Blog: Cosmetic campaign nothing short of 'reckless and foolhardy'
14 June 2018
PFEW Chair Calum Macleod
Chair Calum Macleod reflects on shambolic campaign which sparked public outrage and tarred all police officers as 'liars'
The cosmetic company behind the campaign that made headlines for all the wrong reasons and offended hardworking officers up and down the country, has today re-launched their controversial ‘Spy Cops’ campaign.
British company ‘Lush’ executed the campaign earlier this month in a bid to highlight the undercover policing enquiry into the London-based Special Demonstration Squad - the special branch unit tasked with infiltrating political groups between 1968 and 2008.
The company's attempts to highlight the issue – using prominent window displays featuring a uniformed officer, stylised police tape and the caption “Paid to Lie” - has only served to offend hard working and honest frontline officers – the majority of whom have never had any experience of undercover policing let alone the actions of a small number of the Special Demonstration Squad decades ago.
The move comes just days after the company said it was retracting the campaign claiming they had made the decision “for the safety” of its staff. However they have yet to substantiate their claims that their staff have been subjected to “aggressive behaviour and verbal attacks” and I have certainly not been informed of any crime reports in relation to such allegations.
Let me be clear, where there is wrong doing it should of course be fully investigated, victims properly supported and wrong doers brought to justice, but what I found astonishing about this campaign is it would appear that Lush did not even appear to consult with those victims whose stories they were using in their campaign, which does make me believe the way this campaign has been orchestrated is nothing short of reckless and foolhardy.
I also note that the brand have still failed to acknowledge or publically apologise to the innocent police officers who have been demeaned and defamed by their original ham-fisted attempt which has been roundly condemned by thousands of people.
The new campaign is a marked improvement of the previous disaster, which begs the question of why they did not lead with this in the first place, unless they intended it to be inflammatory against the majority of our hard working officers.
The positive I do take from this whole sorry saga is the reaction of the many people who have contacted me, and my colleagues up and down the country, expressing their support and respect for police officers and for the unique role they play protecting all members of our communities.
At our conference in May we highlighted the ‘Reality of Policing’ and some of the more disgusting and frightening things police officers have to deal with today such as being attacked and spat at on a daily basis. So let’s not forget this and the incredibly pressured and demanding job they do to keep us safe – ask yourself, would you run towards danger when everybody else runs away?
If you want to thank officers – people who help communities – I would urge you instead to spend your energy by backing our 'Believe in Blue' campaign which celebrates British policing and the true value police officers bring to society.