15 Nov 2018
The Inquiry has today published provisional decisions on anonymity for 16 officers.
The officers have applied for anonymity as part of the Undercover Policing Inquiry which aims to get to the truth of undercover policing over the past 50 years.
All were officers seconded to the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, which was in existence between 1999 and 2010.
Now in a new ‘Minded to’ note 3 published today, the Chairman, Sir John Mitting, has set out his provisional decisions on the officers’ applications and the rationale behind them.
The note reveals that the Chairman is ‘Minded to’:
- Refuse applications for restriction orders, which would mean the real names of seven officers will be published in the evidence in due course: EN26, EN28, EN31 , EN50, EN52, EN54 and EN407
- Restrict the real names of eight officers: EN29, EN30, EN32, EN49, EN51 , EN53, EN291 and EN506
- Restrict the real name, but refuse to restrict the cover name of one officer: EN508. This will be published once internal Inquiry checks are complete.
This ‘Minded to’ note is the third concerning officers of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit. It is accompanied by a further explanatory note.
A minded to note is a document which allows interested groups to make representations against the Chairman’s thinking before a final ruling follows in due course.
Most of the 16 officers were cover officers. A cover officer is an officer allocated to an undercover officer, who is responsible for matters such as security and welfare.
However, EN32 – whose cover name ‘Rod Richardson’ has already been published by the Inquiry – and EN508 were undercover officers.
Closed hearings will now take place to allow a provisionally refused applicant for anonymity an opportunity to respond to the Chairman’s ‘Minded to’ decision.
Following these hearings, other non-police, non-state core participants and the media will also then be allowed to have their say.
Why anonymity is sometimes needed
This Inquiry aims to be as open and transparent as possible and so far the cover names of 60 officers have been published.
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 individuals or their family’s private life, and contravene their human rights.
In these cases, anonymity can be granted by the Chairman through a restriction order, which is a protective measure under the Inquiries Act 2005.
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.
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.
NOTES TO EDITORS
- The Undercover Policing Inquiry is constituted under the Inquiries Act 2005
- The Inquiry’s terms of reference were announced by the Home Secretary on 16 July 2015.
- The Inquiry’s Strategic Review was published in May 2018.
- The Inquiry’s Frequently Asked Questions document provides more information on the Inquiry more generally, as do its published update notes
- 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:
Tel: 07766 524224