'We're grateful to Lush for amplifying our message': campaigners defend #SpyCops campaign

The campaign group Police Spies Out Of Lives (PSOOL), which partnered with Lush in a controversial campaign, has defended the work and told PRWeek the conversation with the public about the issues it raised will continue.

The conversation continues, says campaign group which partnered with Lush for controversial campaign
The conversation continues, says campaign group which partnered with Lush for controversial campaign

Lush announced on Friday that it had suspended its window campaign, which aims to highlight the issue of undercover police overstepping the mark to infiltrate the lives of activists - the subject of a Home Office-backed inquiry – citing the safety of its staff.

The campaign was suspended after a week of criticism – from police forces, senior politicians and members of the public – that it was anti-police.

Speaking this morning, a spokesperson for PSOOL said they thought the campaign had been a success because it had raised awareness of the issues, despite the criticism levelled at it.

The spokesperson said: "This has been a long-running campaign and we are grateful to Lush for helping to amplify it. Their involvement means this has entered the public’s consciousness."

PSOOL said many of the criticisms levelled at Lush by the public were from people who were reacting without understanding the issues it was trying to highlight, or who understood the issues but thought the campaign itself was clumsy.

The campaigning organisation claimed police forces, including the Met, had previously acknowledged that people’s human rights had been violated during the course of its work.

The spokesperson said: "The only people who thought the Lush campaign was controversial are police and their friends. In the face of well-deserved criticism, the police have closed ranks rather than admit there was a problem."

Political capital

PSOOL said it had been forced to up the ante with its campaign tactics after having first written to Sajid Javid on his first day in office a month ago, without reply.

The spokesperson said: "A public enquiry has been going for three years, but it’s in crisis. We had to find other ways to get our message across to Sajid Javid. The Home Secretary has said that he thought the campaign was not responsible, but if Lush hadn’t helped to amplify what we were saying, would he have noticed at all?"

Continuing the conversation

PSOOL vowed to continue getting its message across to the public and said its partnership with Lush would endure the present criticism.

The spokesperson said: "The campaign has been suspended, but the conversation continues. Lush remains committed to supporting the aims of our ongoing campaign. We’ll have to see what happens next."

But the campaigners could not say how the campaign or the partnership will evolve from here.

The spokesperson added: "Lush needs to make its own decisions. We can’t speak for them."

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