Lush, luxury cosmetics high street chain, has put its weight behind the Police Spies Out of Lives campaign by showing pictures on their shop windows of half a civilian, half a police man under a statement that says “Paid to Lie.”
“One of our officers went and had a polite and constructive discussion with the manager of @LushLtd Peterborough who then removed the display.
Seems some of their staff are sensible and care about our feelings after all,” Chair of Cambs Police Federation says, leading to accusations of police intimidation.
The campaign has been controversial with Sajid Javid, Home Secretary, stating “this is not a responsible way to make a point.”
Others, however, are supportive, including Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill, who says the infiltration of animal rights activists is “disproportionate and distasteful” and further adds “in short, I do support Lush in exposing this issue.”
Lush does not do business with suppliers who use animals for testing and has stated: “This is not an anti-state/anti-police campaign. We are aware that the police forces of the UK are doing an increasingly difficult and dangerous job whilst having their funding slashed.
We fully support them in having proper police numbers, correctly funded to fight crime, violence and to be there to serve the public at our times of need.
This campaign is not about the real police work done by those front line officers who support the public every day – it is about a controversial branch of political undercover policing that ran for many years before being exposed.”
A scandal broke out in 2015 when some activists discovered their lover was an undercover policeman. In their campaign page, Lush says:
“You live together, you go on holiday together. Perhaps you even have a child together. You share intimate details with this man, who does not exist – at least not as the person you think he is. His name is not his real name – it is most likely the name of a deceased child, whose identity your partner is now using.”
A public inquiry was set-up in 2015 by the then Home Secretary Theresa May, now British Prime Minister, but “many of those who have been spied upon feel such a lack of confidence in the approach of the Inquiry, that they staged a walk out at a hearing earlier this year (21st March, 2018),” Lush said before adding:
“For example, whilst the campaigners say there is a massive – and justifiable – public interest in the cover names of the undercover officers being released, [chair of the inquiry, Sir John Mitting] disagrees and instead, has granted anonymity to a large number of former undercover officers.
Without the names being released, the campaigners say it will be impossible for people to come forward to give any evidence about the activities of those individuals.”
The campaign, which begun on the 1st of June and is to continue until the 18th of June, aims to highlight victim’s dissatisfaction with the public enquiry.
Now, following police’s intervention in the Peterborough branch, the issue may become even bigger to engulf freedom of speech and other controversial activities.
“Whilst intimidation of our shop staff from ex-police officers and unhelpful tweets from those in high office are ongoing, not all of our shops feel able today to have the campaign window in their shops,” Lush said in a statement before adding:
“However the campaign is still running for three weeks and we will be constantly weighing up what to do about the situation.”
While some are suggesting they may boycott the shops, others may be enticed to buy from them in support. They apparently accept bitcoin through BitPay:
They also have an America and Canada focused website, but that does not appear to accept bitcoin. The UK website started doing so in July 2011.
We asked how many crypto payments they have received, but there has been no reply at the time of writing. Lush’s Finance Manager, Mike West, said at the time:
“Accepting Bitcoin is very exciting for Lush. With Bitcoin, customers from all around the world will pay the same for our products, free from volatile currency fluctuations and lofty bank charges.
Cryptocurrencies are the future of global trade and we want to ensure that we are prepared to move into this new digital era.”