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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: 1990s
Socialist Workers Party

HN101 is the cipher given to a former undercover officer with the Special Demonstration Squad.

From the Ellison Review, it is know that HN101 was a contemporary of Peter Francis, and according to Lambert, had 'an involvement in Stephen Lawrence campaign issues' (Ellison, p. 214).[1]

Sir John Mitting, Chair of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, has ruled the Inquiry will restrict HN101's real and cover names.[2]

As an SDS undercover officer

Joined Metropolitan Police in 1980s, moving into Special Branch. Following their undercover deployment he returned to Special Branch. They state they suffer from PTSD arising out of their undercover work, leading to resignation from the police and moving abroad.[3]

From HN101's risk assessment, the officer was deployed into the Socialist Workers Party in the 1990s. There were no prominent successes, but 'HN101 stated s/he achieved the object of their deployment'. They were not arrested or involved in any sexual relationship,[3] adding on the latter:.[4]

N101 stated categorically that s/he had not been involved in any relationship and there is no information to suggest otherwise. N101 said that s/he was generally warned from day one to avoid relationships, primarily because a partner could find out personal details which could be a threat to an officer's cover.

In their Impact Statement, HN101 says:[3]

The SDS was unique in terms of the length of deployment. In order for an officer to remain secure for several years their legend had to be absolutely solid, they know people for an extended period, go to their homes, meet their family, celebrate events and commiserate failures.

Recruitment and secrecy: From the risk assessment:[4]

N101's recruitment to the UCO role is discussed. N101 was informally approached by another SDS officer when it was suggested that s/he might be a suitable candidate. N101 recalls an informal interview. N101 was aware that potential recruits were additionally discussed by existing field officers to see if their personality fitted with the squad dynamics. N101 did not undergo psychometric testing. It seems likely that another SDS officer was involved in N101's recruitment. N101 spent a period of time in the back office and the development of N101's legend was discussed. N101 received no formal training and developed the necessary skills through talking and listening to existing UCOs.
The risk assessment states that anonymity and secrecy were at the forefront of every aspect of the SDS. Details of the unit and their work were absolutely not discussed. Although no explicit guarantee was given, the question of anonymity was implicit and N101 was led to believe that all SDS officers were, and would be, protected.
N101 and their partner received a home visit by another officer where these issues of secrecy and anonymity were made clear, in addition to the potential effects of N101's deployment on their personal life.

In their personal statement:[3]

When I was approached to join this unit, secrecy was stressed all the time. While there was no written contract there was a tacit understanding that all operational information including cover-names were never to be revealed. We were warned that by taking on this role we could affect our careers as we would be expected not to take on any future public postings that could risk compromising our former identity or the SDS.

Exit and welfare:[4]

101 considered that there was no support and welfare provision during their deployment as such. N101 stated that, given the period of their deployment, the SDS management simply did not know any better. Most of the UCOs knew people who had left the MPS as a result of the stresses of their deployment but no-one thought it would happen to them. N101 recalled attending a meeting where s/he spoke about the stresses of deployment and only after this did s/he realise that they had a problem and was suffering from PTSD. During a post-operational debriefing, it was noted that N101 was having difficulty sleeping and had found it hard to come back to reality after his/her time in the field.

Other material

HN101 currently lives outside the United Kingdom, and feels that 'any exposure of his/her undercover policing career would have an adverse effect on their status at work and his/her local community'. The risk assessor found the risk of physical harm and/or interference to HN101 is low[4]

In the Undercover Public Inquiry

  • 19 April 2018: directed that any anonymity application were to be filed by 24 April 2018 by MPS legal team, or 27 April for the Designated Lawyers team.[5]
  • 23 March 2018: Mitting stated he was minded to restrict the real and cover names of HN101,[6] stating:[7]
None of the people encountered during the deployment pose any threat to safety. The evidence which HN101 can give about the deployment is of some interest to the Inquiry.HN101 does not live in the United Kingdom, but has declared a willingness to provide evidence in the form of a witness statement. HN101 has, for some years,received counselling for what has been stated by an experienced counsellor and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapist to be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She does not have medical qualifications, but I accept that her opinion deserves respect. Further, because HN101 lives permanently abroad, the Inquiry has no means of compelling him to provide or give evidence. The only means of obtaining worthwhile evidence from HN101 is to make the restriction orders sought and to permit HN101 to provide evidence, by way of a witness statement. Members of the group into which HN101 was deployed will be able to provide evidence about its activities , even if not about HN101 personally.
  • 9 July 2018: provisional decision to restrict real and cover name[8] with the following application material released:
It was also directed that any objections to Mitting's intention to grant the restriction order to be made by 20 July 2018.[9]
  • 30 July 2018: final ruling that real and cover name cannot be published.[2]


  1. 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
  2. 2.0 2.1 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.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 'HN101', HN101 Impact Statement, Metropolitan Police Service, 23 May 2018, published 9 July 2018 via
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Duncan Hodge, N101 - Risk Assessment (gisted), Metropolitan Police Service, 12 June 2018, published 9 July 2018 via
  5. 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, 19 April 2018.
  6. 'Minded to' decisions relating to anonymity applications: Special Demonstration Squad Ruling on HN122, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 23 May 2018.
  7. 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 9 and Ruling 8, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 23 May 2018.
  8. Publication of documents relating to anonymity applications: National Public Order Intelligence Unit & Special Demonstration Squad, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 9 July 2018.
  9. 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.