HN97 is the cipher given to a former undercover officer with the Special Demonstration Squad who was deployed in the 1980s to infiltrate one group and reported on many others. The Chair of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, John Mitting, has ruled the Inquiry will restrict both real and cover names on unknown grounds.
For the N cipher system see N officers page.
As a SDS undercover
Joined MPS in late 1970s and joined Special Branch in early 1980s. Deployed in 1980s, but resigned from Metropolitan Police in the 1990s. The group deployed posed no real risk to public order or to HN97 personally.
Before being formally accepted by SDS was visited at home; an assurance of anonymity was provide to HN97 and his wife.
HN97 says they had no relationships while deployed, and was not arrested. The risk assessment notes that HN97 describes good support from colleagues, including regular meetings with other undercovers and managers.
The risk assessment notes that though there will be 'overwhelming interest' in the deployment, the risk level is high, even if only cover name is disclosed. They are also concerned that if their real name was released it would 'destroy my current career'.
An extra note from the Inquiry stated:
- Much of the intelligence reporting by HN97 at an early stage of the deployment is not available from within MPS Special Branch records. Efforts to retrieve material from other locations has resulted in some, possibly all, contemporaneous records being gathered.
In the Undercover Policing Inquiry
- 11 May 2018: directed that applications for HN91 were to be filed by 31 May 2018.
- 21 June 2018: Application over real and cover name made which the Chair of the Inquiry, John Mitting, is minded to grant. Open material to be published in due course to allowing responses to Mitting's position. In his 'Minded To' note, Mitting wrote:
- HN97 is in his 60s. His deployment is of significant interest to the Inquiry and must be explored in detail to permit the terms of reference to be fulfilled. The group into which he was deployed posed no risk to public order or to him personally. Despite that, there would be a real risk, which cannot be precisely quantified, from sources which cannot now be identified, to his safety if his real or cover name were to be published and/or if certain details of his deployment were to be made public. Balancing the public interest in providing as much public information as possible about it against the need to protect his own safety and/or the public interest in ensuring that his real identity is not disclosed when evidence about his deployment is received will be a delicate and difficult task, which must be addressed soon.
- The restriction orders which I am minded to make are necessary to avoid a risk of harm to HN97 and to avoid impairing the effectiveness of the Inquiry.... They are also necessary to avoid an unjustified risk of interference in the right of HN97 to respect for an aspect of his private life - physical integrity - and of his and his family's right to respect for private and family life...
- A closed note accompanies and expands upon these reasons.
- 9 July 2018: provisional decision to restrict both real and cover names with application documents released:
- Open application for restriction order (anonymity) re: HN97, 29 May 2018, from Metropolitan Police Service to cover real and cover names.
- Open risk assessment, 22 June 2018 (Graham Walker)
- Inquiry's gist of additional information from HN97’s closed risk assessment
- Open impact statement, 28 May 2018.
- It was also directed that any objections to Mitting's intention to grant the restriction order to be made by 20 July 2018.
- 30 July 2018: final ruling that real and cover name cannot be published, Mitting writing:
- It is submitted that the risk assessment is internally contradictory. It is not. The risk assessor's assessment, which I accept, is that disclosure of the real or cover name of HN97 creates a risk, which cannot be precisely quantified, of extreme, life-threatening, violence. The issue is more fully considered in the closed risk assessment and in the closed note which accompanied 'Minded to' note 11. I have already acknowledged the difficulty in reconciling the public interest in the receipt of evidence about his deployment and the need to protect his safety. Meanwhile, I have decided that there should be a restriction order in respect of both his real and cover name.
- 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.
- 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 12 and Ruling 10, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 30 July 2018.
- 'HN97', HN97 Impact Statement, Metropolitan Police Service, 28 May 2018, published 9 July 2018 via ucpi.org.uk.
- Graham Walker, N97 - Risk Assessment, Metropolitan Police Service, 22 June 2018, published 9 July 2018 via ucpi.org.uk.
- Inquiry's gist of additional information from HN97’s closed risk assessment, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 2018, published 9 July 2018.
- 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.
- Press notice - 'Minded to' decisions relating to anonymity applications: Special Demonstration Squad, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 21 June 2018.
- 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.
- Publication of documents relating to anonymity applications: National Public Order Intelligence Unit & Special Demonstration Squad, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 9 July 2018.
- List of documents relating to SOS officers - published 09 July 2018, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 9 July 2018.
- Sir John Mitting, Applications for restriction orders in respect of real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstration Squad and of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit - Directions, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 9 July 2018.