Lush’s controversial #SPYCOPS campaign has returned to stores but not in Milton Keynes.
Posters in Lush shop windows featuring an image of a man, dressed half as a police officer and half in plain clothes, accused police of “spying” and being “paid to lie”.
Lush said they were removed last week “for the safety of our staff” after reports of intimidation.
But the campaign has now been resumed with new store displays, only featuring text that reads: “Over 1,000 campaign groups spied on by at least 250 undercover police officers. Infiltrating lives, homes and beds of activists for 50 years. “May’s public inquiry: 3 years, £10 million, increasingly secret, going nowhere.”
However a check on Thursday at Milton Keynes’ Lush store at the intu shopping centre confirmed no such posters were on display as part of a campaign that has been left to the discretion of store staff according to reports.
Lush told our sister title the i: “It has been incredibly clear over this last week that the plight of the spy cops victims has universal support from all who hear of it.
“Therefore we have taken away the distraction of, what turned out to be, a controversial visual to return the focus onto the shocking facts.”
‘Aggressive’ critics Activist group Police Spies Out Of Lies (PSOOL), who teamed up with Lush for the campaign, said the initial posters had been removed after staff members faced “aggressive behaviour and verbal attacks” from critics.
Lush maintained #SPYCOPS was not an anti-police campaign attacking forces as whole, instead aimed at “a controversial branch of political undercover policing that ran for many years before being exposed”.
The displays attracted criticism upon their release on June 1, with Home Secretary Sajid Javid saying: “Never thought I would see a mainstream British retailer running a public advertising campaign against our hardworking police. This is not a responsible way to make a point ”
The Police Federation called the campaign “an insult to the hard work, professionalism and dedication of police officers throughout the UK”.
Ongoing police inquiry Lush is calling on Javid to take action ensuring the Undercover Policing Inquiry – which is investigating covert operations conducted by police forces in England and Wales since 1968 – gets back on track.
In a petition supported by over 2,000 signatures, Lush asked Javid to disclose the cover names of the officers, the names of the groups they “spied on” and the personal files of victims.
It also requested a panel of experts be enlisted to assist the Chair of the Inquiry, and the inquiry be extended to Scotland.
Postcards addressed to Javid are available for the public to sign and send. Strong support Despite criticism, the #SPYCOPS campaign has garnered backing from some Lush customers and MPs. Victims, ex-wives and children of the so-called “spy-cops” have come out in support of Lush’s fight for justice.
After the campaign was resumed on 13 June, PSOOL said: “We’re very happy that this campaign has drawn so much attention at all – we have been fighting for years to raise public awareness, and Lush has certainly helped to catapult the issue into the public consciousness in a way that we have never achieved by ourselves.”