Cosmetics firm Lush criticized over 'police spies' campaign

FILE - A June 1, 2016 file photo of a shop sign for LUSH. Cosmetics retailer Lush has been criticized for using store window displays to criticize undercover police operations. On Friday June 1, 2018 the windows of more than 100 Lush stores in Britain featured displays supporting the Police Spies Out of Lives campaign. (Nick Ansell/PA via AP)

Cosmetics retailer Lush criticized for using store window displays to criticize undercover police operations

LONDON — U.K. cosmetics retailer Lush was criticized by police and some customers Friday for using store window displays to criticize undercover police operations.

The windows of more than 100 Lush stores in Britain featured displays supporting the Police Spies Out of Lives campaign. The windows include signs saying officers were "paid to lie" and crime scene-style tape reading "police have crossed the line."

Britain is holding a public inquiry into undercover police operations that targeted anti-racism groups, leftists and environmental activists, among others. In some cases, undercover officers used false identities taken from dead children, and formed long-term relationships with those they were spying on.

Some social-media users responded to the displays with the hashtag #flushlush, and police representatives criticized the firm.

Calum Macleod, chairman of the Police Federation union, expressed disbelief that "someone, somewhere, actually thought this campaign was a good idea."

"All it serves to do is to criticize police officers and encourage an anti-police sentiment," he said.

Lush, which has long supported animal rights and other social-issues campaigns, said the campaign was not "anti-police," but highlighted a "small and secretive subset of undercover policing."

"This campaign is not about the real police work done by those front line 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," the company said in a statement.

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