I’ll be absolutely fascinated to follow this public inquiry, being reported by the BBC, as it unfolds, because some of the cases it involves were what provided the overall inspiration for Necessity’s Door.
Fair enough, none of the cases feature a gay cop being forced to sleep with his clients in order to maintain his cover! But some of them come awfully close. Several officers slept with women whilst undercover without revealing their true identity, which is felt by many to be a betrayal of trust. Quite how they were supposed to tell the women who they really were without jeopardising the entire undercover operation I’m not quite sure, but the media were never ones to let detail stand in the way of a good story!
The particular case which triggered my brain into even thinking of the plot behind Necessity’s Door is included in this article – it’s the one about Mark Kennedy, who infiltrated various ‘extreme’ environmental groups, became friends with some of the members while acting undercover, and then offered to testify on their behalf during the resulting trial – which promptly collapsed. Yes, truth can be even stranger than fiction!
Interestingly, I believe the role of undercover officers is different in Britain and America. Over here, it involves officers working their way into positions of trust in criminal or suspect groups (be they organised crime, terrorists or other groups with extreme beliefs) and using those positions to gather information and evidence, often over a period of months, sometimes even years. In that situation, faced with the choice between breaking the law or blowing their own cover and risking months of painstaking work, I’m not sure most of them wouldn’t choose to break the law. Sad though it may seem. Certainly in the past, many may have felt (or even been told by their superiors) that the end justified the means.