Lush’s recent #SpyCops campaign showed exactly why it was needed this week, after off-duty and ex-duty police officers went in to stores to tell staff to take the publicity down.
The high-street cosmetics company has, for a long time, supported various activist groups, including the Feminist Library and the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign. Last week, Lush announced it was giving its backing to Police Spies out of Lives (PSOOL) and the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS). PSOOL and COPS are asking new Home Secretary Sajid Javid to change the current Public Inquiry into undercover policing.
The inquiry is meant to look into the police spying on more than 1000 groups since 1968. So far, campaigners have described it as “grindingly slow” and very little evidence has been released.
Doreen Lawrence, who was spied on following her son’s murder and subsequent fight for justice, has said that Mitting has been “turning what should be a transparent, accountable and public hearing into an inquiry cloaked in secrecy and anonymity.”
In order to draw attention to this very important issue, Lush has put up displays in shops up and down the country with the tagline “Paid to Lie #spycops”. Thousands of people have written negative reviews on Lush’s Facebook page although there are also now several thousand 5* reviews in response to these.
Off-duty police officers and retired police officers have gone into Lush shops telling staff to take the displays down.
If the police are confident they have acted ethically, they should not be afraid of a more robust inquiry. They know that some of the stories of activists who were spied on are tragic and would deeply embarrass them if they were given more publicity.
In this time of #metoo and #timesup, the police must be aware that the lack of consent present in these scenarios will make them look very bad.
So far, Lush has not backed down in its support of PSOOL and is riding out the controversy. We hope it continues to do so