10 May 2018

The Inquiry is today publishing its Strategic Review (PDF, 829KB) which includes an outline timeline for the Inquiry’s work to deliver on its terms of reference.

The strategic review commenced in 2017 after it became clear that the Inquiry would not be in a position to issue its report to the Home Secretary within the three year period anticipated in its terms of reference. In conducting this review the Inquiry has considered whether or not there are any realistic alternative approaches to that currently being followed by the Inquiry in respect of its investigation of undercover policing.

The Chairman to the Inquiry, Sir John Mitting says that:

“The Inquiry’s preliminary stages will soon be complete. Investigation about deployments by the Special Demonstration Squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, already well underway, will now move to centre stage and evidence hearings will begin in June 2019. The strategic review sets out the dates on which it is intended that the evidence thus gathered will be considered and heard over a two year period, after which I shall prepare an interim report on factual findings and conclusions on the evidence heard.

The work of the Inquiry remains uniquely sensitive and it is important that undercover policing is subject to the rigour of independent public examination. My efforts and those of the Inquiry team to ensure the Inquiry gets to the truth continue unabated.”

Hearing on the proposed timeline: Friday 18 May

A hearing has been arranged for Friday 18 May so that the Inquiry can discuss with the state core participants, in particular, what needs to be done to meet the Inquiry’s ambitious timeline. The state bodies can also set out what they will require from the Inquiry to be able to meet the proposed timeline.

While the focus of the hearing will be on state resources and processes, it is an open hearing that non-police, non-state core participants or affected individuals may also wish to attend. This will not be the final opportunity for core participants to comment on the review, or to engage with the Inquiry on how it might meet its projected timeline. Written submissions will not be required in advance of the hearing on Friday 18 May.

The hearing will take place in Court 76 at the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London WC2A 2LL.

Key elements of the strategic review

Inquiry Timeline

  • The preliminary stages of the Inquiry will soon be complete. Preparation for the hearing of evidence about deployments by the Special Demonstration Squad and National Public Order Intelligence Unit is underway.
  • Hearings are intended to begin in June 2019.
  • The Chairman will set out his findings of fact and conclusions in an interim report that he plans to deliver to the Home Secretary in the early summer of 2022.
  • The Chairman will ask the Home Secretary to appoint a panel in 2021 to enable the Inquiry to make recommendations for the future of undercover policing and to support him in producing the Inquiry’s final report.
  • The final report is anticipated to be with the Home Secretary before the end of 2023.

Interim Report and Final Report

When the evidential hearings into modules one and two of the Inquiry are complete, the Chairman will set out findings of fact and conclusions to the Home Secretary in an interim report in the early summer of 2022. On current assumptions, it is anticipated that the delivery of the final report to the Home Secretary with recommendations for change (ie. module three) will take place towards the end of 2023.

Panel for Module Three of the Inquiry

Following the completion of evidential hearings and during his drafting of an interim report, the Chairman will ask the Home Secretary to appoint a panel to enable the Inquiry to make recommendations for the future conduct of undercover policing and to support the Chairman in producing the Inquiry’s final report.

The panel will need to be in place for module three of the Inquiry and will be informed by the interim report, but will be free, collectively, to reach conclusions about the future.

Summary of key points in the strategic review:

  • The key milestones for delivering the Inquiry (page 7)
  • That there will be an interim report at the end of module two as well as the final report with recommendations (page 29)
  • The approach to receiving evidence
  • The commitment to independence and openness with a proposed consultation on access to hearings (pages 22 and 25)
  • How evidence will be given dependent on the status of restriction orders
  • The proposed approach to and format of hearings for module one and module two (page 25)
  • The request to appoint a panel to advise on recommendations following findings of fact and evidence from hearings (page 29)


The purpose of the Undercover Policing Inquiry is to investigate and report on undercover police operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces in England and Wales since 1968.

The Inquiry will examine the contribution undercover policing has made to tackling crime, how it was and is supervised and regulated, and its effect on individuals involved – both police officers and others who came into contact with them.

The work of the Inquiry ranges across the full scope of undercover policing work and will look at the work of the Special Demonstration Squad, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit and police forces in England and Wales. The Inquiry will also examine whether people may have been wrongly convicted in cases involving undercover police officers, and refer any such cases to a separate panel for consideration.

The Inquiry’s investigations are broken down into modules. The descriptions of modules Two and Three have been amended to spell out more clearly the Inquiry’s investigative intentions.


Examination of the deployment of undercover officers in the past, their conduct, and the impact of their activities on themselves and others.


Examination of the management and oversight of undercover officers, including their selection, training, supervision, care after the end of an undercover deployment and the legal and regulatory framework within which undercover policing is carried out. Module Two (a) will involve managers and administrators from within undercover policing units. Module Two (b) will involve senior managers higher in the chain of command as well as police personnel who handled intelligence provided by undercover police officers. Module Two (c) will involve a number of other government bodies with a connection to undercover policing, including the Home Office.


Examination of current undercover policing practices and of how undercover policing should be conducted in future.


  1. The Undercover Policing Inquiry is constituted under the Inquiries Act 2005 (PDF, 207KB)
  2. The Inquiry’s terms of reference were announced by the Home Secretary on 16 July 2015.
  3. The Inquiry’s Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 96KB) v document provides more information on the Inquiry more generally, as do its published update notes
  4. The Inquiry’s website is www.ucpi.orq.uk and the Inquiry can be found on Twitter @ucpinquiry.

For further information please contact the Inquiry’s Head of Communications, Jo Coles:

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 07827 818 460