Rob Harrison: Undercover Policing Inquiry

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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
'HN18'
Rob-harrison-headshot.jpg
Alias: Rob Harrison
Deployment: 2004-2007
Unit:
Targets:
International Solidarity Movement (London branch), State of Emergency Collective, No Borders London, Globalise Resistance, rampART.

Rob Harrison is the alias of a Special Demonstration Squad undercover officer who infiltrated a number of London left-wing / anarchist groups including State of Emergency Collective, No Borders London, Globalise Resistance, rampART and the International Solidarity Movement from 2004 to 2007.[1] The officer is also referred to by the cipher HN18 (for details of the N-numbers cipher system see the N officers page).

This page provides an overview of the officer's appearances in Undercover Policing Inquiry.

See also

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.[2]
  • 29 May 2019: MPS make application to restrict real name of HN18.[3]
  • 31 May 2018: Designated Lawyers apply to restrict real and cover names.[4]
  • 21 June 2018: announced that the Chair of the Inquiry, John Mitting was 'minded to' restrict the real name of HN18, but refuse the application over the cover name.[5] He revealed that HN18 had been deployed in ' the 'last period of existence' of the unit into at least two group and reported on others.
However, he gave HN18 an opportunity to provide notification by 26 June 2018 if they wished a closed hearing in respect of their application, with skeleton argument setting out objects to be provided by 29 June 2018.[6][7]
In his 'minded to' note, Mitting wrote:[8]
The risk to the safety of HN18 posed by members of the targeted groups is negligible and the risk of interference by them in family and private life is low. The deployments are of interest to the Inquiry, as is the evidence which HN18 can give about the management and closing down of the Special Demonstration Squad.
In the opinion of Prof Fox, who reported on the condition of HN18 on 12 March 2018, HN18 suffers from two moderately severe mental health conditions, which would be exacerbated by publication of the real or cover name. I accept that, if the real name were to be published, there is some risk of interference in the right of HN18 to respect for private and family life and of some impact on HN18's mental health. Publication of the real name is not necessary to permit the Inquiry to fulfil its terms of reference... However, for reasons which are explained in the closed note which accompanies these reasons, I am unconvinced that a restriction order in respect of the cover name of HN18 would have a material impact on mental health or well-being. Further, the giving of evidence about the deployments would be likely to lead members of targeted groups to identify HN18's cover name for themselves. A restriction order in respect of the cover name would, therefore, probably serve no useful purpose.
  • 30 July 2018: Mitting refuses to restrict cover name and remains minded to restrict real name.[9]
  • 13 September 2018: "The officer was permitted an opportunity to respond to the Chairman's Minded To decision to restrict real name but to refuse to restrict cover name but the Chairman maintained his view and in a final ruling refused to restrict cover name but remains minded to restrict real name. Open material will be published and an opportunity provided for responding."[10]
  • 11 December 2018: their cover-name and target groups revealed by the Inquiry.[1]
  • 14 February 2019: two London ISM activists granted core participant status having been spied upon by Rob Harrison.[11]
Both have potentially valuable evidence to give about HN18's deployment. The International Solidarity Movement was a small group with an overseas focus. One of the tasks of the Inquiry is to determine why a group such as the International Solidarity Movement was targeted for infiltration. The evidence which both can provide may assist in fulfilling that task. Further, they can each provide evidence about the nature of the activities in the group which HN 18 undertook. No other person has so far come forward who can do either.
One of the ultimate aims of both applicants is to establish what was done with intelligence provided to his managers about them. It is possible that the Inquiry will be obliged not to pursue this issue to its ultimate end, because to do so would take it outside its terms of reference. That is an issue for the future.
  • 21 February 2019: Inquiry directs that submissions regarding the restriction order over the real name are to be made by 21 March 2019.[12]
  • 17 April 2019: ruling on application to restrict real name deferred pending further information; Mitting stating:[13]
Further information has been received about the deployment of HN18, which must be explored before a decision can be made.
This is likely to have been regarding a relationship Rob Harrison conducted while undercover.
  • 3 May 2019: Mitting grants core participancy to 'Maya' over a relationship she had with Rob Harrison while he was deployed:[14]
"Maya" has provided a statement to the Inquiry about an intimate relationship which she says occurred between her and HN 18, an undercover officer deployed into the International Solidarity Movement , in his cover name. She says that she first discovered that he was an undercover officer on 20 March 2019. He has been provided with a copy of her statement and has decided to seek legal advice independently of the Metropolitan Police Service. His application for a restriction order in respect of his real name is pending.
...
I am satisfied that she played or may have played a direct and significant role in relation to the matters to which the Inquiry relates and may have a significant interest in an important aspect of them: if, as she alleges, HN18 undertook an intimate relationship with her in his cover name and role as a supporter of the International Solidarity Movement, it would be a further instance of a repeated occurrence and may help to answer questions which the Inquiry must investigate about them, to permit it to fulfil its terms of reference.
  • 11 June 2019: Another member of London ISM is designated as a core participate, on grounds that he and Rob Harrison 'became close friends and shared intimate personal information. He witnessed the developing relationship between HN18 and Maya. He ought to be well placed to describe HN18's interaction with her and with other members of the International Solidarity Movement.'[15] A ruling is granted, giving anonymity to 'Maya'.[16]

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Email to core participants, '20181211-UCPI_to_all_CPs-publishing _HN18', Undercover Policing Inquiry, 11 December 2018, referencing update of the webpage UCPI.org.uk/cover-names.
  2. 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.
  3. Commissioners Legal Team, Open application for a restriction order (anonymity) re: HN18, Metropolitan Police Service, 29 May 2018 (released 21 February 2019 via UCPI.org.uk).
  4. Designated Lawyers, Open application for a restriction order (anonymity) in respect of HN18, Metropolitan Police Service, 31 May 2018 (released 21 February 2019 via UCPI.org.uk).
  5. Press notice - 'Minded to' decisions relating to anonymity applications: Special Demonstration Squad, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 21 June 2018.
  6. 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 - Directions following publication of 'Minded to' note 11, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 21 June 2018.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  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. Sir John Mitting, Core Participants Ruling 26 / Recognised Legal Representatives Ruling 21 / Costs of Legal Representation Awards Ruling 20, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 14 February 2019.
  12. Sir John Mitting, Directions for SDS HN18 HN66 HN122 HN299 342 and HN344, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 21 February 2019 (accessed 7 April 2019).
  13. 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 15, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 17 Apr 2019.
  14. Sir John Mitting, Core Participants Ruling 28 / Recognised Legal Representatives Ruling 22 / Costs of Legal Representation Ruling Awards Ruling 21, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 3 May 2019 (accessed 3 May 2019).
  15. Sir John Mitting, Core participants Ruling 29, etc., Undercover Policing Inquiry, 11 June 2019.
  16. Sir John Mitting, In the matter of Section 19(3) of the Inquiries Act 2005: Application for a restriction order by "Maya" - Ruling, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 11 June 2019.