Andy Coles wasn’t just a member of disgraced political secret police unit the Special Demonstration Squad. Though 32 and married in his real life, as an undercover officer infiltrating animal rights groups in the early 1990s he said he was Andy Davey, 24 and single. He abused his role to groom a naive 19 year old known as ‘Jessica‘ into a sexual relationship.
When the spycops scandal broke in 2011, the use of sexual relationships by officers was condemned by all sides. Chief Constable Jon Murphy said
‘It is grossly unprofessional. It is a diversion from what they are there to do. It is morally wrong because people have been put there to do a particular task and people have got trust in them. It is never acceptable under any circumstances … for them to engage in sex with any subject they come into contact with’
It wasn’t just unprofessional, the Met have now conceded it was a breach of the women’s human rights, including the right to freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment. That is an absolute right, there are no circumstances in which that is ever acceptable.
After his deployment, Coles went on to have a successful career in the Met’s Special Branch before leaving the force and moving to Peterborough. He became a city councillor and Cambridgeshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner.
When the truth about his past was revealed in May 2017, he resigned as Deputy PCC within hours. Yet he has clung on to his council seat. Following protests about him last July, the public have been banned from the public gallery at council meetings.
He also had two other roles in the community that are wholly inappropriate for someone with his past. He became a governor at two schools, The Voyager Academy (now Queen Katharine Academy) and West Town Primary Academy.
Having leafleted the entirety of his Fletton & Woodston council ward, last week campaigners including Jessica visited West Town Primary to talk to parents and staff about their governor.
There was shock, sympathy for Jessica and the other women he was sexually aggressive to, and disbelief that he has the gall to stay on as governor and councillor. Positions of political power and civic trust should not be given to men with a history of abusing their roles, violating citizens they are supposed to serve.
Jessica has said,
‘Although I was 19, I had never been in a proper relationship before. Events in my life had taught me it’s best to keep people at arm’s length. So I didn’t know how to react when he made advances towards me. I was embarrassed, awkward, and what truly makes me feel sick now, is that I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I look back now and realise I was naive, idealistic, unsophisticated and a very young 19.
‘Although not legally under age, I feel that my youth and vulnerability were used to target me. I was groomed by someone much older, and far more experienced (he had been an acting police officer for 10 years) and I was manipulated into having a sexual relationship with him. I didn’t even know his real name.’
There is no suggestion that Andy Coles has ever shown sexual interest in underage children, but men who unrepentantly sexually abuse naive young adults should not be school governors. Andy Coles must resign.