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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: 1970s-1980s

HN41 is the cipher given to a former Special Demonstration Squad] undercover officer.

HN41 was deployed against two groups in the 1970s and 1980s, of which the principle target group no longer exists according to the Undercover Policing Inquiry.[1] According to their personal statement, they had no relationships and were never detained or arrested during deployment.[2] The Undercover Policing Inquiry has ruled it will restrict both HN41's real and cover names.[3]

* For an explanation of the N cipher system see N officers page.

As an SDS officer

Spent 5 / 6 months working and studying in the SDS field office prior to deployment. Then spent 4 / 5 months being 'seen, noticed and slowly allowing myself to be recruited' by the target group.[2]

According to the Risk Assessment: no formal training as an undercover; a 'guarantee of lifelong anonymity' was given verbally to HN41 by the Special Branch Detective Chief Superintendent; no evidence of an intimate relationship taking place during the deployment. 'The risk assessor highlighted that N41 provided significant intelligence to enable effective policing at demonstrations and public gatherings. H41 was witness to an event of significant interest to the Inquiry'. They stated that support recieved during the deployment was good. Post-deployment they had a public facing role involving protection duties.[4]

In their personal impact statement, they say:[2]/

When I agreed to join SDS, I was informed by the Detective Chief Superintendent of 'S' Squad that both my real and cover identifies would be fully protected, kept secret in all but extreme criminal circumstances and subject to full confidentiality for me and my family's lifetime.
Throughout my SDS posting, I never formed close friendships or relationships with anyone, either male or female in the group in which I was active, in any broad front groups or, persons in any way associated with any of the above. This includes sexual relationships. My persona was that of a loner.

No known allegation of misconduct, and according to Mitting 'given the nature of the deployment and the personal circumstances of HN41, it is very unlikely any plausible allegation of misconduct could be made'. In 60s and married.[1]

In the Undercover Policing Inquiry

The risk assessor set out that if HN41 was identified by those they had targeted there was a possibility of risk occurring, and the impact of any attack on them was classed as 'critical'.[4]

Mitting stated there was a 'real, but unquantifiable risk to the personal safety of HN41 if the real or cover name were to be published', and it would 'be neither necessary or proportionate to run that risk.' Publication of real or cover name would interfere with the private life / physical integrity of HN41 so not justified under Article 8(2). HN41 was apparently also promised lifetime anonymity which Mitting relied on, saying: 'HN41 was entitled to rely on that promise when undertaking the deployments referred to. In this case, it is a relevant factor.'[1]The Chair added that open evidence from HN41 could be provided under his cypher, and protective measures used if giving open oral evidence.[3]

In March 2018) Mitting ruled that neither real or cover name can be published. He wrote that HN41 is a sexagenarian and is married and retired. Addressing the 'event of significant interest to the Inquiry witnessed by HN41', Mitting writes 'This is an issue which will be addressed when evidence from HN41 is obtained and the manner in which it can be provided has been determined.[3]

Represented by MPS 'Designated Lawyers Team'.

Inquiry decisions: Minded-to (25 Jan 2018): restriction order over both real and cover names.[5][1] Provisional decision (5 Mar 2018): restrict real & cover name..[6] Application to be heard on 21 March 2018.[7]. Ruling (Mar 2018) restriction order over both real and cover names.[3]

Inquiry documents: Restriction order material: (19 Dec 2017) open application, open risk assessment (Graham Walker, 23 Jan 2018) & open personal statement. The application is listed for hearing on 21 March 2018.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 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 Special Demonstration Squad - 'Minded To' Note 4, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 25 January 2018 (accessed 25 January 2018).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 'HN41', Personal Impact Statement (open), Metropolitan Police Service, 21 December 2017 (accessed via
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 John Mitting, In the matter of section 19(3) of the Inquiries Act 2005 Application for restriction order in respect of the real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstration Squad Ruling 5 , Undercover Policing Public Inquiry (, 3 August 2017 (accessed March 2018).
  4. 4.0 4.1 Graham Walker, HN41 Open Risk Assessment, Metropolitan Police, 23 February 2018 (accessed via
  5. Press Notice: Decisions relating to anonymity applications: Special Demonstration Squad, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 25 January 2018 (accessed 25 January 2018).
  6. 6.0 6.1 Press notice - Publication of documents relating to Special Demonstration Squad anonymity applications for hearing on 21 March 2018, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 5 March 2018 (accessed 5 March 2018).
  7. Kate Wilkinson, Counsel to the Inquiry's Explanatory Note to accompany the Chairman's 'Minded-To' Note 5 in respect of applications for restrictions ovr teh real and cover names of officers of the Special Demonstration Squad and the Special Demonstration Squad - Update as at 7th March 2018, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 7 March 2018 (accessed 8 March 2018).