Christine Green: policing and the UCPI
Christine Green (alias) is a former Metropolitan Police Special Branch police officer who worked undercover for the Special Demonstration Squad targeting the animal rights movement in and around London. This page looks at aspects of the policing structure around her, and covers material relating to her from the Undercover Policing Inquiry.
- For details of her undercover deployment see the main page on her: Christine Green (alias).
Police chain of command
The Controller of Operations of the Special Demonstration Squad overseeing her deployment was Bob Lambert, who had previously infiltrated animal rights groups in north London in the 1980s. Her contemporary was Jim Boyling, who had focused on Essex hunt sabs before moving onto Reclaim the Streets. Above Lambert, the heads of the SDS during Christine's time undercover are the officers currently known by the cyphers N86 and HN58.
The following table set out the what is known of the chain of command of officers who would have overseen Christine's deployment from 1994 to 2000.
|Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police||Paul Condon (1993-2000)|
|Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations||David Veness (April 1994 onwards)|
|Deputy Assistant Commissioner (Security) - rank abolished 1995||John Howley (1991-1995), he is also called head of Special Branch 1991-1996.|
|Head of Special Branch / SO12||Cmdr. Don Buchanan (by 1992-1995)|
Barry Moss (1996-1999)
Cmdr. Roger Pearce, as both Head of Special Branch and Director of Intelligence 1999.
|Controller of Operations (Special Branch)||Barry Moss (1995)|
Det. Ch. Supt. Colin Black (1996)
N86 (1997; temp. post)
Det. Supt. Roger Pearce (OCU Commander) & Det. Ch. Supt. Eileen Eggington (OCU Commander Security) - both 1998 & 1999.
|Head of SDS||N86 (1993-96),|
|SDS Controller of Operations||Bob Lambert (1994-1998)|
- It appears from the available evidence that Christine Green was authorised by her then line management, potentially up to the rank of Detective Chief Superintendent.
The overall authorization of her deployment is likely to have been made by the Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations of the time, David Veness. However, it could also have been done by someone of the rank of Detective Chief Superintendent, which in the Metropolitan Police Special Branch at the time was the rank held by the 'Controller of Operations for Special Branch', it's effective Deputy Head and who generally over saw the practical, operational side of the unit.
Thus, it appears from the apology, that, in this period, the Controller of Operations of Special Branch was authorising the individual activities of the undercovers, including involvement in criminality. From the above table, those in the line for the authorisation of the Ringwood mink liberation would include Det. Supt. Roger Pearce and the then head of the Special Demonstration Squad, HN58. Bob Lambert, who was head of the SDS to some time within 1998, and Det. Ch. Supt. Eileen Eggington are also potentially in the picture, but it is not definite that dates and roles coincide with Christine Green's line management at the time of the liberation. Pearce, Lambert and HN58 were all former SDS undercovers themselves.
At the time of writing (February 2018), the intention of the Undercover Policing Inquiry Chair, Sir John Mitting, to not release the details of HN58 was under dispute by non-police core participants in the Inquiry.
A timeline of undercovers indicates that Christine was part of a line of Special Demonstration Squad undercovers who targeted animal rights in south west London. The earliest such undercover is Mike Chitty, who as Mike Blake lived in Balham and targeted people in Streatham 1983-1987. In November 1991, Andy Coles moved to Streatham as Andy 'Van' Davey, where he targeted Brixton Hunt Sabs and forerunners of London Animal Action. He was there until February 1995. The dates of Christine's deployment and Coles' exit indicate that their deployments overlapped for a brief period.
It is highly probable that Christine was Andy Coles' successor, both geographically, but also in targeting a number of the same groups and campaigns such as Brixton Hunt Sabs and London Animal Action.
Like Andy, she struggled to be accepted locally, but she did have greater success in the wider London group. In this wider scene, she partly overlapped in time with Matt Rayner who was infiltrating to a good degree the north London animal rights scene. Both were active in fur campaigns and with the West London hunt saboteur group, and Matt's experience there, as with Andy Coles, would have facilitated deployments into these groups. Campaigners from the time have confirmed that Christine and Matt openly knew each other in the animal rights movement and it is likely they were at the same meetings and protests. Matt Rayner remained active until November 1996, when he moved to France - allegedly.
It is highly likely that both Matt and Andy Coles will have helped brief and prepare Christine for her undercover role. All three officers will have provided information to Special Branch's Animal Rights National Index, which in 1999 was restructured to become the national 'spycops' unit, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit. The 2017 risk assessment prepared for her by the Metropolitan Police noted that she 'did not recieve any formal training for the role, other than picking up tactics from more experienced operators'.
Christine served in the same period when fellow undercovers N81 and other undercovers were focusing on family justice campaigns, including those associated the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence. Likewise, she was a contemporary of fellow SDS officer, Jim Boyling was deployed against Essex Hunt Saboteurs and Reclaim the Streets. As such, her time in the Special Demonstration Squad comes at a period of high significance, particularly with regards to the issues being investigated by the Undercover Policing Inquiry.
In the Undercover Policing Inquiry
Prior to her cover name being confirmed in February 2018, Christine was refered to by Operation Herne and the Undercover Policing Inquiry by the cipher N26 / HN26. A risk assessment conducted by the Metropolitan Police in support of anonymity applications for her, said Christine had been a Special Branch officer prior to being recruited to SDS and 'promised lifelong anonymity along with personal safety assurances'.
Following her exposure in The Guardian and by the Undercover Research Group, the Undercover Policing Inquiry confirmed she had been a SDS undercover, and listed her targets as the Animal Liberation Front, London Animal Action and the West London Hunt Saboteurs from 1994 to 1999..
As HN26, she was a core participant in the Inquiry and represented by lawyers Slater & Gordon.
In March 2016 she made an application for full anonymity In August 2017, the Metropolitan Police applied to restrict HN26's real name only  while HN26's solicitors (S&G) applied for both cover and real names to be subject to a restriction order. She had not co-operated with the risk assessment process in that she had refusing to meet the risk assessor and providing information only through their lawyer.
Inquiry Chair, John Mitting, ordered a closed session to hear Christine's restriction order application on the grounds of the 'sensitivity of material being considered' / 'detailed factors particular to this officer's circumstances'. Mitting also directed that she should be present or at least contactable throughout the hearing. This hearing took place by 14 November, with legal representatives for HN26 (S&G), the MPS and the Inquiry in attendance. It had previously been noted that the UCPI needed further details before making a decision and had been awaiting NH2 to appoint a legal representative.
- It is necessary to permit the Inquiry’s terms of reference to be fulfilled that HN26’s cover name be published. The activities in which HN26 participated during deployment are matters of legitimate public concern. Others, not belonging to the Special Demonstration Squad, could, if alerted to the cover name of HN26 give evidence of potential value about them and about HN26’s participation in them. Unless the cover name is published, there is a real risk that the Inquiry would be deprived of such evidence. No practical means exists of obtaining such evidence from them unless the cover name of HN26 is published by the Inquiry. The Article 8(2) European Convention rights of HN26 are engaged, but the public interest identified above justifies the interference with them identified in the closed reasons which accompany this note.
- Publication of the real name of HN26 by the Inquiry is not necessary to permit the terms of reference of the Inquiry to be fulfilled. Given that it is not necessary, it would be disproportionate to do so.
An unpublished closed note was stated to provide more detailed reasons..
The accompanying press release noted also:
- The undercover police deployments of all three of these individuals [HN16, HN26, HN81] are of real interest to the Inquiry and the Chairman is of the view that there is no means of getting to the truth without the cover names being made public.
HN26's application was heard at the hearing of 21 November 2017 and the restriction order issued on 8 December 2017. and Mitting ruled in favour of releasing the cover name but restricting the real name on 5 December 2017. Mitting stated that at this point it was not necessary for the Inquiry to fulfil its terms to release HN26's real name, though additional reasons for the decision were also set out in the closed reasons of 23 October 2017. The Restriction Order was released on 8 December 2017.
August 2017 material: MPS application to restrict real name (MPS), application to restrict both cover and real names (S&G), expert medical evidence (Dr Walter Busuttil, fully redacted), personal statement (fully redacted) & risk assessment (Graham Walker, mostly redacted).
As part of the process for ex-undercovers seeking anonymity in the Undercover Policing Inquiry, the Metropolitan Police conducted risk assessments in support of such applications. One was completed for HN26 / Christine Green by the assessor Graham Walker on 24 July 2017, though she refused to be interviewed for it, and only co-operated with it through her lawyer, Scott Ingram of Slater & Gordon. (10.) 
The assessment notes that she was a Special Branch officer recruited as an undercover by two of SDS officers and underwent psychometric testing. She did not recieve any formal training but shown the ropes by other experienced undercovers. (3.3) She was promised life long anonymity during a selection interview by the SDS officers doing the interview; this, along with personal safety assurances was apparently a major factor in her deciding to become an undercover. Walker notes that she 'describes these assurances were widely accepted by all operatives along with an organisational commitment that any subsequent positions post-deployment would be favourable as a means of reward for their committment'. (3.4) According to Walker: 'There appears to have been a level of support for N26 during deployment, including senior managers and the line management of [redacted].' (4.19) She did provide a personal statement and expert medical evidence, but this has been fully redacted.
Christine did not provide the risk assessment process with details of individuals whom she might be at risk of due to her undercover deployment. (13.2, 15.1)
The risk assessor made an assessment of the risk to her based on research into known individuals around the groups she targeted directly 'and therefore may bear the greatest sense of "professional" betrayal'.(13.1-13.4)
In relation to the specific risks faced by Christine, Graham Walker noted:
- 'N26 states that the risk [to interference with family and private life] will take the form of search for identification, including at the UCPI.' (17.2)
- 'N26 is concerned about N26's family in the event that N26 is identified. My view is that this would likely to be interference and harassment from the media searching for information of N26 rather than activist individuals or groups targeting the family members. This does not diminish the fact that such interference from the media would be unwarrented.' (17.4)
- 'N26 has stated in N26's personal statement that any disclosure by the UCPI of any aspect of N26's deployment or personal details will increase the risk to those close to N26'. (19.1)
- 'N26 has been offered (on several occasions) and not taken up the services of Operation Motion to assess N26's physical security and provide mitigating target hardening'. (19.1)
- 'There is a 3rd party concern for the family of N26'. (19.1)
Walker also notes that she does not want to be involved in the Inquiry, and though she is a core participant, she does not wish to be so. (19.1)
Walker concluded that: (19.2)
- If the cover name was revealed that the risk of physical attack was 'medium' while the impact of such an attack would be 'moderate', while the risk of interference with family and private life was 'low', and the impact of such interference would be 'moderate'.
- If the real name was revealed the risk of physical attack was still 'medium' and the impact 'moderate', but the risk of interference with family and private life was 'medium' (as "it is logical that the revelation of the true identity would provide more details of N26") and the impact as 'moderate'.
Overall, he viewed the risk to her as 'moderate'. (17.1). This contrasts with the 2016 assessment which sought to class the risk as:
- In summary, the risk to N26 of physical harm is assessed as medium; the risk of psychological/emotional harm is assessed as high; the risk of action directed against N26 is likely to interfere with private and family life in the event of identification through information disclosed by the Inquiry is high.
A 2016 personal statement is fully redacted but a gisted version released to the public states:
- Witnessed violence and harassment carriedout by some in target group. Fears violent retribution if identified. In no doubt that some activists woudl not hesitate to use violence against him/her and/or partner or family. Fears risk of physical violence is moderate to high. Believes real risk that family or home may be attacked and risk of damage to property and interference with private life. Suffers ill healt because of [undercover] deployment and risk of identity being exposed due to Inquiry.
While this concurs with the statement from Christine as revealed by The Guardian on 23 February 2018 in the issue of ill health derived from her undercover deployment, it is in sharp contrast to her statement about those she targerted (see main page on Christine for more details).
- Excepted were noted, sources are various years of the Police and Constabulary Almanacs, published by R. Hazell & Co / Sweet & Maxwell.
- John Howley is listed as head of Special Branch 1991-1996; Don Buchanan was Commander of Special Branch by August 1992. See Ray Wilson & Ian Adams, Special Branch: A History 1883-2006, Biteback Publishing, 2015.
- Mark Ellison, Possible corruption and the role of undercover policing in the Stephen Lawrence case, Stephen Lawrence Independent Review, Vol. 1, Gov.UK, March 2014.
- Sir John Mitting, On the application of HN58 for a restriction order in respect of real and cover name, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 20 December 2017.
- Apology to Hampshire Constabulary re actions of undercover unit, Metropolitan Police, 20 February 2018 (accessed 20 February 2018).
- 'ARSpycatcher', How Special Branch Spied on Animal Rights Movement, Buro Jansen & Jansen, 22 February 2014 (accessed 12 January 2018).
- Undercover Research Group: interview with Robin Lane, 14 February 2017.
- Paul Gravett: email to Undercover Research Group, 5 February 2016.
- Graham Walker, HN26 - Open risk assessment, Metropolitan Police Service, 24 July 2017 (accessed via UCPI.org.uk).
- For details of the cipher system see N officers.
- Rob Evans and Severin Carrell, Met police spy has long-term relationship with activist after quitting covert role,The Guardian, 18 February 2018.
- Undercover Research Group, Christine Green: yet another #spycop in animal rights, 18 February 2018.
- Cover names, Undercover Policing Inquiry, updated 20 February 2018. See also their tweet of same day: Cover name confirmed: "Christine Green" - groups: Animal Liberation Front; London Animal Action, West London Hunt Saboteurs. 1994-1999, Twitter.com, 20 February 2018 (accessed 20 February 2018)
- List of Core Participants (v.20), Undercover Policing Inquiry, 30 January 2018 (accessed via ucpi.org.uk 3 March 2018).
- 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 Public Inquiry (UCPI.org.uk), 3 August 2017 (accessed 5 August 2017).
- Open application for a restriction order (anonymity) re: N26, Metropolitan Police Service, 30 July 2017 (accessed via UCPI.org.uk).
- Open revised supplemental application on behalf of N26 for restriction orders, Slater & Gordon LLP (solicitors), 21 July 2017 (accessed via UCPI.org.uk).
- Press Release: 'Minded to' note, ruling and directions in respect of anonymity applications relating to former officers of the Special Demonstration Squad, Undercover Policing Public Inquiry (UCPI.org.uk), 3 August 2017 (accessed 3 August 2017).
- 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 Public Inquiry (UCPI.org.uk), 3 August 2017 (accessed 5 August 2017).
- 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 Directions (Directions arising out of the 'Minded-To'), Undercover Policing Public Inquiry (UCPI.org.uk), 3 August 2017 (accessed 5 August 2017).
- Counsel to the Inquiry's Explanatory note to accompany the 'Minded-To' Note (2) in respect for restrictions over the real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstration Squad, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 14 November 2017 (accessed 15 November 2017).
- Supplementary ‘Minded to’ note on anonymity, updated and additional hearing dates, directions to the Metropolitan Police Service, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 23 October 2017 (accessed 23 October 2017 via UCPI.org.uk).
- 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)
- Sir John Mitting, Supplementary 'Minded-To', Undercover Policing Inquiry, 23 October 2017 (accessed 23 October 2017 via UCPI.org.uk).
- Transcript of hearing of 21 November 2017, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 21 November 2017.
- 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 (accessed 9 December 2017).
- N15-N16-N26-N58-N81-N123 Gisted Risk Assessments, Slater & Gordon, 2016 (accessed via ucpi.org.uk).
- N26 Personal Statement (gisted), 2016, (accessed via ucpi.org.uk).
- Rob Evans, Ex-police spy berates Met for revealing her role in mink release, The Guardian, 23 February 2018 (accessed 23 February 2018).