanted, resulting in a third time his name being put up with the only evidence being DNA form some clothes he may have once worn to those Strands of blood and hair from Lawrence.”

As a liberal, I have always disagreed with double jeopardy in criminal cases. Civil cases, of course, operate under different rules.

The Stephen Lawrence murder investigation was compromised. The Met and a public inquiry acknowledged racism as motivation for the murder and for failure of proper investigation. The Met and a public inquiry skirted around police corruption — absolutely dodged it — which is why the Lawrence investigation remains a problem.

@44. Bob B: “Is this ground for dismissal from the police force or are there some, or indeed any, mitigating factors to take into account, such as an imperative need to maintain their undercover status?”

The officers were not PC Plod. They weren’t undercover CID officers investigating economic crime, social crime etc.

The undercover police officers were operating on behalf of UK secret services. Their job was to sneak up on people to discover what they were doing. They were not accountable to the senior officers who employed them or to police authorities. They were “special agents”.

If the secret services wish to use “special agents”, they will do so. Whatever anyone says in government, the secret services do what they want.

Police officers should not be seconded to secret service work as “special agents”. The civil compromise between citizen and copper is that you can be nicked if you do something wrong; you cannot be nicked for thinking the wrong political idea.

44

It’s not a very good idea to pathologize any one particular behaviour, certainly there are examples of professionals having affairs with their clients and becoming fathers. It is a matter for looking at it within the framework of professional codes and practices, not labelling the person as suffering with a personality disorder.

Sunny Hundal has a good article in the guardian about one Tory trying to justify the low turnout as irrelevent by saying that t he results now give a democratic mandate for These commisioners to tell teh police to cut crime, but the mandate for these commisioners is not to concentrate on the polcing said ,but the accountability over budgets


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