8 Nov 2018

Nine former undercover officers who were part of the Special Demonstration Squad have today been granted anonymity over their real names, in a ruling issued by Sir John Mitting.

Seven of the officers have already had their cover names published by the Inquiry as it seeks to get to the truth of undercover policing.

Cover names are the names by which individuals would have known undercover officers by. Publishing cover names helps those affected to come forward and, so far, 60 cover names have already been published.
The 7 officers whose cover names have been published, but whose real names will be restricted are:

  • Desmond/Barry Loader (HN13), Kevin Douglas (HN25), Kathryn Lesley ‘Lee’ Bonser (HN33), Nicholas Green (HN82), Michael James (HN96), Roger Harris (HN200) and Graham Coates (HN304).

The 8th officer known as HN30 was a cover officer – an officer responsible for an undercover officer’s security and welfare. This means it is not expected that HN30’s cover name would be known to members of the public. This officer will have their real name restricted and consideration will be given to the release of their cover name at the document redaction stage.

The 9th officer known by the nominal HN4, will have neither their cover name nor real name published. However the restriction order will contain a proviso to allow HN4 to give public evidence about their deployment under a cypher.

Why anonymity is sometimes needed

This Inquiry aims to be as open and transparent as possible. However, to discover the truth about undercover policing, in some cases, evidence will need to be heard by the Inquiry without members of the public or some core participants being present at the hearing.

This can be because:

  • Some non-state core participants – sometimes people who have been deceived into relationships with officers – want their privacy respected.
  • Exposure of identities could put individuals at a present and ongoing serious risk of injury, or in extreme cases, death.
  • Revealing identities could damage individual’s or their family’s private life, and contravene their human rights.

What a restriction order is

Anonymity can be granted by the Chairman through a restriction order, which is a protective measure under the Inquiries Act 2005.

In most cases, the Chairman issues a ‘minded to’ note which allows interested groups to make representations for or against his provisional decisions on key anonymity applications.

The directions, rulings and orders webpage contains copies of any restriction orders made. Copies of the open versions of the anonymity applications are also on the website.

Background

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.

One

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

Two

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.

Three

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

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. The Undercover Policing Inquiry is constituted under the Inquiries Act 2005
  2. The Inquiry’s terms of reference ii were announced by the Home Secretary on 16 July 2015.
  3. The Inquiry’s Strategic Review iii was published in May 2018.
  4. The Inquiry’s Restriction Protocol was published in May 2017.
  5. The Inquiry’s Frequently Asked Questions v document provides more information on the Inquiry more generally, as do its published update notes.
  6. 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, Patrick Coyne:

Email: press.queries@ucpi.org.uk

Tel: 07766 524224