Andy Coles

From Powerbase
Revision as of 14:43, 2 November 2017 by Peter Salmon (talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

URG logo 1.png

This article is part of the Undercover Research Portal at Powerbase - investigating corporate and police spying on activists

Part of a series on
undercover police officers
Andy Coles
Andy Coles (current).jpg
Alias: Andy 'Van' Davey
Deployment: 1991-1995
Animal rights and hunt sabs in south London, anti-war campaigners: Brixton Hunt Saboteurs, London Boots Action Group, London Animal Right Coalition, Active Resistance to the Roots of War / Gulf War Resisters

Andy Coles (born February 1960) is the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. He was previously a Detective Inspector with the Metropolitan Police and served with ACPO TAM.[1] It was revealed in a book by his brother that he had been a Special Branch undercover,[2] now determined to be Andy 'Van' Davey, who infiltrated animal rights groups in London 1991 to 1995. The story broke on 12 May 2017 when a woman he targeted for a relationship while undercover came forward to tell her story, with calls for his resignation following.[3]

This pages sets out his police and post-police career in politics. For the account of his activities while under cover see under Andy Davey.

See also:

  • Andy Davey (profile of Andy Coles' undercover work).

Update of 15 May 2017: Following media exposure of his time as an undercover police officer over the weekend of 13 May 2017, Andy Coles resigned as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire on 15 May, effective immediately. The case was also referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, who are currently assessing it 'to determine the level of IPCC involvement required, if any.' [4] To date Coles has declined to make a statement to media.[5]

Police Career

Most of what is known about his career comes from Andy Coles as a source; the timeline needs more detail. In his personal statement for the role as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Coles gives a summary of his career: [6]

The majority of my professional career was spent as a police officer in the Metropolitan Police Service. I have had wide experience in a series of specialist policing roles, from basic beat policing to neighbourhood policing, youth and community work, to public order policing. I have a depth of experience in specialist roles such as in police intelligence functions, surveillance duties, working as an Authorised Firearms Officer and developing effective liaison with external agencies.


  • 1982: joins Metropolitan Police, after watching the 1981 Brixton Riots during his final year of University.[7]
  • 1982 - 1988: serves in Hackney and Stoke Newington as a uniformed beat officer,[1] at least part of it at the City Road police station.[8] He refers to Hackney as 'an extremely challenging inner city area'.[6] At the time police in the borough were renowned for their corruption and racism, leading to the establishment of the Hackney Community Defence Association in 1987 (targeted by another spycop, Mark Jenner).

  • 1986: as a constable he took part in the policing of the Wapping Dispute, when print workers at the new Wapping site established by Rupert Murdoch went on strike to save their jobs. The strike ran from January 1986 to February 1987 and saw a number of clashes.[2][9]
  • 1988: as a detective [6] joins Specialist Operations at New Scotland Yard (Metropolitan Police's headquarters),[1] including a stint in policing roles at ports.[7] (Ports policing has a long connection with Special Branch, with officers from the latter being present to monitor security and travellers (see: [National Co-ordinator Ports Policing].[10])
  • Spring 1991-February 1995: undercover police officer, probably with the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) - see Andy Davey'. It is believed that undercovers spent up to six months developing their legend before being deployed so he is likely to have been recruited by the SDS in Autumn 1990.
  • 2005 Strategic Command Group, involved in 'the investigation of, and recovery from the 7/7 and 21/7 attacks'.[6]
  • 2007-2008 (?) Prior to his last roles and his involvement with Protect, Coles says he was elected as Police Federation representative to Inspectors and Chief Inspectors in two specialist departments:[6] 'This gave me valuable skills and experience in representing and promoting the interests of policing colleagues, and influencing internal and external decision makers, including within the Metropolitan Police Force. This included conducting sensitive negotiations with senior staff and dealing with complaints, whilst at the time being cognisant of the ‘politics’ involved.'
  • March 2009 - March 2011: Head of Training for ACPO TAM as (Acting) Detective Chief Inspector. There he:[1] 'Led the design and delivery of specialist training. Collaborated in the delivery of training with [National Police Improvement Agency] and other Government Departments.'
Protect. Coles was 'also involved in the national counter terrorist Protect programme, where I reviewed joint force responses to a complex counter terrorism exercise in the West Midlands.'[6]
  • 2011-2012 (?) his final role being at St. Pancras train station,[1] reviewing the operational capability of security policing in the Eurotunnel in conjunction with French colleagues and our own Border Agencies.[6]
  • 2012: retired from police, with rank of Detective Inspector.[1]

ACPO TAM links

Andy Coles as police constable in uniform.

On his LinkedIn profile, Coles lists counter-terrorism and security operations among his skill set. He also states that he had two periods with the Association of Chief Police Officers where he worked on national units.[1][7] In his personal statement, he adds:[6] 'During my career I was responsible for leading the delivery of counter terrorist training to specialist officers across the United Kingdom on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers, working closely with colleagues in the Security Service to make certain that both agencies could work effectively together in extremely high risk operations against terrorists.'

His work for its' Terrorism and Allied Matters Commttee (ACPO TAM) raises the question of his links to senior police officers who play a considerable role in the spycop scandal, as it was ACPO TAM which oversaw the unrolling of Special Demonstration Squad tactics to the rest of the country. For instance, the Controller of Operations for Special Branch in 1995, Barry Moss, who later with Roger Pearce (another former SDS undercover) was instrumental in establishing the national spycop agency, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.

In the second period that Coles served with the Terrorism and Allied Matters Committee, it was chaired by Assistant Commissioners Bob Quick and John Yates; Vice Chairs included Norman Bettison & Sara Thornton. ACPO TAM was also the unit which ran the National Undercover Working Group. During the period Coles was there, ACPO TAM oversaw the National Domestic Extremism Unit, which by then included the spycop unit National Public Order Intelligence Unit. APCO TAM was also at the time overseeing the development of PREVENT and related counter-terrorism programmes.

According to a 2015 article in the Peterborough Telegraph:[11]

Councillor [Andy] Coles spent 30 years with the Metropolitan Police working in counter terrorism where he advised ministers on the radicalisation of young people in schools. He also spent time working closely with local authorities on difficult and complicated child protection matters.

An examination of his LinkedIn profile a number of people who were part of or close to the National Domestic Extremism Unit (which the NPOIU was merged into in 2006) have recommended Coles for various skills. This includes John Donovan, a former officer with the National Domestic Extremism Team.[1]


Coles is an active member of the Conservative Party. In May 2015 he was elected to the Peterborough City Council as a councillor for the Bretton South Ward, and following the 2016 boundary changes, for the Fletton and Woodston ward. From July 2015 to May 2016 he was member of the council cabinet as a Lead Member with responsibility for Children Services.[1][12] He joined the Police and Crime Panel for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in 2015, and was elected Vice Chair circa January 2016. He resigned from the Panel in July 2016.[12][13]

Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite (left) with his Deputy Commissioner, Andy Coles (right).

On 5th July 2016 Coles took up the position of Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.[12][14] He was personally selected for the role by Jason Ablewhite, who had just been elected as the Commissioner.[14][15][16] He resigned on 15 May 2017, effective immediately following his exposure as a former spycop who acted inappropriately targeting female activists.[5] Still a Tory Councillor for Petersborough, the Annual Council Meeting held a week after his resignation quietly removed him as the Conservative Group Press Officer.[17]

Resignation statement of Andy Coles as Deputy Commissioner for Police and Crime for Cambridgeshire, 15 May 2017.[5]

With a background in sales and management in the food industry, Jason Ablewhite had been Chair of the Police and Crime Panel for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, a councillor for St. Ives for 16 years (including Mayor in 2005). A Conservative Party member, he was Leader and Chief Executive of Huntingdonshire District Council from 2011 to 2016.[18][19] It is notable that St. Ives is close to the site of the significant local employer, vivisection company Huntingdon Life Sciences, a long time focus of animal rights campaigners. As a result, the small town has seen various protests by Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty during the period Ablewhite was a civic leader there.

Civic activities

  • Steering Committee Member, Peterborough Writers' Circle, September 2012 to present (January 2017).[1]
  • Director, Comberton Academy Trust, March 2012 to November/December 2017).[1] Trustee, Comberton Education Trust from July 2012 to present (January 2016).[1] Director, The CAM Academy Trust Ltd from February 2012 to present (January 2017), a related company.[20][21]
  • Chair, Peterborough Take Note Community Choir. He had helped found the choir 'Posh Voices', which became 'Take Note', and was its first Chair from January 2014-January 2015, and then it's Learning & Fundraising Coordinator, January 2014 to August 2016.[1]
  • Partnership Development Manager, Peterborough Council for Voluntary Service, 2014 to April 2015. Focus on helping voluntary organisations to obtain contracts to deliver services to local people.[1] As part of this he was Company Secretary for Peterborough Plus VSCE Consortium Ltd, 18 December 2014 to 1 April 2015.[1][22]
  • Chair, Families First Peterborough. A community interest company seeking to ensure provision of play for children and working with those children in danger of being excluded from school. Board member from October 2013; Chair from March 2014 to present (January 2017).[1][11]
  • Chair, Community Action Peterborough. Member from April 2012, Vice Chair September 2012 to September 2013, and Chair from September 2014 to September 2015. Community Action Peterborough is a federation of community associations in the Peterborough district, providing technical advice, policy work and representation.[1]
  • Chair, West Town Community Association, April 2012 to present (January 2017). Group is a local community organisation.[1]
  • Governor, The Voyager School, 2011; was also Vice Chair of the Board of Governors and Chair of the Finance Personal and Property Committee. From February 2014 to present (January 2017), Chair of Governors for Voyager Academy.[1] In 2015, the school was condemned by OFSTED inspectors for its poor performance and leadership and for lack of progress on problems identified during a February 2014 inspection.[23][24]
  • Governor, West Town Primary Academy, September 2014 to present (January 2017).[1]

Personal details

In 1988, he married and had two daughters; he subsequently separated and remarried.[25] He is an aspiring author, and in 2013 was writing a historical novel about an undercover officer infiltrating radical groups in the 1830s.[26]

He is a supporter of the Saluki Welfare Fund and, he and his family have two Saluki rescue dogs.[12][7] Just after retiring from the London police he was 'setting up two social enterprises involved in Peterborough Area Top Bar Beekeepers, working with others to build a network of bee folk who are interested more in honeybee survival than honey production, and have a hive on felow project dirt project the Green Backyard.'[27]


  • University of Greenwich, 1997-1999: PGCE in Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching.[1]
  • University of Wales, Swansea, 1978-1981: BSc(hons), Zoology & Psychology. While there served with the University of Wales Air Squadron.[1]
  • Wellingborough School, 1968-1978.[1]
  • St. Peter's School, Kettering.[2]


  • Queens Jubilee Medal.[1]
  • Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, March 2008.[1]


  • Fellow, Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers & Commerce.[12]
  • Fellow, Chartered Management Institute.[12]
  • Member, Motorcycle Action Group & Institute of Advanced Motorcycling.[12]
  • Member, Regional Wildlife trust[6]
  • Supporter of the Woodland Trust and the Saluki Welfare Fund.[28]

Public presence

Upon stepping down on 15 May 2017, Coles took down most of his personal social media accounts.

Further resources

  • 'Jessica' interviews & statements
  • Blogs
  • Peace News articles, June 2017:
  • Other
  • A campaign called 'Sack Andy Coles' was established in October 2017 following a public meeting in Peterbrough on 16 September. Its website is at


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 Andy Coles, Profile,, 2016 (accessed 25 January 2017).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Rev. Richard Coles, Fathomless Riches, or how I went from pop to pulpit, Hachette UK, 16 October 2014.
  3. Rob Evans, Cambridgeshire deputy police commissioner facing calls to resign over spy allegations, Guardian, 12 May 2017.
  4. IPCC spokesperion, email from IPPC Media Officer, 16 May 2016
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Statement from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner,, 15 May 2017 (accessed 15 May 2017).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Andy Coles, Personal Statement - Appointment of the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire, annex 3 to Report of Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner, 29 June 2016 (accessed May 2017)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Andy Coles, About, AndysRandomMusings (WordPress blog), undated (accessed 25 January 2017, taken down 16 May 2017).
  8. @AFLimited, Exchange with Rev Richard Coles, 31 January 2017 (accessed May 2017)
  9. Wapping Dispute, Wikipedia, undated (accessed 25 January 2017).
  10. See for example National Co-ordinator Ports Policing, and also: Ray Wilson & Ian Adams, Special Branch: a history 1883-2006, BiteBack Publishing, 2015; and Nigel West, Historical Dictionary of British Intelligence, Scarecrow Press, 18 Feb 2014.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Stephen Briggs, Peterborough City Council cabinet member steps down, Peterborough Telegraph, 20 July 2015 (accessed 25 January 2017).
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 North West Cambridgeshire Conservatives, Cllr Andy Coles - Fletton & Woodston,, undated (accessed 25 January 2017).
  13. Andy Coles, Policing in Peterborough, (blog post), 20 February 2016 (accessed 25 January 2017).
  14. 14.0 14.1 Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, The Commissioner’s Deputy – Andy Coles,, 2016 (accessed 25 January 2017, through since 16 May 2017).
  15. Cambridgeshire's new police and crime commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, has put forward a former police officer as his deputy, Hunts Post, 25 May 2016 (accessed via Nexis).
  16. Andy Coles, June,, 20 Oct 2016 (accessed 25 January 2017).
  17. Petersborough City Council, Record of decisions of the annual council meeting, held 22 May 2017, see point 5, #4 (accessed May 2017)
  18. Office of the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridge, Commissioner’s Biography,, 2016 (accessed 25 January 2017).
  19. New leader announced for district council, Cambridge Evening News, 23 March 2011 (accessed via Nexis)
  20. Andrew Wallace Jardine COLES, Companies House, undated (accessed 25 January 2017).
  21. Members & Trustees, CAM Academy Trust, archived 21 October 2016 (via
  22. Andrew Wallace Jardine COLES - personal appointments, Companies House, undated (accessed 25 January 2017).
  23. John Mitcheson, Special measures monitoring inspection of The Voyager Academy, Letter from OFSTED, 12 June 2016 (accessed 25 January 2017).
  24. On 15 May 2017, the Voyager School asked Andy Coles to step down for the duration of the IPCC investigation into his conduct as an undercover police officer. It stated: Following the publication of these historic allegations we have asked Mr Coles to step down as Chair of Governors without prejudice while the IPCC investigation takes place. Undercover Research Group: email from Voyager School in response to a third par seen 16 May 2017. See also Andy Coles accused of deceiving 19-year-old into relationship, Morning Star, 16 May 2017 (accessed 16 May 2017).
  25. Undercover Research Group: search of public records, January 2017.
  26. Andy Coles, However Roguish A Man, AndysRandomMusings (WordPress blog), June 2013 (accessed 25 January 2017, taken down 16 May 2017).
  27. Project Dirt, About Andy Coles, 12 May 2013 (accessed May 2017)
  28. North West Cambridgeshire Conservative Association (NWCCA), Cllr Andy Coles - Fletton & Woodston, NWCCA website, no date (accessed May 2017)