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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

HN64 is the cipher given to a former undercover officer with the Special Demonstration Squad who was deployed in the 1990s into one group and reported on others.[1]

John Mitting, Chair of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, ruled in March 2018, that HN64 may remain anonymous within the Inquiry, with both his real and cover names being restricted.[2]

  • For details of the N-numbers cipher system see the N officers page.

As an officer with the SDS

HN64 had no formal training, but picked tradecraft up from other undercovers; in particular, received advice from one former UCO. Referred to using a binder in the SDS back office for guidance. Given verbal assurances of anonymity by SDS managers. The risk assessor 'highlighted H64's personal courage during the deployment'. They note there was more support provided while with the SDS than given after and was dismayed by the lack of support received once the SDS deployment had concluded.[3]

The risk assessor also said that if HN64 cover name, groups or dates were released, it would likely lead to HN64's real identify being discovered by those he had targeted and that the nature of the risk there was one of 'serious physical harm or death'.[3] His placing on the risk assessment metric is one of the highest among those made public.

In the Undercover Policing Inquiry

Mitting noted in Nov 2017:[1]

The deployment posed risks to HN64’s life and safety which, to an extent which cannot be precisely quantified, remain. The risks are explained in the closed note which accompanies these reasons. Nothing short of anonymity in respect of both real and cover names could obviate those risks. I would not be justified in running them. It is unavoidable that the evidence of HN64 will be given in closed session.

In March 2018, Mitting added: 'Even if Articles 2 and 3 ECHR are not engaged, because the risks are contingent and not immediate, Article 8 is. The interference which would be caused to the right to respect for the private life - physical integrity - of HN64 would be neither proportionate nor justified under Article 8(2).'[2]

Of suggestion that HN64 had appeared in the True Spies television programme, Mitting wrote: 'The "presumption" is mistaken. Where appropriate, the Inquiry is publishing the cover or real name of officers who appeared in the programme, as "Minded to" notes are published. There is no good reason to publish them out of sequence.'[2]

Represented by MPS's 'Designated Lawyers Team'.

Inquiry documents: Open application order (26 Oct 2017), open risk assessment (Graham Walker, 26 Oct 2017)

Inquiry process:

  • 27 Mar 2018: ruling in favour of restricting real and cover names.[2]
  • 21 Mar 2018: restriction order application to be heard.[4]
  • 5 Mar 2018: provisional decision to restrict real & cover name.[5]
  • Nov 2017: Minded to restrict both cover & real names (Nov 2017)[1]