On Wednesday 4 March there will be a demonstration at the next meeting of Peterborough Council to demand the resignation or dismissal of ex-spycop turned Tory councillor Andy Coles. Meet outside the rear entrance of the Town Hall, St Peter’s Road, Peterborough PE1 1YX (the main Bridge Street entrance is not usually used) from 5.00-6.00pm.
In May 2017 it was revealed that Andy Coles infiltrated the peace and animal rights movements from 1991-95 as Andy Davey. He was a member of the disgraced secret Special Branch unit called the Special Demonstrations Squad. While undercover he began an intimate relationship with a 19 year old activist named Jessica (not her real name). He lied to her saying he was 24 when he was really 32 and married.
Jessica says she feels like she was groomed: “Although not legally underage, I feel that my youth and vulnerability were used to target me. I was groomed by someone much older, and far more experienced… I was manipulated into having a sexual relationship with him. I didn’t even know his real name.”
Coles was also Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire. He resigned three days after his sordid past was revealed but has clung on as councillor. There is now a grassroots campaign calling for him to step down and a public meeting in September was attended by 30 people. Since then every house in the Fletton and Woodston ward (which Coles represents) has been leafleted.
On Monday 19 March 2018 the Undercover Policing Public Inquiry finally confirmed that Andy Coles was a spycop. The same day Coles gave an interview to the Peterborough Today website in which he attacked the people he spied on as “some of the most committed and violent animal liberation extremists operating in the UK in the early 1990s,” without giving any evidence to back his claim. Then he went further by accusing Jessica of lying, dismissing her accusations as “lurid.”
In May 2019 Jessica and a friend were leafleting about Coles in Peterborough for the council elections when he suddenly appeared and started filming them. He grabbed leaflets off Jessica’s friend, wrenching their fingers in the process, while yelling: “I’ve got your fingerprints now, you’re going to jail”! Jessica reported the assault to the police but no action has been taken.
In February 2020 the Guardian and the BBC reported that Coles had been interviewed twice under caution during a Met investigation into his undercover activities. The police wrote to Jessica saying a complaint she filed had been upheld, adding: “In all of the circumstances, it is credible that Coles met you during his deployment and… a relationship developed.”
Coles is facing re-election for his council seat in May 2020.