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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: short period in 1980s
one group, unknown

HN83 is the cipher given to a former undercover officer with the Special Demonstration Squad who was deployed in the mid-1980s into an unnamed group. In their 60s,retired from police.[1]

John Mitting, Chair of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, ruled in May 2018, that HN83 would remain anonymous in the Inquiry with neigther their cover or real names being released.[2][3]

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

As an SDS undercover

According to the gist of the Risk Assessment for HN83:[4]

N83 was approached by a senior manager on the SOS at the time. After N83 showed an interest they discussed a possible field of deployment. N83 does not remember too much of the detail of recruitment apart from it being quite informal. N83 spent time in the back office learning what the SOS was about and speaking to [undercover] officers. There was no psychometric testing in those days.
N83 and partner were visited at home by a senior manager who initiated the recruitment. N83 was given an unequivocal assurance in regards to future anonymity and was also given a specific assurance regarding career after deployment.

Of secrecy they wrote in their personal statment:[1]

Secrecy was emphasised at all times in the SDS/SOS and it was common parlance that we would always be protected . I never doubted that total anonymity would be granted for us and I recall being told this by a senior officer, a Chief Superintendent, whilst I was preparing for my deployment. That officer also emphasised that confidentiality was a two-way street and I was expected to act accordingly. Whilst I understood that if we had been involved in a major prosecution we may have been exposed (we couldn't forget after all that we were police officers), such a major prosecution was the only exception and was unlikely given we were told not become directly involved in the group's actions and only capture intelligence.

The Undercover Policing Inquiry noted:[5]

  • HN83 was involved in a no fault accident with a vehicle in a vehicle provided by the MPS as part of the cover identity. This was reported to the police using the cover identity.
  • HN83 assisted with domestic life of one of the target group

They were nearly compromised on a number of occasions, during and after deployment. Stated:[1]

I had no sexual relationships whilst I was deployed nor did I do anything in my view which was inappropriate.

HN83 was satisfied with their managers at the time. Later in their career, H83 was:[4]

N83 was involved in the welfare side of the SOS, working with prospective SOS candidates. N83 was proud of this work and thinks this helped the recruitment process. The risk assessor notes that N83 was not expected to approve or decline officers, 'the role was to be an informal sounding board to prospective candidates.

In the Undercover Policing Inquiry

  • 11 Jan 2018: directed that restriction orders applications to be submitted by end of Jan 2018.[6]
  • 25 Jan 2018: Metropolitan Police Service make application to restrict both real and cover names.[7]
  • 7 Mar 2018: minded to - neither real or cover name can be published, with Mitting stating:[8]
The nature of the deployment and what I know of the personal circumstances of HN83, then and now, are inconsistent with personal wrongdoing during the deployment. The deployment created risks to the personal safety of HN83, which, to an extent which cannot be precisely estimated, remain. I am satisfied the risks are real. Although it would be desirable for evidence about the deployment of HN83 to be given in public and under the cover name, to do so would run those risks to safety. The risks are contingent... but if they were to materialise, the harm would be significant.
  • 15 May 2018: ruled issued restricting publication of real and cover names with Mitting writing:[2]
... the principal reason for the order which I will make is founded on the interference in the right to respect for an aspect of private life - physical integrity-, arising from the deployment. I remain satisfied that the nature of the deployment and what I know of circumstances of HN83, then and now, are inconsistent with personal wrongdoing during it. It is unfortunate that a fuller explanation of this view cannot be set out in an open note: to do so would compromise the order which I will make and pose some risk to the safety of HN83. In the clearly unlikely event that doubt is cast on that view during the substantive phase of the Inquiry, I will revisit it. If the risks to safety remain, I cannot now conceive of circumstances which would require me to revoke the order.
A closed note accompanied the final ruling.[2]

In their personal statement was critical of the Metropolitan Police who they felt were disavowing the SDS:[1]

I feel quite isolated. I have no confidence that we the undercover officers who have done nothing wrong will be protected and think we will probably be hung out to dry.

He also stated:[1]

I am worried about the risk of violence to my family as members of the group I infiltrated and those associated with them may well want retribution for the fact I accessed the group.

and discussed the risk of physical harm and to his private life from individuals within the groups he targeted.

According to the gisted risk assessment, HN83 'has made a major lifestyle change as a result of this Inquiry'. The Risk assessment also examined threats to HN83, concluding one individual posed an 'indirect threat' and noted that HN83 'mentioned another SDS officer who might want to "take revenge" on HN83. The assessor found that the risk of harm if cover name released was low / medium, but high if real name was released.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 'HN83', Impact Statement of HN83, Metropolitan Police Service, 15 January 2018, published 8 May 2018 via
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 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, 15 May 2018.
  3. 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.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Brian Lockie, [1], Metropolitan Police Service, 29 March 2018, published via
  5. Additional information to be read with the gist of HN83’s risk assessment, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 2018.
  6. Applications for restriction orders in respect of the real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstrations Squad: Directions, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 11 January 2018.
  7. Open Application for a restriction order (anonymity) re: HN83, Metropolitan Police Service, 25 January 2018, published 8 May 2018 via
  8. 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 5, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 7 March 2018.