Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry
The Metropolitan Police have issued an unprecedented public apology to women who were lured into sexual relationships with undercover police officers working to infiltrate protest groups.
Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said the officers involved were “abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong” when they embarked on serious relationships with the unknowing women.
I acknowledge that these relationships were a violation of the women’s human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma. I unreservedly apologise on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service. I am aware that money alone cannot compensate the loss of time, their hurt or the feelings of abuse caused by these relationships.
Some women had relationships lasting for years with undercover police, whom they had accepted as fellow protesters.
Victims have described their bewilderment when their former partners suddenly vanished from their lives, compounded by shock when they finally learned their truth.
Mr Hewitt said the women had been “deceived pure and simple” and many had suffered serious long-term harm as a result.
He said that the relationships “should never have happened” and the fact that they “may well have reflected attitudes towards women that should have no part in the culture of the Metropolitan Police”.
The public apology was part of a settlement made today with seven women who had brought legal action against the force.
The Met Police has paid significant sums in compensation to other women, including more than £400,000 paid to a woman who had a baby fathered by a police officer who then abandoned her to bring up the child alone.
One woman, who had two children by an undercover police spy and whose identity has been protected by ITV News, today described the damage done to her family as she said her former partner had turned out to be an "actor" and “a complete stranger”.
Despite the extensive apology, the police have yet to acknowledge the harm being done by children being born into relationships such as these which [Mr Hewitt] is very categorical are abusive and manipulative. And I am certain there are many more children out there who have yet to find out their circumstances.