Undercover officer under fire over relationships hits back at critics

An ex-undercover police officer under fire over his relationships with three women has hit back, claiming his former Scotland Yard bosses do "a good line in selective amnesia".

Jim Boyling, who worked as part of the Metropolitan Police's controversial Special Demonstrations Squad (SDS), is accused of failing to tell the women he was a police mole.

A secret disciplinary hearing is taking place this week over his relationship with a woman known as Rosa, which he claims was genuine and had nothing to do with his deployment.

He said: "The disciplinary charge from the Met specifies that I had a relationship which constituted misconduct because it was 'without a police purpose'. The position of the Met appears to be that a relationship entered into as an operational tactic is acceptable, but a genuine one resulting in marriage and children constitutes misconduct."

On the former officer's account, he and Rosa were a couple from November 1999 to August 2000, when Mr Boyling left the SDS. Rosa tracked him down in November 2001, and they resumed their relationship, having two children and marrying in 2005.

He says he used his real name and registered his occupation as a police officer on the marriage certificate and both birth certificates, that Rosa knew he had worked undercover and had spoken to other officers about it.

"I was astonished to find, when some elements of our story appeared in the press in 2011, that the Met disclaimed all knowledge," he said.

"I had in fact been discussing it fully with them only a few weeks previously and had made a full written declaration of our marriage to the vetting unit within a week of it taking place.

"We were divorced in 2009, which I again notified in writing to the Met. The Met does a good line in selective amnesia, as indeed they do in selective disclosure."

Another of the women, known as Monica, is taking legal action to try to push the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute him for alleged sexual offences and misconduct in a public office.

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In 2014 prosecutors decided not to charge officers involved in sexual relationships with partners who did not know their true identity, due to lack of evidence.

Monica, who had a six-month relationship with Mr Boyling in 1997 when she was an activist with Reclaim the Streets, is the first to take legal action to challenge this decision.

She told the Guardian: "What I went through, and other people went through, is wrong. I don't think that my private life and my sexuality should be something that should be spied on, or used to infiltrate organisations that are involved in trying to bring positive change.

"I was lied to, and I was encouraged to be intimate and sexual with somebody who I would never, ever have got involved with if I had known who he was, if I had known his true motives and I had known his true identity."

Monica only discovered that he was an undercover police officer in 2011.

"If I don't challenge (the CPS's decision), then everything just gets brushed under the carpet, and apologies are just empty words ... and nothing really changes," she said.

She said she thinks that for her former partner "fundamentally (the relationship) was just sex, to enhance his cover, and as a perk of the job".

Mr Boyling, who was an officer for 30 years and retired in April 2015, revealed that both his children with Rosa are "severely disabled with limited life expectancy".

He is not contesting the Met disciplinary hearing because he says he cannot afford to stay in London during the proceedings, and does not wish to drag former colleagues and his ex-wife through the process.

The officer, who is now aged in his 50s, will however, give evidence to the public inquiry into undercover policing.

He feels he has been singled out to justify the cost of Operation Herne, a police inquiry into the activities of undercover officers.

"I trust that a more accurate picture of police covert operations may emerge from the Undercover Policing Inquiry, including perhaps the testimony of others who formed genuine relationships during the course of a deployment lasting several years. There are a documented number of such cases which have always previously been sympathetically dealt with.

"It seems to me that my case has been handled differently purely in order to satisfy the Met's current press strategy, and the need for Operation Herne to show some sort of return for the millions of pounds of public money they have spent. If you're going to pick on anybody, the family with the terminally ill children will probably be the weakest."

At least 12 women have received compensation after unwittingly being involved in relationships with undercover officers, and police chiefs have been forced to apologise.