A TOP police inspector said he and his family will ‘never shop’ at Lush again after the cosmetic chain’s ‘deeply offensive’ campaign against the work of undercover officers.
Inspector Dave Humphries, who is in charge of officers in Havant and Waterlooville, condemned the high street store for its new poster slogan.
The campaign, Police Spies Out of Lives, which was launched yesterday, aims to highlight how some officers from ‘extremely secretive police units’ initiated long-term, sexual relationships with people they had been sent to spy on.
One Lush shop window features a poster brandishing the slogan ‘Paid to Lie’ and fake police taping saying they ‘have crossed the line’.
But the PR stunt backfired on the firm, receiving wide-spread criticism from the public, officers and the Police Federation of England and Wales.
In a post on Twitter, user Dr Clifford Williams urged Hampshire police not to attend any emergency incidents at Lush stores.
Responding to the demand on last night, Insp Humphries tweeted: ‘Cliff many of us will appreciate your sentiment but we will still attend and will do the most professional job we can as that’s what we do.
‘However, none of us, or our families or our friends will ever shop there again because this is so deeply offensive.’
Lush’s campaign was rolled out across more than 100 of its stores nationwide.
The firm said it was never meant to be an ‘anti-state/anti-police’ campaign.
However, Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter said it was both ‘bizarre and offensive.’
He said: ‘I have no idea what Lush are trying to achieve other than to offend hardworking and dedicated Police Officers. Many of us were not even born when the undercover policing Lush are criticising occurred.
‘I believe this malicious campaign will backfire, and we have already seen local stores remove the offensive displays from their windows.
‘I would urge management of Lush to reflect on this massive error of judgement and issue an apology to all those officers, their families and the public who have been offended.’
Calum Macleod, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: ‘I cannot believe that someone, somewhere, actually thought this campaign was a good idea. All it serves to do is to criticise police officers and encourage an anti-police sentiment.
‘Police officers already face enough abuse from those who break the law and are a menace to society, without the need for a cosmetic company to start putting the boot in too.’
Disgruntled social media users described the shop windows as ‘misjudged and offensive’ for ‘vilifying a public service’, with some customers saying they’ll stop shopping there as a result.
However, a spokeswoman for Police Spies Out Of Lives said the campaign has been ‘taken completely out of context’ and they were not accusing all police of lying.
The group, who secured a public inquiry into the undercover scandal which they have described as being ‘years behind schedule’, said it only aimed to target police from particular units.
A spokeswoman said: ‘We thought it was quite obvious that this campaign was directed at very specific police officers in the undercover units - quite notorious units which have since been disbanded.
‘The vast majority of police officers are paid to tell the truth. We are lost in trying to understand why a normal police officer would think this is about them.’
A spokesman from The Undercover Policing Inquiry insisted their work will be rigorous and objective and that hearings for evidence are expected to begin in June 2019 and will continue for two years.
In a statement, Lush said: ‘This is not an anti-state/anti-police campaign. We are aware that the police forces of the UK are doing an increasingly difficult and dangerous job whilst having their funding slashed.
‘We fully support them in having proper police numbers, correctly funded to fight crime, violence and to be there to serve the public at our times of need.
‘This campaign is not about the real police work done by those frontline officers who support the public every day - it is about a controversial branch of political undercover policing that ran for many years before being exposed.’