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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: In last 15 years of the existence of the SDS (1990s/2000s)
2 groups, both unknown

HN71 is the cipher given to a former undercover officer with the Special Demonstration Squad who was deployed in the last 15 years of the existence of the SDS (1990s/2000s) into two unnamed groups.[1]

John Mitting, Chair of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, ruled in March 2018, that HN71 may remain anonymous within the Inquiry, with both his real and cover names being restricted.[1]

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

In the Undercover Policing Inquiry

Mitting states that if HN71's true identity was to be discovered then HN71 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 HN71's conduct of it could justify running that risk.' Some risk release of the cover name could lead to the real name. '[T]he interference with HN71'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'.[2]

According to his Personal Impact Statement:[3]

I was given express promise of confidentiality at home... I am tremendously proud of my deployment, but I don't want any of it known. If I knew I had to give evidence I wouldn't have done it.... I didn't apply for certain jobs because of SDS past... Friends say I should have been promoted. I sacrificed a great deal for the SDS and now I fear for the safety of me and my family if named in real or cover name.


I had no sexual relationships arising from my deployment. I didn't have any particularly intimate relationships, but there will be people who would have counted me as a good friend,and who will feel betrayed. They are the ones who would concern me most due to a loss of face.

In his ruling, Mitting added: 'Both Ms Kaufmann and Ms Sikand question the judgement expressed above because no risk assessment has been obtained. I know enough about the risks attendant upon the deployment from risk assessments and material provided in the cases of other officers for it to be unnecessary to obtain a risk assessment in this case. Ms Sikand stated her understanding that the decision is made purely on the perceived psychological impact. Her understanding is mistaken.'[1]

Represented by the MPS 'Designated Lawyer Team'.

Inquiry documents:

Inquiry decisions:

  • 27 Mar 2018: ruled HN71 could remain anonymous for the purposes of the Inquiry.[1]
  • 5 Mar 2018: Provisional decision to restrict real & cover name with application to be heard on 21 March 2018.[4]
  • 25 Jan 2018: Minded to grant restriction order over both real & cover names.[5]