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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
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Alias: unknown
Deployment: 1970s

HN302 is the cipher given to a former Special Demonstration Squad undercover officer deployed in the 1970s into one group via two their groups, none of which currently exist. They admit a fleeting sexual encounter through one of the latter two groups. Mitting states:[1] The Inquiry Chair, John Mitting, has ruled that for the purposes of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, HN302 will be anonymous, with neither cover or real name to be released on grounds of risk to HN302.[2] However, they had previously appeared in the True Spies documentary under the pseudonym 'Brian'.[3]

As an SDS officer

According to their Impact Statement, HN302 joined Special Branch in the late 1960s and was recruited into SDS by HN294, stating: 'I was primarily involved in [one group] but also attended meetings and protests with other groups with similar ideologies'. They also said 'As was the practice at that time and as I was instructed to do, I adopted the identity of a deceased child. I did not make use of or develop other aspects of the child's background for my covert identity'. They also had a cover job which appears to involve a third party. They also stated:[4]

I had one sexual encounter at the very beginning of my deployment with a woman who was on the periphery of [group name redacted]. This was not a group that I was deployed in and I did not see her again. I do not recall her name and I would be surprised if she remembers my cover name. I was a single man at the time, both in my real life and as part of my covert identity.

From their risk assessment, HN302 had no formal training as an undercover, or psychometric testing / evaluation. They stated there 'was an unwritten rule that anonymity was assured; to the degree it was implicitly implied'. They were never arrested and HN302 described the deployment as a 'prominent success in the intelligence N302 gathered and passed consistently for an extended period of time to prevent public disorder'. They described the support and welfare provided during the deployment as non-existent.[5]

They took part in the 2002 True Spies documentary using the pseudonym 'Brian'[3] and in relation to this, state:[4]

My face was not shown and my identity was not revealed during this programme.[4]

On this, the risk assessment noted:[5]

N302 understood that the documentary had been sanctioned by ACPO-TAM (police senior body) and via the Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations (ACSO) within the MPS. The content of N302's input was generic and provided little or no detail of the deployment.

They left the SDS early due to ill-health, they believe was linked to stress, and have other medical issues. They also gave evidence in a criminal trial under their real name 'during police work subsequent to [their] time in the SDS'.[3][4]

The risk assessor found that there was high likelihood of harm and interference in HN302's life, including media attention if real or cover name was released. They also felt there was not a sufficient 'sterile corridor' between the real and cover name, so if the latter was released it would lead to the former.[5]

In the Undercover Policing Inquiry

  • 11 Jan 2018: Directions issued for any application for restriction orders to be submitted by end of Jan 2018.[6]
  • 29 January 2018: Metropolitan Police Service apply for complete anonymity for HN302.[7]
  • 7 March 2018: Mitting indicates that neither real nor cover name will be published, saying:[1]
The nature of the deployment was such as to create a real risk to the safety of HN302. To an extent whcih cannot be precisely quantified, that risk remains. Because it is contingent, it does not engage Articles 2 or 3 of the Convention, but if it were to mature the harm to HN302 would be serious, possibly even lethal.
The right of [the person in the sexual encounter] to know the identify of HN302 is outweighed by the risk of safety of HN302.
  • 15 May 2018: ruling - real and cover names to be restricted, with Mitting saying:[2]
I accept the submission that a "proper investigation ought not to assume that it (the officer's admission of a fleeting sexual encounter) is necessarily correct". However, I cannot, at this stage of the Inquiry undertake such an investigation. No is it necessary to do so, because the reason for the order which I will make is the existence of a real risk to the safety fo HN302. I do not accept the further submission that I should enquire into and, it seems, determine whether or not a criminal offence was committed: to do so would require me to infringe section 2(1) of the Inquiries Act.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Sir John Mitting, In the matter of section 19(3) of the Inquiries Act 2005. Applications for restriction orders in respect of the real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and Special Demonstration Squad - 'Minded To' Note 5, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 7 March 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 In the matter of section 19 (3) of the Inquiries Act 2005 Applications for restriction orders in respect of the real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstrations Squad: Ruling, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 15 May 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Additional information to be read with the gisted risk assessment for HN302, Undercover Policing Inquiry', 2018, published 8 May 2018 via
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 'HN302', Impact Statement of N302, Metropolitan Police Service, 8 January 2018, published 8 May 2018 via
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Graham Walker, N302 - Risk Assessment (gisted), Metropolitan Police Service, 29 March 2018, published 8 May 2018 via
  6. 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 January 2018.
  7. Open application for a restriction order (anonymity) re: HN302, Metropolitan Police Service, 29 January 2018, published 8 May 2018 via