A GOVERNMENT inquiry confirmed yesterday that a police spy infiltrated an environmental campaign group and had a long-term sexual relationship with one of its members.
But the victim concerned, Helen Steel, called it a “travesty” that the police had taken so long to acknowledge the truth of allegations made years ago.
She also slammed the continuing cover-up over the numbers of police spies who infiltrated campaign groups and trade unions and struck up exploitative relationships with women activists.
The inquiry into undercover policing, headed by Sir Christopher Pitchford, was launched in March last year after police infiltration of environmental groups, trade unions and other campaign groups was exposed.
The Metropolitan Police operates a “neither confirm nor deny” policy on questions about its undercover activities, which were carried out by its Special Demonstration Squad.
Ms Steel, who has been a campaigner on environmental issues for more than three decades, met the man she knew as John Barker — in reality police agent John Dines — at a meeting in London in 1987, leading to a long-term relationship between them.
After yesterday’s official confirmation of Mr Barker’s true identity, Ms Steel said: “While I welcome the official admission that my former partner John Dines was an undercover policeman in the Special Demonstration Squad, it is a travesty that the police have been allowed to take this long to confirm what I and others exposed years ago.”
She said police still refused to admit the truth about other undercover officers who forged relationships with women activists, citing the case of police spy Mark Jenner, who had a relationship with a woman campaigner for five years.
Ms Steel said: “We and other women similarly deceived have had no disclosure at all about how these abusive relationships were allowed to happen. Instead, we have been subjected to intrusive demands for evidence of the effects of the abuse.
“None of those responsible for this abuse have been held to account. Even those still employed by the police have kept their jobs.”
The Blacklist Support Group, which is demanding the truth about police involvement in the blacklisting of building workers, said: “Helen Steel is an inspiration to us all.”