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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: 2000s

HN40 is the cipher given to a former Special Demonstration Squad] undercover officer, deployed in the last decade of that unit. The Chair of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, John Mitting, has ruled that both the cover or real name of the officer would be restricted by the Inquiry.[1]

For the N cipher system see N officers page.

As an SDS officer

Mentioned in relation to how information from the SDS, particularly on the identities of protestors, was passed on to the rest of the police (Herne II, 13.4, 24.1.3).[2]

In the Undercover Policing Inquiry

In November 2017, the Inquiry Chair, John Mitting, indicated that he was planning to restrict both real and cover name. In support of this position he stated:[3]

HN40 was deployed against two groups in the last decade of the existence of the SDS [1998-2008]. If the true identity were to be discovered by members of them HN40 would be at real risk of serious violence by them or their associates. Nothing in the nature of the deployment or in what is known of HN40’s conduct of it could justify running that risk.
For reasons which can only be, and are, explained in the closed note accompanying these reasons, publication of the cover name would be likely eventually to lead to the discovery of the real name. That is not a risk which I am prepared to run. Even if Article 3 of the European Convention is not, on the facts, engaged, Article 8 is; and the interference with HN40’s right to respect for private and family life which would be occasioned by both the risk and occurrence of violence would not be justified under Article 8(2). Careful thought will, in the future, need to be given to the manner in which the evidence of HN40 will be received by the Inquiry.

The restriction order application for both HN40's real and cover name was published along with supporting documents were made public on 4 January 2018. These were: Open application for restriction order, Open risk assessment, Open medical evidence (gisted), Open impact statement (Dec. 2015) and Open impact statement (Aug. 2017), the latter two both heavily redacted.

The Risk Assessment reveals that HN40 is not a core participant in the Inquiry and that there is no evidence of misconduct. Also:[4]

N40 was given assurances as regards anonymity, and was also given an assurance of a favourable posting after N40s deployment. To N40's mind, these assurances were absolute and made in the presence of a family member.
Members of the group(s) and/or their associates were involved in serious violent crime during the deployment.
The deployment included one occasion when N40 was prosecuted in cover name.
N40 gave examples of where images of N40 while deployed are likely to exist.

In their Impact Statement of August 2017, N40 gives a detailed account of what he was promised, how isolated the SDS deployment was from any other police work, and how the MPS let him down afterwards. N40 is diagnosed with PTSD and says his health has deteriorated significantly since having given his initial statement in December 2015.[5]

The restriction order application was heard in open hearing on 5 February 2018.[6] and on 20 February 2018, Mitting ruled in favour of restricting both real and cover name, stating:[1]

If the true identity were to be discovered by members of [the group infiltrated] HN40 would be at real risk of serious violence by them or their associates....Ms Sikand, on behalf of Peter Francis, submits that HN40 (like HN23) may have been authorised to participate in acts of violence while deployed which cannot satisfactorily be investigated without publication of the cover name. I disagree. The issue can be addressed in two ways: on the specific facts with HN40 and with the managers of HN40, in closed session; and on the giving or otherwise of such authorisation generally, with the managers, in open session.

Additional material relating to HN40 for the hearing of 5 February 2018 was submitted by the Metropolitan Police, The Guardian, Peter Francis and the NPSCPs.