A headshot of Bethan Loftus

Dr.Bethan Loftus, Reader in Criminology and Criminal Justice. 

The Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) was established to investigate the practice, regulation, and effects of undercover policing in England and Wales, and was a response to a stream of national media scandals that exposed the illegal and unethical behaviour of undercover officers. In addition to revealing how such policing is heavily directed towards members of social and political movements, the remit of the UCPI is to examine revelations that undercover officers stole the identities of deceased children to build their fake identities, that they encouraged and participated in illegal activity, and spied upon members of Justice Campaigns. However, a central focus of the inquiry is the accusation that undercover officers deceived women, some of whom they were monitoring, into sexual relationships. The testimony of those who were the targets of undercover operations has highlighted the human costs stemming from surveillance undertaken by anonymous state agents. This paper identifies new areas for theory and conceptual engagement to explore the hidden injuries of police (state) surveillance, and also describes the early stages of a research project that seeks to empirically research the harms of covert policing. It is argued that there is a pressing need for scholars to examine the intimacy of state surveillance – that is, the emotional territory and socio-political dimensions of covert policing practices. 

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