Lush has been slammed by shoppers and members of the police for a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the “spy cops” scandal.

The cosmetics retailer said its #SpyCops campaign was designed to “raise awareness of the ongoing undercover policing scandal, where officers have infiltrated the lives, homes and beds of activists”.

It added that it wanted “to highlight the current lack of progress of the undercover policing inquiry and the granting of anonymity to key police witnesses”.

The campaign comes amid a public inquiry, set up in 2015, into claims of wrongdoing by undercover officers who infiltrated activist groups in England and Wales.

But consumers have taken to social media to condemn the campaign and accuse Lush of attacking the police.

Che Donald, vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, took to Twitter to describe the campaign as “very poorly thought out” and “damaging” to police officers involved in the inquiry.

Donald used the hashtag #FlushLush, which was used almost 2,000 times in the 12 hours after the campaign was launched.

The Lush Facebook page has received around 20,000 negative reviews, the majority of which have been sparked by the #SpyCops campaign.

Lush insisted it was not “an anti-police campaign” but was intended to urge home secretary Sajid Javid to listen to campaigners, who have accused the inquiry of protecting officers.

The business added on Twitter: “To clear this up, this isn’t an anti-police campaign, it’s to highlight the abuse that people face when their lives have been infiltrated by undercover police.”

The Advertising Standards Authority said it was “assessing the complaints” but said Lush was not under investgation.