Dorset PCC defends Lush ‘spy cops’ campaign

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PCC Martyn Underhill said Lush’s owner Mark Constadine had made donations towards his election campaigns

A police boss has defended Lush’s heavily criticised publicity campaign over the so-called UK “spy cops” scandal.

The cosmetics chain has said it wanted to highlight the “undercover policing scandal” but denied it was anti-police.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill described infiltration of animal rights activists as “disproportionate and distasteful”.

“In short, I do support Lush in exposing this issue,” he added.

A public inquiry into claims of wrongdoing by undercover officers who infiltrated activist groups in England and Wales was set up in 2015.

Dorset-based Lush said it wanted to urge Home Secretary Sajid Javid to listen to campaigners who have accused the inquiry of protecting officers.

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Lush UK has changed its social media branding to reflect the campaign

Mr Underhill said the campaign “centres around the actions of a very specific unit of undercover officers based in London” who “using fake names of children who died, targeted animal rights campaigners in order to initiate relationships”.

He said a “number of those officers” then “effectively set up home with these women, had children with them, despite having pre-existing families ‘in real life’ and then just disappeared from their ‘fake’ lives”.

“In my view these deployments were disproportionate and distasteful,” he added.

In 2014, he said he met with then Policing Minister Sir Mike Penning “to discuss these concerning deployments”.

Mr Underhill also revealed “in the interests of transparency” the owner of Lush, Mark Constadine, made donations towards both of his election campaigns.

He added: “Nothing was offered or exchanged, then or now, for those donations.”

Che Donald, vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, has previously described the campaign as “very poorly thought out”.

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The Lush UK Facebook page has received 30,000 negative reviews, mostly in the past 48 hours.

The campaign is set to run at all Lush shops in the UK until 17 June.

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