HN30

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This article is part of the Undercover Research Portal at Powerbase - investigating corporate and police spying on activists



Part of a series on
undercover police officers
'HN30'
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Alias: unknown
Deployment: '2004-2008'
Unit:
Targets:
cover officer

HN30 is the cipher given to a former officer with the Special Demonstration Squad, serving as cover officer / desk officer from 2004 to the closure of the unit in 2008.[1] The Chair of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, Sir John Mitting, has ruled that her name will be restricted for the purposes of the Inquiry[2] (for details of the N cipher system see N officers).

As an SDS officer

According to her 'impact statement' they joined the police in the early 1980s, and Special Branch a few years later, where she held a variety of rules. This included one operation which the 'officer believes gives rise to a risk of significant harm'. She also stated:[3]

My role within the SDS was a back office role, predominantly as a cover officer, in the last years of the SDS. I was never deployed as an undercover officer.
I understood that all my service in Special Branch was confidential I have always maintained confidentiality after my career and have told nobody (other than my husband) any of the details of my time in Special Branch or the details of the work I did.

According to her risk assessment:[1]

  • Prior to serving with the SDS she carried out 'work in units which targeted groups also targeted by the SDS'.
  • She declared a security concern from two police postings.
  • Approached to join SDS by N36, a SDS manager [Detective Chief Inspector heading the unit]:
She initially declined for personal reasons.N30 informed the risk assessor that N36 had old her that she had been recommended. N30 believes the recommendation was either from N10 [ Bob Lambert ] or N90 [Mark Kerry (alias), infiltrated Socialist Workers Party / London Anti-Apartheid Group]. This convinced N30 to join the SDS as a desk/cover officer.
N30 had already completed an approved agent handling course and believed this would assist her in this new role. There was no psychometric training. N30 moved into the back office in a support role. This comprised administrative duties, general support and cover officer roles.
  • She served as a cover / desk officer in the SDS from 2004 to 2008. Her main function was as a cover officer, but she also 'performed a variety of roles in her support function'.
  • 2007 recommended one SDS officer for a Commissioners Commendation, though it is not clear if this was awarded.
  • She used a cover name in her role as a cover officer, for administrative purposes only (never with target groups), but it was not the name of a dead child. N30 travelled abroad as a cover officer on several occasions. For this she used her own passport and travelled separately from the undercover. Each occasion abroad was authorised by the Commander of Special Branch and included a risk assessment (presumably Janet Williams or Phil Gormley).
  • Two tasking meetings took place each week. The first of these was in the SDS office, and was to 'de-brief the weekend's activity'; the second was at cover flat and was to task the undercover for the upcoming weekend. All undercovers and back office staff were to attend these. These were in addition to each undercover calling in daily - these 'call-ins were recorded on a grid and kept in a binder in the back office'.
  • N30 stated 'that no one to her knowledge was involved in a sexual relationship during her tenure'. 'Andrea' has stated that her relationship with Carlo Neri lasted into 2004, but it is not clear how much overlap there was with HN30's time as a cover officer. None of the other undercover deployed by the SDS while she was with the unit are known to have relationships at the time of writing.
Structure of SDS in its last years

The risk assessment sets out the N-numbers of the officers performing management / back office roles during her time there as

  • Detective Chief Inspectors: HN36, HN275, HN314 - these would have been heads of the unit.
  • Detective Inspectors: HN72, HN53 - deputy heads of unit.
  • Detective Sergeants: HN49, HN24, HN35
  • Detective Constables: HN110

The risk assessment also noted that during her tenure, the undercovers deployed were: Jason Bishop (HN3), Rob Harrison (HN18), Carlo Neri (HN104), Dave Evans (HN60), Jackie Anderson (HN77), Dave Jones (HN66 "Bob the Builder"), Ross McInnes (HN79 - United British Alliance), Darren Prowse (HN44 - BNP, not deployed), Simon Wellings (HN118). The risk assessment notes that Jason Bishop, Dave Evans and Rob Harrison were the only undercover police arrested while she was a cover officer.

Bishop and Evans were arrested in Scotland during the G8 Summit protests of 2005 (see under Jason Bishop. Of this, the risk assessment states:[1]

N30's recollection was that she had to return to London and N36 and N53 dealt with this matter.

the implication being that she was in Scotland during the lead up to the G8.

Of Rob Harrison's arrest for a 'minor public order offence', the risk assessment noted:

Although she was a supervisor and had been a cover officer for N18, N72 was the operational DI and took responsibility for the matter. N30 stated that in her opinion senior management used the perceived mismanagement of this arrest to close the unit.


At one point the risk assessment notes:[1]

the closure of the unit in 2008 by N314 and N275 was, in the opinion of N30, unfair and the cause of some friction with the remainder of the management team.

This is repeated later in the assessment:

She commented: its so unfair. This is blame culture that began with the closure of the unit by N314 and N275. They could have closed the unit much earlier and more fairly. They used N72 as a fall guy. It was really unfair. When I talk and think about it, it really upsets me.
When commenting on the SDS, N72 stated 'N314 and N275 undermined field officers. They had it in for N110 and they tried to get rid of another backroom staff, N30'.

This needs to be compared to a 2014 report in the Guardian which stated:[4]

The Scotland Yard undercover unit that gathered intelligence on 18 grieving families was known by police chiefs six years ago to have been so out of control it had "lost [its] moral compass" and become a "force within a force".

Further points noted by the risk assessment are:[1]

  • With regards welfare, HN30 discussed and praised the lead which her bosses, Det. Ch. Insp. HN36 & Det. Insp. HN53, took regarding that of undercovers. She noted there was no formal welfare support in place for back office staff, but it was available if needed.
  • HN30 did not receive commendations for her work in the SDS. Following the closing of the unit in 2008 she returned to regular policing in the Metropolitan Police, and later resigned following a restructuring.

In the Undercover Policing Inquiry

  • 11 May 2018, directed that anonymity applications for HN18 were to be filed by 31 May 2018 for both the MPS legal team and the Designated Lawyers team.[5]
  • 21 June 2018: the Chair of the Inquiry, John Mitting, indicated he was minded to restrict the real name of HN30, there being no cover name.[6][7] The Explanatory Note from the Counsel to the Inquiry said an open application would be published in due course and a date set for any responses to the 'Minded To' note and added 'As this is not an UCO, any cover name will be considered at the document redaction stage'.[8]
Mitting wrote in his 'minded to' of June 2018:[7]
HN30 was a cover officer in the last years of existence of the Special Demonstration Squad. Performance of her duties as such did not and does not expose her to any risk of harm. For reasons particular to some of the undercover officers for whom she provided cover, a significant part of her evidence will have to be given in closed session, in any event. But for the matter referred to below, there would have been no reason why she should not give public evidence about the remainder of her duties in her own name.
During her police career, she participated in an operation which did give rise to a risk to her safety. To an extent that cannot be quantified now, that risk, although small, remains. It is not necessary to run it, to permit the Inquiry to fulfil its terms of reference. She will give evidence about performance of her Special Demonstration Squad duties, except that which has to be given in closed session, in public under her cypher. Nothing of value will be lost by her doing so. In those circumstances, the interference in her right to respect for an aspect of her private life -her physical integrity -which would be caused by publication of her real name would not be justified under Article8(2) of the European Convention.
A closed note also accompanied the above.
  • 30 July 2018: an 'Explanatory Note' issued on this day said that in light of the application, open material will be published and a date to respond to the 'minded to' of June 2018 will be set. It also added:[9]
Given this is not an [undercover officer], any cover name will be considered at the document redaction stage.
The position remained unchanged as of 13 September 2018.[10]
  • 2 October 2018: Open application (originally issued 30 May 2018),[11] risk assessment[1] and impact statement[3] released. HN30 noted about their personal security:
However, no matter how small the risk is, it is a risk to my physical safety. I will have to take steps to increase my security awareness at a time when I am now retired and having thought I had moved on from that. [Gist of particular concern]. I thought I had moved on from this.
It is also therefore the impact on our day-to-day lives that concerns me. The non-restriction of my name and its association with SDS shines a light onto it and gives it much greater prominence than it had [since the operation].
  • 8 November 2018: Mitting ruled that the officer's real name will be restricted for the purposes of the Inquiry.[2]

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Adrian Baxter, N30 - Risk Assessment (gisted), Metropolitan Police Service, 28 August 2018 (accessed 2 October 2018, via ucpi.org.uk).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sir John Mitting, Applications for restriction orders in respect of the real and cover names of officers of the Special Demonstration Squad and Special Duties Squad Ruling 13, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 8 November 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 HN30, Re: Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing - Impact Statement of HN30, Metropolitan Police Service, 30 May 2018 (accessed via ucpi.org.uk).
  4. Vikram Dodd & Rob Evans, Police chiefs were aware six years ago that undercover unit 'had lost moral compass', The Guardian, 24 July 2014 (viewed 10 January 2019).
  5. Sir John Mitting, Applications for restriction orders in respect of the real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstrations Squad: Directions, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 11 May 2018.
  6. Press notice - 'Minded to' decisions relating to anonymity applications: Special Demonstration Squad, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 21 June 2018.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Sir John Mitting, Applications for restriction orders in respect of the real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstration Squad - 'Minded To' Note 11, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 21 June 2018.
  8. Counsel to the Inquiry's Explanatory Note to accompany the Chairman's 'Minded To' Note 9 and Ruling 8 in respect of applications for restrictions over the real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and Special Demonstration Squad: Update as at 21 June 2018, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 21 June 2018.
  9. Kate Wilkinson, Counsel to the Inquiry's Explanatory Note to accompany the Chairman's 'Minded To' Note 12 in respect of applications for restrictions over the real and cover name of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstration Squad - Update as at 30 July 2018, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 30 July 2018.
  10. Kate Wilkinson, Counsel to the Inquiry's Explanatory Note to accompany the Chairman's 'Minded-To' Note 12 in respect of applications for restrictions over the real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstration Squad, Undercover Public Inquiry, 13 September 2018.
  11. Designated Lawyers Team, Application for restriction order (anonymity) in respect of HN30's identity, Metropolitan Police Service, 30 May 2018 (released via ucpi.org.uk 2 October 2018).