Tag Archives: Undercover

The name is Plod, PC Plod‏

22 Jan

Other examples come to mind from the realms of fiction. James Bond is the most famous fictional example of a member of the intelligence services who used relationships with women to obtain information, or access to persons or property. Since he was writing a light entertainment, Ian Fleming did not dwell on the extent to which his hero used deception, still less upon the psychological harm he might have done to the women concerned. But fictional accounts (and there are others) lend credence to the view that the intelligence and police services have for many years deployed both men and women officers to form personal relationships of an intimate sexual nature (whether or not they were physical relationships) in order to obtain information or access.

The quote is taken from the recent (17th Jan ’13) decision made over those who had relationships with police spies. The case, where ten women said they were deceived into having sexual relationships with undercover police officers, has resulted in a partial victory. The victory, that half of the cases can be heard in open court (and the other half in a secret tribunal) was partly justified by the Judge (The Hon. Mr Justice Tugendhat) by reference to James Bond!

The judge drew a comparison with James Bond, the fictional member of the intelligence service who used sex (does Bond really do relationships?) to get what he needed to get the job done. The judge likens the lack of concern from Ian Fleming for the damage of using sex to gain knowledge in his writing of Bond to the case, that the police and intelligent services copied this!

This justification surprised me on two counts. The first being, are we blaming Bond, and Fleming here for writing such stuff? It almost sounds like the police ran out of ideas on how to gather intelligence, watched a Bond and sent off their guys. What next, using the Bourne films as a training guide for the SAS?

The second is the context. Bond’s fictional contexts are life-and-death conflicts against international military or global criminal enemies: both situations where the spy’s or government’s right to whatever knowledge or advantage is being sought is not in question, and extreme subterfuge (as well as violence) are justified. Hostile foreign powers, and murderous criminal organisations, don’t in that sense (and certainly not in spy fiction) have much right to privacy. In the case, the claimants do have this right (I don’t any of them was seen stroking a cat…).

Unless I am mis-informed, that was not the context of said police undercover action. It is also worth noting that most of the women Bond slept with knew perfectly well that he was a spy, as indeed were many of them, so the parallel with a police officers deceiving sexual partners for years with declarations of love is nonsense.

Oh dear, very much PC Plod than Bond.