High Street cosmetics chain Lush was condemned yesterday after it launched an ‘anti-police hate campaign’.
The Home Secretary, crime chiefs and a police widow were among those ‘appalled’ by the company’s astonishing decision to put photos of police officers under the words ‘Paid to Lie’ in its shop windows to draw attention to the so-called ‘spy cops’ scandal.
They said the ‘crass and insensitive campaign’ – approved by the chain’s Jeremy Corbyn-supporting co-founder Mark Constantine – stereotypes all police officers as corrupt and ‘includes some fundamental misrepresentations of the facts’.
The window displays appeared in Lush's 105 outlets under the headline 'Paid to Lie'iPhone transfer software
Lush's co-founder Mark Constantine, left, has appeared on stage with Jeremy Corbyn, right
In a bizarre stunt, Lush is supporting the Police Spies Out of Lives campaign for women who were duped into relationships by undercover officers who infiltrated anti-capitalist and green protest groups over a 40-year period.
In the window displays of Lush’s 105 outlets, a split-face image of a police officer in uniform and undercover appears under the headline ‘Paid to Lie’. Mock crime scene police tape also carries the phrase ‘Police have crossed the line’. Similar materials are promoted on the Lush website.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid condemned the chain, 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 campaign argues the deception by the undercover officers led to the systemic, institutional sexist abuse of female activists – some of whom had officers’ children – and has criticised the inquiry into the scandal.
The retailer’s decision to support the campaign was driven by environmental activist Rebecca Lush. Miss Lush has no relation to the origins of Lush but advises it on how to support activists.
It was given the go-ahead by Lush co-founder Mr Constantine, who holds Left-wing views and has appeared on stage with Jeremy Corbyn.
But the controversial move saw the chain accused of smearing all police officers.
Former Metropolitan police chief inspector Peter Kirkham accused Lush of running an ‘anti-police hate campaign’.
‘Your anti-police advertising campaign is an utter disgrace,’ he wrote on Twitter.
‘It stereotypes ALL police officers as corrupt & includes some fundamental misrepresentations of the facts.’
Chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Sara Thornton said: ‘We fully accept that some undercover policing operations, ethics and behaviour in the past were a violation of the victims’ human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma.’
But she added: ‘This campaign from Lush UK is both insulting and damaging to the tens of thousands of officers who place themselves in harm’s way to protect the public on a daily basis, and who have nothing at all to do with the undercover inquiry.’ The head of the National Crime Agency, Lynne Owens, warned Lush had undermined public confidence in the police, while vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales Che Donald suggested people boycott the retailer.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, David Jamieson, said: ‘This is a crass and insensitive campaign ... Lush have needlessly waded into a highly complex area.’
Meanwhile Christine Fulton, whose police officer husband Lewis was stabbed to death while on duty in Glasgow in 1994, said: ‘I am appalled at the campaign by Lush, the police service should be supported and respected.
‘Who do Lush call when they have a shoplifter, their staff are abused or their stores broken into? Hang your heads in shame.’