19 Jan 2022
In a new minded-to note (PDF, 47.35KB), the Chairman of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, Sir John Mitting, gave his provisional decisions on anonymity applications from 10 National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) officers.
The Chairman is minded to make restriction orders over the real names of nine of the officers and not to make an order over the real name of one of the officers – EN107. Additionally, the Chairman is minded not to make an order over the name EN59 was known by during his police service.
The officers to whom the Chairman is minded to grant real name anonymity are EN 59, EN 69, EN 108, EN 121, EN 292, EN 401, EN 433, EN 447 and EN 620.
All of the officers included in this latest minded-to note carried out senior management roles in connection with the deployment of undercover police officers seconded to the NPOIU or other senior roles as a result of which it considered likely that those individuals will have relevant evidence to give to the Inquiry. As a result of its investigations to date, the Inquiry identified 27 individuals who carried out such roles and from whom the Inquiry considered it likely that it would seek evidence from. All these individuals were given the opportunity to make anonymity applications, but only 10 did so.
The Inquiry will publish open versions of the relevant application material and a direction inviting the media and core participants to submit representations regarding the proposed orders in due course. After any representations have been made and considered, the Inquiry will publish a ruling with the final decisions on the anonymity applications.
This latest minded-to note contains what is expected to be the final batch of provisional decisions on NPOIU anonymity applications. However, if, in the future, the Inquiry needs to seek evidence from another individual, further anonymity applications may need to be considered.
The minded-to note is accompanied by an explanatory note (PDF, 35.41KB) from Counsel to the Inquiry.
The Inquiry has published two rulings regarding NPOIU anonymity to date:
- The first ruling (PDF, 2.9MB) was published on 30 October 2018 and concerned applications from 22 NPOIU officers.
- The second ruling (PDF, 39.84KB) was published on 1 September 2021 and concerned applications from 16 NPOIU officers.
The NPOIU is one of two main undercover policing units being investigated by the Inquiry. The other unit is the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). The process for determining anonymity applications from former SDS officers and managers is complete.
Why anonymity is sometimes needed
The 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 core participants – including 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, because of the nature of the deployments they have undertaken.
- 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.
Where individuals have been deceived into relationships, the Chairman has stated (PDF, 375KB) that, when the true identity of an undercover officer is not restricted, the deceived individuals have a right to know the real name. Should a deceived individual confirm they wish to know the unrestricted true identity of the officer who deceived them, the Inquiry provides the name to them with no terms of confidence applied. Wider publication of the true identity will take place in these cases by leaving the name un-redacted in documents when they are published or otherwise shared by the Inquiry and, in due course, by displaying the name in the officer tables on the Inquiry website.
The ‘Publications’ page of the Inquiry website contains copies of any restriction orders made along with open versions of the anonymity applications.
National Public Order Intelligence Unit
In or around 1986, the Special Branch network set up the Animal Rights National Index (ARNI). The ARNI developed into the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) in or around 1999. In or around 2010, the NPOIU merged with two other units to become the National Domestic Extremism Unit.
The NPOIU’s role was to manage all intelligence considered to relate to domestic extremism. Their work included carrying out undercover policing operations.
The Inquiry is considering the undercover policing activities of officers and managers and those affected by deployments in tranches ordered chronologically. NPOIU officers and managers and those affected by deployments are the focus of Tranche 4.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Inquiry is constituted under the Inquiries Act 2005 (PDF, 207KB)
The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference (PDF, 84KB) were announced by the Home Secretary on 16 July 2015.
You can find further background to the Inquiry on the ‘About’ page of the Inquiry’s website.
For further information please contact the Inquiry’s communications team:
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 07585 908612