HN333

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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
'HN333'
Male silhouette.png
Alias: unknown
Deployment: 1968-1969
Unit:
Targets:
left wing group that no longer exists

HN333' is the cipher given to a former undercover officer with the Special Demonstration Squad who was deployed for nine months in 1968-1969 into a left wing group which no longer exists.

The Chair of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, John Mitting, has ruled that the officer's real and cover names are to be restricted for the purposes of the Inquiry.[1]

As an SDS officer

HN333 was deployed for 9 months in 1968-1969 against a left-wing group which no longer exists. According to the Inquiry, no known allegation of misconduct against him and he neither committed any crimes or took the identity of a dead child as part of his cover. He described his training as 'rudimentary'. He infiltrated his target group by answering an advert for people who were following the philosophy of [redacted]. Subsequently attended meetings of this small group. He characterised the group as extremist. Now in his 70s and retired.[2][3] [4] Their cover name is known.[5]

According to the risk assessment, N333 received no specific assurance or guarantee of anonymity from senior officer(s), and states that there was only 'implied implication' of future anonymity'.[4] He subsequently went on to have a 'long and distinguished career' in the police.[2]


In the Undercover Policing Inquiry

The MPS applied to restrict the real name only, while N333's designated laywer has applied to restrict the cover name. Other August 2017 application documents: open submissions, personal statement and risk assessment (Graham Walker).[6]

Mitting indicated in his August 2017 that he was Minded-To restrict publishing both real and cover names, stating:[3]

"If his cover name were to be disclosed, it is very unlikely that it would prompt evidence from one or more members of the target group which would assist the Inquiry to fulfil its terms of reference. It would also be unlikely to prompt a threat to his personal safety or to that of his family. There is, however, a small – in my judgement, very small – risk that if his cover name were to be associated with the valuable duties which he performed subsequent to his deployment, he would be of interest to those who might pose such a threat. The nature of that risk is set out more fully in the closed reasons which accompany this note."

The application on the real name was heard at the hearing of 21 November 2017,[7] with Mitting ruling in favour of restricting the real name on 5 December.[8] The Restriction Order was released on 8 December 2017.

In making his ruling, Mitting wrote:[8]

There is not and never has been any known allegation of misconduct against him. No real threat to his personal safety or that of his family would arise from surviving members or associates of his target group. Subsequent to his deployment, he performed valuable duties in another police role. There is a real, if unquantifiable, risk that if his cover name were to be published, it would lead to the identification of his real name. In those circumstances, a very small risk to life and limb would arise from those with an interest in his later activities.

These risks were set out in closed reasons. Mitting also relied on that the 'deployment was short and appears to have been unremarkable', and that other officers could give evidence on similar deployments in the early days of the SDS. Mitting also went on to say:[8]

Further, this is a case in which the expectation of lifetime confidentiality held by HN333 is a relevant factor. he was entitled to rely upon it when he undertook the valuable duties which gave rise to the very small risk to his safety.

See also the NPSCP submissions of 5 October 2017.

The ruling restricting both the officer's real and cover names was handed down on 5 December 2017.[8]

Notes

  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 ‘Minded to’ note 2, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 14 November 2017 (accessed 15 November 2017).
  2. 2.0 2.1 'HN333', Open personal statement (redacted), Metropolitan Police Service, 25 May 2017 (accessed via UCPI.org.uk).
  3. 3.0 3.1 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 the Special Demonstrations Squad ‘Minded to’ note, Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI.org.uk), 3 August 2017.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Graham Walker, HN333 Open risk assessment, Metropolitan Police Service, 2 May 2017 (accessed via UCPI.org.uk).
  5. Press Release: 'Minded to' note, ruling and directions in respect of anonymity applications relating to former officers of the Special Demonstration Squad, Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI.org.uk), 3 August 2017.
  6. David Barr & Kate Wilkinson, Counsel to the Inquiry's explanatory note to accompany the 'Minded to' note 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 Policing Inquiry (UCPI.org.uk), 3 August 2017.
  7. Transcript of hearing of 21 November 2017, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 21 November 2017.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 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: Ruling, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 5 December 2017.