E mail Correspondence From A Former Undercover Police Officer

I have received a number of e mails from Stephen Bentley, the former undercover police officer who was involved in ‘Operation Julie’, who wrote the book ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story’. After leaving the police force Mr Bentley trained as a barrister and then went to live in the Philippines. I drew on Mr Bentley’s own account as published in his book for my post ‘They Planned To Put Acid In All The Reservoirs…’.


Stephen Bentley’s initial e mail asked me to remove ‘defamatory’ content from my blog and stated that he hoped that I would be ‘sensible in your reaction to my request as legal action is in no one’s interests’ and that he intended ‘to check back within 14 days to ensure you have acted upon my request’.


I replied to Stephen with:

‘Hi. Many thanks for your e mail. Of course I will be happy to remove content from my blog which is untrue or defamatory. I am always prepared to do this and I do not do so simply as a consequence of receiving threatening e mails telling me to be ‘sensible’. I will read through the material that you have provided shortly to see whether I have indeed defamed you…best wishes, Sally.’

After reading through the word document which Stephen sent me in which he detailed the parts of my text which he wanted edited I sent him an e mail saying:

‘Hi, Stephen I think it is very obvious from your book that you did indeed behave in the way that I describe. I’ll tell you what I will do. I will make the edits that you request because I have always responded to people who have e mailed me. I will also explain on my post that you have e mailed me threatening me with a libel action and I will therefore recommend that people read your book for themselves and decide for themselves how you conducted yourself. It may well increase the sales of your book but more importantly it will make people aware of the sort of police officer – and now barrister – that was paid by the state to uphold law n order all those years ago…best wishes, Sally.’

I then received this from Stephen: ‘Please do not escalate this issue because I have not threatened you. I am merely exercising my legal rights and pointing out the defamatory statements and requesting an amicable solution without recourse to legal action.’
So I replied with: ‘Stephen please stop sending me passive aggressive nonsense. I will make the edits that you have asked and will recommend your book to everyone. Now please do not e mail me again unless you have something meaningful to add.’
I have edited the blog post as Stephen asked – which I would have been happy to do had I received an e mail without mentioning hopes of me being ‘sensible’ or the possibility of ‘legal action’.
Now I heartily recommend that everyone reads Stephen’s book. People will then have some idea of the sort of behaviour from ‘professional people’ that some of those of us in Wales endured for so many years.
By the way, BBC News Online today contains a little vox pop entitled ‘What it is like to be sectioned’. It features just a few brief lines from a small number of people, usually mentioning how damaging and traumatic it was. One man maintained that it saved his life and he really did benefit – that is of course how the Mental Health Act is supposed to work, but it usually doesn’t. I note that the man who did have a good experience didn’t mention the hospital where he received help. Probably because they’d never cope with the number of needy patients trying to get through the doors if word got around that they were actually any good.
Many people who are sectioned will recall that as they were surrounded by police officers – despite having committed no crime – and paedophiles’ friends, they were ordered to be ‘sensible’, because of course no-one wanted to resort to legal action did they…
You use the language of a true professional Mr Bentley!

Author: Sally Baker

I am a writer and a sociologist, originally from Somerset, but I’ve been based in Wales for most of my life. I had my first encounter with a mental health professional in 1984 at the age of 21. My GP described this man to my then partner – who also became a sociologist – as someone who had experienced ‘considerable success’. My meeting with this psychiatrist was a disaster and we attempted to complain about his insensitivity and highly inappropriate behaviour. That was the first time we were threatened and pressurised to withdraw a complaint against a mental health professional. This man is long dead – he was a retired psychiatrist from the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, T. Gwynne Williams, who was working shifts in the student health centre at University College of North Wales (now Bangor University). We discovered years later that this ‘successful man’ was notorious – he had been an enthusiastic lobotomist…

7 thoughts on “E mail Correspondence From A Former Undercover Police Officer”

  1. Meanwhile in 1976 the IRA were caught running massive DHSS fraud which doubled up providing active unit safehouses. And questions about why the IRA funding benefits loopholes were left open by Barbara Castle Jack Straw Norman Warner (for no intelligence gain) remain unanswered …..

    1. Stephen Bentley’s book tells us all that we need to know about UK policing in the 1970s. I was happy to carry out the edits that he asked because I could see that e mails of mine questioning Stephen’s accusations re my blog post were just going to result in protracted silliness and hair splitting once I read his protestation that he had only taken cocaine ‘once’…

      I do recommend that people read Bentley’s book. One is just left with a feeling of ‘Christ almighty, no wonder there were problems in policing…’

      1. Yes you are right. I liked the idea of cheering Brum up with some happy juice in the water supply. And badgers and moles tripping.

        To know what 90% of the world LSD supply is would require knowing what 100% is ?

        As a person with experience of NHS parallel departmentalist budgeting you probably winced at the police fundamental error of quantifying an otherwise potentially lucrative problem.

        Lighten up Mr Bentley put Ali G on the sound system MeJulie.

        1. I winced at quite a lot in Mr Bentley’s book, but it did explain a lot of the stories that I had heard from the hippies I knew who had moved into Wales in the 70s. It even brought back memories of shenanigans that I knew about in Somerset before I ever got as far as university. The drug squad in the Taunton and Bridgwater area were totally corrupt and targeted SCHOOL CHILDREN no less whilst down the road on Exmoor Jeremy Thorpe and his mates had been doing terrible things to Norman Scott. As in north Wales, the local elites of Somerset broke the law with impunity and protected their own kids whilst everyone else got a kicking.

          The medical service in Somerset was bloody dreadful as well, another north Wales situation – the middle classes went private or did a dodgy deal, other people suffered harm at the hands of the negligent or grossly incompetent. The names mentioned most were Mr Rainey the orthpaedic surgeon from Taunton who was an appalling bloke, Dr Constable the GP at Stogursey who was hopeless and Dr Matthews was so bad that even Constable threw him out of the surgery. So Matthews went down the road to Nether Stowey and joined Dr Butler, where one of them misdiagnosed the dad of a girl at our school who undoubtedly died as a result. I saw a Dr McAdam in action as well – he had a nice modest manner but I wasn’t convinced that he was doing the best for his patient.

          Tone Vale was Somerset’s answer to Denbigh – I didn’t hear about anything as bad as Dafydd there but it definitely wasn’t good, not because of the clin psys but because of the Top Docs. There was a big inquiry into the psychiatric services in Somerset in the 90s. Which was ironic because whilst the mental health services in Somerset were under attack Dafydd ran the paedophile gang with full Gov’t protection. Of course the leading clinical psychologist of the Somerset services knew about Dafydd because she knew me socially…

          Well, anyone like to explain why the finger was pointed at Somerset after the Chief Clin Psy found out about Dafydd and the paedophiles? Another witness to Dafydd’s wrongdoing discredited lest she popped up to express concern? Oh and the lady that I know in Somerset was definitely not running a paedophile gang and sexually exploiting patients.

          You’ve been exposed paedophiles’ friends, get your heads around it and stop the squealing.

  2. Our experience in 1976 is that Counter Terrorism took primacy in the inquiry into IRA ran benefits frauds. So that raises at least a question mark re Operation Julie.

    What I do not know, to this day, is why the Liability of Relatives loophole in the benefits system was left open with no way to latch on as a detection asset. That happened on Barbara Castle, Straw and Warner watch plus her successor at DHSS.

    In 1997 Kent Police Authority called for inquiry and report into this question. When Straw was Home Secretary and Warner his advisor. When Straw suppressed that inquiry I would say he was acting unlawfully as Judge in His Own Cause and that the Lawrence team knew (Via Imran Khan lawyer) and kept quiet.

    The other matter of interest is your revelation of psychology research WITH North Wales Police.

    There was undoubtedly group psychology research into Police trainees 1971. And after it I became the unique subject (against my will) of a peer pressure research posting (Peer pressure was called Canteen Mafia effect).

    1. The scale of state-condoned wrongdoing was enormous. Even when one takes the need to prioritise into account, the only explanation for what went on was state-endorsed corruption on a grand scale.

      In 1981-84, students haemorraged from the Agric Dept in Bangor, the standards were terrible, most of the lecturers very obviously old gits who were friends of JB Owen and students just said God this is not what I came to university for. All the best students changed course to zoology, plant biology, marine biology etc. And yet one of those lecturers was an advisor to Thatcher! Farcical.

      As for the ‘research’ that was being conducted re psychology/criminology/social work/education – surely no-one could have been fooled. It was as laughable as the ‘histories of the North Wales Hospital Denbigh’ that they wrote – former patients would read it and roll around laughing…

      1. I reckon Suffolk Police would also have been laughable but for police surgeons repeat prescribing prednisone.

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