Police investigated the political beliefs of a grieving woman – including her views on human rights and the war in Afghanistan – after she complained about the police’s handling of the death of her mother. The police also claimed that the woman appeared to be mentally ill and placed her on an official register for vulnerable adults without consulting any medical professionals. They later conceded that she was not mentally ill.
Internal police documents reveal how Sussex police compiled a 14-page secret report on Eccy de Jonge, a philosophy academic, shortly after her 83-year-old mother died in a road accident. The police carried out “full intelligence checks” on de Jonge and gathered comments she had posted on media sites. They scrutinised how she spoke up “a lot about a lot of things” and regularly commented on “news articles and blogs, with common themes including social welfare, human rights and the large number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan”. Her apparent opposition to the merger of two London colleges in 2002 was also recorded.
According to the documents, officers said the investigation was necessary to establish if de Jonge, 50, had “anti-police feelings”, was mentally unstable or posed a threat to their safety. The officers concluded that, while some of de Jonge’s comments implied “a negativity towards the government/political figures”, no evidence had been found that she was “anti-police”.