HN348 is the cipher given to a former Special Demonstration Squad undercover officer who may have used the name Sandra, to infiltrate the Womens Liberation Front in 1972-1973. Now in her 70s. The Inquiry has ruled that the officer's real name will be restricted.
- For the N cipher system see N officers page.
As an SDS officer
HN348 was recruited into the SDS in late 1971 by two of the units managers, Phil Saunders (HN1251) and HN294; there was no application or formal interview. After a period in the back office, she was deployed into the Maoist milieu, in particular the Women's Liberation Front, in 1972. However, following a compromise, she was withdrawn from the field in 1973.
She recalled that she used the first name 'Sandra' for her cover bud did not recall the surname, and it appears no no official record of it exists.
Her risk assessment noted the following:
- Tasking: The tasking was aimed at intelligence gathering to manage and resource public order issues.
- Main group infiltrated: Women's Liberation Front (affiliated to the Women's Liberation Movement). The group met at the private house of the 'leader' [name censored]. The main group was a national movement based on women's rights and Maoist teachings. Any direct action appeared focused on exploitative events, such as Miss World contest and demonstrations. N348 described the faction as vocal but aspirational only and taking part in demonstrations with placards and banners. She witnessed no violence displayed by the group and this is corroborated by the open source research conducted.
- Group size: No more than 12. Meetings of the group would be held at the home address of [censored] and concentrated on Maoist teachings. N348 described the meetings as vocal and consisted at times of the study of documentary type films of the Chinese way of life.
She, herself, described her deployment as:
- My role was to report on the numbers involved in the group and how they were likely to react during the policing of public order events. I did not become heavily involved in the groups and I was deployed for lesss than a year.
- The group I was involved in was quite small but had links to other organisations...
- I don't remember what my cover name was but I know I would not have used a deceased child's identity.
The group had come to public attention for its role in the disruption of the Miss World event live on television in November 1970 - a year before HN348 joined it.
What the compromise that caused the end of her deployment entailed is not entirely clear. It appears that the 'leader' of the group was aware that N348 was a police officer, but not that she was an undercover infiltrating the group. In the Risk Assessment it says: '[Name] has had the last 45 years to expose N348 but to date has not done so if she was in fact aware N348 was also a UCO'.
Her Impact Statement concluded:
- When working with the [Special Operations Squad] it was taken as read that you would only discuss your role with your senior officer, you would not even discuss your actions with your team. We didn't expect to be involved in legal proceedings as we were warned not to get too involved with the groups. I felt I would be protected by the MPS and that we as undercover officers would be taken care of.
In the Undercover Policing Inquiry
The Metropolitan Police made an application to restrict her real name in the Inquiry. In support of this, she said in an 'impact statement' that she would be 'embarrassed' if the main activist in the group she targeted found out that she had been an undercover officer and that she would have her reputation tainted if her current colleagues discovered she had been an undecover officer.
The Inquiry Chair, John Mitting, wrote in November 2017:
- [The cover name fragment] may prompt evidence from former members of the group. Publication of her real name could not do so. She is concerned about the impact of media attention upon her private and family life and upon that of her family. Her concern is not irrational. Because publication of her real name would serve no useful purpose, the infringement of her right to respect for private and family life and that of her family would not be justified under Article 8(2) of the European Convention.
At the same time he indicated that the real name would not be published. The Restriction order application was heard in open hearing on 5 February 2018 and the ruling issued on 20 February 2018 in favour of restricting her real name, with Mitting writing:
- No useful purpose would be served by publishing her real name. She can give evidence about her deployment as "Sandra" and so assist the Inquiry to discover why an undercover officer was deployed against an apparently harmless group.
Women's Liberation Front
- 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.
- Graham Walker, HN348 Risk Assessment - Gisted - Version 2, Metropolitan Police Service, 17 July 2017 (accessed 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)
- 'HN348', Impact Statement (open version), Metropolitan Police Service, 8 August 2017 (accessed via ucpi.org.uk).
- Miss World: My protest at 1970 beauty pageant, BBC News online]], 5 March 2014 (accessed 12 March 2018).
- Open application for a restriction order (anonymity) re HN348, Metropolitan Police Service, 31 July 2017 (accessed via ucpi.org.uk).
- 15 January 2018 Press notice: Hearing on restriction orders in respect of HN23, HN40, HN241, HN322 and HN348, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 15 January 2018 (accessed 15 January 2018).
- Sir 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 - Ruling, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 20 February 2018 (accessed 4 March 2018).
- Leonora Lloyd, Booklist for Women's Liberation, London Socialist Women's group November 1970 (accessed via Marxists.org)
- Diane Langford, The Manchanda Connection, July 2015.