Christine Green (alias)
Christine Green is the cover name of an undercover police officer who served with the Metropolitan Police's Special Demonstration Squad. She infiltrated animal rights in south and west London from early 1995 to late 1999 / early 2000, where she had succeeded the previous undercover officer, Andy "Van" Davey. Christine was active in hunt sabbing, London Animal Action and national grassroots campaigns. She was arrested on least one occasion though charges were dropped. Her cover name was constructed rather than stolen from that of a dead child, being the first example of this being done by SDS undercovers. She left the police after her deployment and started a long term relationship with an animal rights campaigner who had been active in one of the groups she had targeted, a relationship which appears to have continued to the present day (February 2018).
In October 2013, suspicions that Christine Green was an undercover were publicly circulated, only to be confirmed in late 2017, and publicly released by The Guardianand the Undercover Research Group in February 2018:
The following day, the Undercover Policing Inquiry confirmed Christine had been a SDS undercover police officer, noting she was the person they had been referred to by the cipher 'HN26'. Then, several days later, the Metropolitan Police made an unusual and rare public apology to Hampshire Police over a 1998 raid by the Animal Liberation Front on a mink farm. In the apology it admitted Christine Green had been a police officer and despite the large investigation, Metropolitan Police Special Branch had withheld the crucial information. This in turn, caused Christine Green to come forward to The Guardian to make her own statement, highly critical of the Metropolitan Police's apology in the way it named her, among other things.
Note from Undercover Research Group: this article is a work in progress. If any reader recalls 'Christine Green' please get in touch. These events took place two decades ago, so all information is welcome even if to just corroborate what we know.
- 1 Cover identity
- 2 Personal details
- 3 Occupation and vehicle
- 4 Targets & activities
- 5 National protests
- 6 Exit & relationship
- 7 Suspicions and exposure
- 8 Metropolitan Police apology
- 9 Police chain of command
- 10 Other undercovers
- 11 Further reading and resources
- 12 Notes
Christine Green is a false name, constructed by an officer otherwise given the cipher N26 / HN26 for the purposes of Operation Herne and the Undercover Policing Inquiry (see the N officers page for full explanation of this cipher system).
As N26, she is mentioned in the first Operation Herne report, where it cites the 1994 / 1995 Special Demonstration Squad annual review as saying that N26 was the first office to obtain a completely fictitious identity - as opposed to creating a cover legend based on an identity taken from a dead child, such practice being phased out, starting November 1994.
Christine was of slim build, just under average height (approx. 5' 4"), wore glasses and had long, dark hair. When she was undercover she was in her late twenties or early thirties, apparently born in the early 1960s, so a little older than many in the animal rights scene in London.
She often wore patchwork dungarees, tie-dye t-shirts combat boots, and was described by one person as coming across as quite contrived, and not quite the norm for animal rights at that time. Someone else recalled she dressed a bit smarter than the average activist, with a well-kept appearance. If she had an accent, it was very slight, if at all.
Her background story was that she had been married to a cop who had been a heavy drinker, and that she had been an alcoholic herself in the past, with the nickname 'Pisstine'. She gave this as the reason as to why she was mainly teetotal, though she did drink occasionally, and also why she had cut off people from her past. She was separated from her husband and they had no children; it was recalled she mentioned they had been apparently football fans together, either of Chelsea or Fulham. She did not mention her family other than to say she had a sister who she regularly went to visit. She also claimed that her parents had died when she was young and that she had been raised by an uncle in Cornwall. When mentioning her uncle had died (see below), she was not very emotional about it. Others noted that nobody knew her family or life outside of activism.
It was noted that she carried a shoulder bag (also described as a case) with her at all times, that clearly carried something heavy; this became a bit of a joke as she would never leave it alone for a moment, even taking it with her when she went to the toilet, and for some it drew a bit of suspicion towards her.
Her interests included cryptic crosswords, painting, and Jackson Brown. She had no animals while she was living in London, though she did give the impression of caring for them. For some reason she avoided Sutton in south London. There is little recollection of her talking about politics in any form, including of other issues around at the time such as anti-capitalism or the Criminal Justice Bill.
She lived in a number of places in south London, initially in Crystal Palace before moving to Norbury / South Streatham. From there she then moved to an upstairs maisonette on Farm Avenue (Sunnyhill Road side), just off Streatham High Street. This house was described as 'minimalist' and more like a 'show home'. For instance, it had only one candle. One campaigner who stayed over at Farm Avenue several times, described it as a one bedroom, upstairs flat that was immaculate with nothing out of place; the only bit of personalisation was an arrangement of postcards she had been sent. He recalled it was joked at the time that she had nothing. In all cases it is recalled that she lived on her own.
She was described as being helpful and willing to make herself available. As such, she was always in the thick of things. As with many other undercovers, she would use her vehicle to drive people a lot, including taking them to meetings or home after events. It was also noted that she did not exacerbate things when people were in conflict, but generally remained friends with both sides.
Frank, who knew her in south London and worked with her closely on a sanctuary, described Christine as someone who he would have classed as a great mate who never let him down and kept her promises; she came across as a dedicated activist. He felt she was sincere when it came to animals and recalled that she was not only vegan but the food she had at her flat not only avoided all animal products, but also other products considered unethical at the time, such as Nestlé.
As a person Christine appears to have been quite was sociable and would go the pub with people after meetings and protests. She got close to leading activists in LAA and was part of various cliques within the scene, and attended at least two sets of weddings of London-based campaigners. Paul Gravett described her as:
- She could be a little short-tempered and aloof, but once you got to know her, she was friendly. She didn't totally blend into the background but was willing to give opinions, sometimes forcibly. She was definitely willing to speak up and had stuff to say.
However, several people noted that she came across as a bit strange and not always easy to get on with, partly because she could be secretive or moody, albeit she was generally nice at the same time. One activist who met her in Streatham said Christine came across as a 'lurker'. The pattern appears that she kept aloof from people in general, unless she wanted to get particularly close to certain individuals or small groups. It was noted more than once that she focused on people intensely, latching onto a person, but also that she was ready to drop them abruptly to move on to others.
- She was super-friendly, really smiley and made a lot of eye-contact. She made a point of being really keen and interested in me, despite the fact I wasn't encouraging it. She would question me about what sort of demonstrations and other protests I'd been on or was planning to go to. Her beeline for me every time we met became so obvious, that jokes were made about it.
Occupation and vehicle
Christine told a number of people that she was a courier delivering parcels, which was the reason she had a van and mobile phone. Her employer was apparently based on the south side of the Thames, near the National Film Theatre. However, when offered courier work by friends, she was reluctant to take their business.
She had two vehicles during her deployment, the first a small white panel, (two-seater) estate-car sized van, followed by a red one of similar size that was unmarked. One person recalled that it used to have lots of boxes in the back that smelled of curry. She would use it regularly for going to demonstrations and meetings.
She had no landline, but did have a mobile phone - then only just coming in as a thing people had - being one of the first people in the animal rights scene to have one. She was generally quick to answer it and would also use it while driving. Her numbers are known to have been 0802 251 354, followed by 0966 144 331.
Like many other police undercovers, she was a very good driver. She would drive hunt sabs' vehicles when on those protests, but when at other demonstrations she preferred to take her own van, saying that she 'didn't want to rely on other people or to get stuck'. However, when LAA hired or borrowed a minibus to take people to a protest, she was one of the drivers they called on.
She claimed her boss was ringing her on her phone constantly. Later, after he supposedly had died of a brain tumour, she passed on carpet tiles to fellow activists, saying they had come from his office.
Targets & activities
For the first part of her deployment she had a London focus, subsequently moving to interests further afield, particularly swapping her attention from fur campaigns to hunt sabbing (short for sabotaging) in 1997.
London Animal Action
Christine appears to have turned up in late 1994, at an anti-fur picket against Noble Furs, at 3 Burlington Place, just off Regent Street in central London. She said she was passing by when she saw the protest, and it having sparked her interest in the issue joined in. This campaign was active October 1994 and January 1995 (see below) so allows the start of her deployment to be placed between October-December 1994, most likely being in November (see note above on use of cover identity).
At this point the undercover Matt Rayner was still deployed into animal rights groups in north London. Early on, Christine focused on people he knew, going out for meals with prominent activists in the group.
From then on she became active in the city-wide group, London Animal Action (LAA), an umbrella organisation for many of the animal rights-related campaigns in the city, and which helped provide transport for protests further afield. Christine attended many of the different types of protests organised through LAA, particularly those relating to fur. However, on demonstrations she tended to stay on the periphery of things, and it is believed she was not arrested on LAA related protests.
Several campaigners described her as being involved in everything to do with London Animal Action, steadily becoming prominent in it - right up until her exit in late 1999. This included attending pretty much all public meetings, then being held at the 1A Community Centre on Rosebury Avenue, EC1, and also the more private planning ones, making herself useful by taking on administrative tasks
She became trusted enough to be provided a key to its office space at 5 Caledonian Road, home to Housmans bookshop and PeaceNews - following in the footsteps of undercover Matt Rayner in this. As part of helping with administration, she was one of those who handled LAA's post, which needed to be picked up from its private BM mail box. Minutes of the London Animal Actions' planning meeting of 5 May 1997 note that Christine Green agreed to be a signatory for LAA's bank account, replacing Matt Rayner who had been treasurer of the group until he went abroad. As such she played an increasing role in the group's finances, likely being the de facto treasurer by the end of her time with them.
Christine was also one of those who helped edit the LAA newsletter, London Animal Rights News - a similar tactic to Andy Coles, who had edited its predecessor news-sheet for the London Animal Rights Coalition. Through this she had access to LAA's mailing lists. In late 1995 she suggested doing the mail-out for the London Animal Rights Newsletter from her house, picking them up in her van.
The minutes from the planning meeting of the 5th May 1997 also show the extent to which she had become a key and trusted campaigner in the group and the numerous aspects of its work she involved herself in. In addition to agreeing to be a bank signatory, she took on to reach out to the following groups:
- The McLibel campaign, supporting Helen Steel and Dave Morris being sued by McDonald's (a campaign also spied upon by Matt Rayner) - Christine and another prominent LAA campaigner volunteered to look into doing a joint march between LAA and McLibel. In the end, this never happened.
- The London Anti-Vivisection Action, a campaign within London Animal Action. Following a discussion at the meeting about so called 'home visits' to targets involved in vivisection and the heavy policing of recent events during World Day for Animals In Laboratories, 'Christine volunteered to contact Birnberg solicitors to try to ascertain more about the legal situation'.
- South London Animal Action. This campaigning group was being wound down, and its membership list and mail would be passed over to LAA. According to the minutes: 'Christine is meeting [the couple running SLAA] later this week to sort out how this will be done.'
Christine was present at a London Animal Action planning meeting in September 1999 meeting when it was agreed to write to a local north London campaign saying LAA no longer wanted to be associated with it due to incidents of racism among the protestors there. Christine was among those who said a stand should be taken against the racism. The next planning meeting, in October 1999 was attended by more people than usual because of the issue, Christine again present and being vocal against the racism.
London had been the focus of various anti-fur campaigns over the years. In the early 1990s, this had been led by the London Anti-Fur Campaign, one of the groups that had merged to form London Animal Action in late 1994. In response to fur making a return in fashion, LAA launched the Fur Free London Campaign in autumn 1994 as their flagship campaign, aiming to make London free of fur shops. The first of its targets was Noble Furs, where pickets took place from October 1994 to January 1995, at one of which Christine first made contact (see above).
A series of short, successful campaigns by Fur Free London then followed, resulting in the closure of Jindo Furs of Knightsbridge and Montana Furs ceasing to sell real fur. Other targets included Selfridges. In June 1995, the group started its long campaign against Philip Hockley at 20 Conduit Street, Mayfair, the most prestigious of the fur shops still open.
Christine is known to have attended many of these anti-fur related protests, particularly at the Philip Hockley shop including one all-night vigil there. These protests happened every Saturday and occasionally also on weekdays; they were met with a regular police and private security presence, the police in particular seeking to move protest well away from the shop front. In July 1997, an injunction under the Protection from Harassment Act was taken out against the protestors, and multiple arrests for 'breach of the peace' took place during subsequent protests.
Around this time, Christine moved away from doing anti-fur campaigning and switched to hunt sabbing, which was also mainly a weekend activity. By late 1997, she appears to have stopped doing fur protests altogether.
March 1996 Fur Day of Action
Christine was a key part of a small group which tracked Michael Hockley from his shop to his home address. This knowledge was made use of on 16 March 1996, when London Animal Action held a 'Day of Action Against the Fur Trade'. A hundred people from across the UK turned up for the protest, which focused on fur shops in London. A contemporary report in London Animal Rights News noted that Special Branch / Animal Rights National Index had apparently informed police on the day to expect around 60 protestors. There were various shops targeted, during which one arrest took place.
After the shops closed for the day, a large part of the protestors then made their way to Hockley's house in north west London. Interestingly the LARN report noted that police were waiting for protestors when they arrived at St. John's tube station, and:
- Within five minutes several riot vans had arrived with blue lights flashing and sirens sounding. One copper stood in Hockley's front garden brandishing a small round riot shield. After ten minutes there were about a dozen riot vans, dog handlers, police range rovers and undercover officers to deal with the 75 or so protestors.
- This mighty force of the TSG (Tactical Support Group) obviously wasn't enough to handle us, because they were shortly followed by a low-flying police helicopter hovering above his house.
A line of police then pushed the protestors back from the house, and the group moved back to St. John's Station, reassembling to move on. There they were attacked by police, forcing them onto the tube trains. Six people were arrested during this protest and taken to Marylebone station, but all were later released without charge.
Another undercover officer, Matt Rayner was present at the protest at Hockley's house. It is believed that Christine too was present at the house and also at a second 'Fur Day of Action' held in November 1996.
Being based in Streatham meant that Christine was geographically close to the Brixton hunt saboteur group, which had been targeted for infiltration by her predecessor Andy Coles. She tried to make a connection, including helping out with food at a benefit gig for the group. However, she was not trusted enough to be welcomed into the group; as far as currently known, she never went out sabbing with the Brixton group.
She then appears to have turned her attention to another prominent hunt sab group, the West London Hunt Sabs, which had previously been targeted by 'Matt Rayner', and regularly have gone out with them, including when they joined up with other sab groups in the region such as Reading and Southampton.
Once she was active with the West London hunt sabs, Christine went out with them regularly, both as a driver, but also actively taking part in the protests itself. She would be one of the protestors going into the field to actively prevent hunts from killing foxes using a variety of methods. Targets at the time would have hunts such as the Surrey Union.
She was said to be confrontational when out hunt sabbing. During one protest against the Isle of Wight fox hunt in early March 1998 near Arreton, Christine was arrested along with eight other sabs for aggravated trespass (section 69, Criminal Justice Act). Charges against her were dropped, but pursued against the rest; their initial court appearance in March 1998 giving their details (other than hers) was reported in local press.
South London Animal Action
Christine was also involved in South London Animal Action (also known as South London Animal Aid), a Clapham based group. (When it wound down and merged into London Animal Action in 1997, Christine volunteered to pick up its material including mailing lists - see above.)
At the time, SLAA was active on a number of local campaigns such as against Battersea Zoo and fishing at Clapham Lake. The group also took part in national protests including those around live exports (including at Coventry, Brightlingsea and Shoreham) and Glaxo Wellcome in Stevenage; and attending protests against McDonald's and shark fin soup in London's Chinatown (as part of the Shark Protection League campaign). Furthermore, SLAA ran a vegan catering company, Green Marmoset, which provided food at events to raise money.
Other known activities of Christine Green:
- Regularly drove people to the quarterly meetings of the Animal Rights Coalition, taking place in Coventry and elsewhere.
- Often helped out at a well-known animal sanctuary in Kent.
- August 1999, took part in a protest at London Zoo held by London Animal Action. As protests were generally difficult due to local bye-laws and quickly moved on by the police, the protestors met up secretly elsewhere first. This time the protest, involving one person dressed up as a monkey in a cage, successfully went ahead and the police seemed content to let them carry on for as long as they wished.
- Attended a meeting in Brighton in support of animal rights hunger striker Barry Horne. This was likely during the period of Horne's third hunger strike which lasted from 6 October to 13 December 1998.
- Participated in demonstrations outside circuses over the use of performing animals, possibly including Circus King when it visited east/north London.
Christine was also involved in animal rescues on several occasions. Once, following a demonstration at Hillgrove, a group of protestors stopped off at a notorious farm known for the cruelty towards animals. Christine had taken her van, and allowed it to be used to transport a number of hens taken from the farm. On another occasion, a horse being kept on a landfill site was rescued and transported in her van.
It is now known that she was part of raid on the Crow Hill mink farm at Ringwood, Hampshire on 8 August 1998, in which up to 6,000 mink were released into the wild; the action was claimed in the name of the Animal Liberation Front. Though many were recaptured, a second raid a week later resulted in 1,000 being released once more. However, it is not known if the same group was involved. The raids recieved considerable mainstream media coverage at the time, and was subject to a large investigation by Hampshire Police, but nobody was arrested at the time.
Christine Green's involvement in the first raid of 8 August, was withheld by the Metropolitan Police from Hampshire Police at the time. In February 2018, following the public confirmation of Christine's role as an undercover, the Metropolitan Police publicly apologised to Hampshire police over this, and named her as a participant (see below).
Throughout her deployment Christine was active outside London, whether through hunt sabbing or taking part in the national campaigns then taking place - which regularly saw large-scale protests, often met with intensive policing operations. Much of her involvement was through London Animal Action, or South London Animal Action.
From 1994 to 1996, much of animal rights activism on a national level was dominated by protests against the live export of animals, particularly of calves being sent to Europe for veal. Following major ferry lines dropping the trade including at Dover, farmers switched a number smaller sites to transport the animals from. These included Coventry Airport, and the ports of Brightingsea in Essex and Shoreham in Sussex. These subsequently became the focus of major campaigns, with regular pickets attracting significant numbers of people. After the European Union banned the export of British cattle in March 1996, campaigning on the issue died down.
On at least one occasion, Christine drove London campaigners to the protest at Coventry Airport. These protests had begun in December 1994 and continued until the 4 May 1995. On 1 February 1995 protestor Jill Phipps was killed by a lorry at one of the demonstrations.
Christine is known to have also attended the protests at Shoreham and Brightlingsea, both of which saw very large protests throughout 1995. Those at Shoreham took place from October 1994 until live exports from there were abandoned in June 1995; while the Brightlingsea lasted from January to August 1995 when again they were victorious. It was noted Brightingsea would have required her to go out of her way considerably, as it was not an easy place to get to from south-west London compared to other targets. She is thought to have been around for when campaigners there were actively snatched out of crowds by police.
In 1996, the animal rights movement turned a significant part of its focus to anti-vivisection protests, targeting businesses breeding animals for experimentation in laboratories. A number of such campaigns were set up, particularly against Consort in Herefordshire - which bred beagles. On 19 April 1997, Christine drove protestors from London to a demonstration at Consort Beagles, held as part of the annual World Day for Laboratory Animals. Christine did not stay with the vehicle but joined the other protestors in the fields around the place. Despite a large police presence, the 500 protestors managed to breach fences and one pregnant beagle was briefly rescued. 23 protestors were arrested following the clashes - including two who had come in the vehicle driven by Christine.
After Consort closed in September 1997, campaigners turned their attention to Hillgrove Cats, the last remaining breeder of cats for vivisection in the UK, situated just outside Whitney in Oxfordshire. Boosted by a number of significant successes against breeders of animals for vivisection, Hillgrove Cats saw regular, large-scale protests, and a commensurately large police presence. The campaign lasted until August 1999, when the farm announced it was closing its breeding business.
The campaign which regularly held small-scale night time vigils was also notable for large monthly protests which saw considerable disturbances at the farm and in nearby Oxford city. These protest would attract sufficient interest that coaches were hired to transport people to them, some of which were driven by Christine's partner. Christine is known to have been present at both.
In particular, she was at the large protest of 18 April 1998, to commemorate World Day for Animals In Laboratories, Considerable damage was done to the farm despite a large police operation which saw officers brought in from West Mercia and Gloucestershire police forces. Five of those who were at the clashes of 18 April were arrested at a subsequent protest on 31 May 1998. At that point, the police operation at the farm, led by Assist. Chief Constable Tim Davidson, had cost £½ million.
Christine may also have attended protest at Shamrock Farm, based at Small Dole, near Brighton and which imported primates for vivisection. It was the target of a successful campaign by Save the Shamrock Monkeys from 1998 to 2000.
Exit & relationship
A number of people have stated that around 1998, Christine began a relationship with a prominent sab and animal rights activist, Tom though this has been questioned by others. In 1994, he had been sent to prison for several months for assaulting a hunt employee in Surrey, something he said was self-defense. He was active with Reading and West London hunt sabs, (the latter group targeted by Christine - see above). Christine is also recalled being seen with him at the 1998 World Day protest at Hillgrove, for which he had been a coach driver and at an LAA planning meetings in October 1999 (see above under the racism issue).
By this stage, Christine had been deployed into animal rights as an undercover for five years, and (in hindsight) the deployment was coming to an end. As with previous undercovers, she started mentioning that she was tired with activism and vanished from the animal rights scene in late 1999 with very little in the way of goodbye. The story she gave to some was her wealthy uncle in Cornwall had died and left her some money, which she was using for a six-month trip to Australia. Both the Metropolitan Police and Undercover Policing Inquiry noted her formal deployment ended in 1999.
After her supposed time away, Christine returned and contacted a few activist friends. Apparently in France, Tom traveled to see her there. Though it is not clear when the actual relationship started, not long after 2000 they moved to Cornwall as a couple. There she took a job with a rape crisis centre, while Tom continued doing animal rights campaigning. Several people had chance encounters with the couple while they were living there. This included one in a Cornwall veggie cafe by someone who knew Tom from earlier animal rights campaigning, though not Christine. The campaigner recalled how Tom effectively blanked her greeting.
In 2011, around the time the undercover policing scandal was breaking, the couple left Cornwall for rural Scotland, though their subsequent whereabouts are unknown.
Suspicions and exposure
There was some suspicion of Christine at the time of her deployment, with a few people thinking she was 'a bit funny'. Others animal rights activists in Streatham were also wary of her and it was noted that Christine tried to avoid them in turn. Likewise, she struggled to get accepted by the Brixton Hunt sabs. She appears to be aware of some of the suspicion around her, having asked an activist if it was thought that she was an undercover cop. Others remember that she didn't quite fit in, but were not able to put a finger on why they felt that at the time.
In 2013, Paul Gravett recognised that Christine fitted the pattern of several other SDS undercovers he had known - Bob Lambert, Matt Rayner and Andy Coles. He began circulating his suspicions in October that year, and her cover name was subsequently published online in February 2014.
Following the exposure of Andy "Van" Davey as an undercover in May 2017, attention turned to Christine. Concrete evidence was uncovered by both The Guardian and the Undercover Research Group, which confirmed she had been a serving police officer. This was publicly revealed by The Guardian in February 2018.
This was subsequently confirmed by the Undercover Policing Inquiry who added her to the list of confirmed cover names on its website on 20 February 2018.. The following day, the Metropolitan Police, as part of their apology to Hampshire Police over the Ringwood mink farm raid, also confirmed Christine Green had been one of their SDS officers.
Metropolitan Police apology
On Tuesday, 20 February 2018, two days after The Guardian story broke, Metropolitan Police issued a public statement:
- Apology to Hampshire Constabulary re actions of undercover unit
- The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has formally apologised to Hampshire Constabulary for an incident regarding the actions of the former undercover unit - the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS).
- During the investigation into the SDS carried out by Operation Herne the MPS found information about the deployment of an undercover officer known as 'Christine Green'. Christine Green infiltrated the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and London Animal Action between 1994 and 1999.
- It appears from the available evidence that Christine Green was authorised by her then line management, potentially up to the rank of Detective Chief Superintendent, to participate in a criminal act that took place on the night of 8 August 1998. This was when ALF activists released a large number of mink from a fur farm - Crow Hill Farm - in Ringwood, Hampshire.
- A decision was made by the SDS not to share Christine Green's involvement or the knowledge the MPS had about the role of the ALF with Hampshire Constabulary, who carried out a criminal investigation at the time. In 2014, the MPS disclosed the former officer's role to Hampshire Constabulary. Neither the MPS nor Hampshire Constabulary could share this more widely at that time in view of the risk of identification of the former officer.
- At this stage there is no evidence that the officer was involved in the second release of mink two weeks later. She resigned from the MPS in August 2000.
- The MPS has informed the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing of this matter. Following the Chairman Sir John Mitting's ruling regarding the release of the former officer's cover name, the MPS agreed that it was in the public interest that the role of the MPS in this incident be made public.
- Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball, in charge of Professionalism in the MPS, said: "The MPS has apologised to Hampshire Constabulary for the impact these decisions had on their ability to bring those responsible to justice.
- "The precise circumstances of the decision to authorise an undercover officer to participate in this criminal act will be fully explored as part of the Public Inquiry process. I would like to be clear that the decision making surrounding this incident would simply not happen in today's Metropolitan Police Service.
- "It appears that the SDS allowed this incident to go ahead, as they saw it, in the interests of preventing more serious crime in the longer term. The scale of the release was unforeseen by the SDS at the time, but once the impact became clear they still did not inform Hampshire Constabulary of the officer's involvement.
- "It is not possible to say what direct impact the role of Christine Green's involvement had or if different policing decisions could have averted the damage.
- "I do understand that this decision making from 20 years ago will cause significant concern to the public, especially those people directly affected by the events in 1998. The MPS will be honest about our past and accept criticism where it is due.
- "Today, undercover policing is extensively supervised, including by the Investigatory Powers Commissioner and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services. We work within this framework to use undercover policing tactics appropriately for the benefit of the public. We have a continuing responsibility to reassure the public about the ethics and integrity of modern policing."'
- A referral was made to the then Independent Police Complaints Commission in April 2014 with regards to the role and conduct of Christine Green. The IPCC decided a local investigation should be carried out - this was conducted by Operation Herne under the supervision of then Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon. An investigation was carried out within the frameworks available at that time and a file was submitted to the CPS in December 2015. In February 2016 the CPS advised there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.
- The work of Operation Herne remains ongoing.
- The Public Inquiry published the former officer's cover name on Tuesday, 20 February. A restriction order has been granted over her real name.
The same day the Undercover Policing Inquiry also named 'Christine Green' on their webpgage as the officer known under the cipher 'HN26'.
The above press release was unusual in that it broke with the Metropolitan Police's policy of not naming former undercovers who had not already self-identified, as part of their policy of 'Neither Confirm Nor Deny' (NCND). Up until then, Christine's role in the Ringwood mink liberation was not public knowledge.
The press release also noted that the Ringwood release had been subject to a complaint and police investigation in 2014, but that the Crown Prosecution Service had said in 2016 that there was little prospect of conviction.
The Metropolitan press release was picked up by many media outlets with national newspapers and BBC radio carrying the story, including covering the issues that had been raised by the mink liberation back in 1998.
Hampshire police also put out their own response:
- Statement from Hampshire Constabulary following apology from the Metropolitan Police
- Hampshire Constabulary has today received an apology from the Metropolitan Police following the release of the cover name of former Special Demonstration Squad officer ‘Christine Green’ as part of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, as well as an acknowledgement that we were unaware of any of these practices taking place in our force area.
- I wanted to share with you the statement issued by our force lead in this area, Chief Superintendent Darren O’Callaghan regarding an incident that happened in the New Forest area in 1998.
- “In August 1998, Hampshire Constabulary investigated an incident of criminal damage at Crow Hill Farm near Ringwood. During this incident, 6,000 mink were released into the New Forest and the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility. Following an investigation by Hampshire Constabulary, and based on the information available at the time, no individuals were identified as being responsible and no charges were brought.
- “In 2014, Hampshire Constabulary was made aware of the involvement of an undercover Metropolitan Police Special Demonstration Squad officer using now discredited tactics during the incident at Crow Hill Farm. On the basis of this information, we conducted a full review of our original investigation. However, due to the length of time that had passed, the lack of tangible evidence and no suspects being identified, in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, it was agreed that there was no realistic chance of prosecution. Prior to this disclosure, Hampshire Constabulary was unaware of the presence of the officer during this crime, or the tactics being employed by the Metropolitan Police.
- “Once this new information became known and in the interests of openness and transparency, Hampshire Constabulary sought permission to inform the affected parties in this case, however we were notified that the crime and the tactics used were subject to the Undercover Policing Inquiry and therefore bound by the confidentiality of this legal process.
- “We continue to fully co-operate with the Inquiry.”
The Friday that week (23 February), Christine had released a statement to The Guardian. In this, she was highly critical of Metropolitan Police's senior officers, saying the should hang their heads in shame and that in revealing her participation in the Ringwood mink liberation their behaviour was 'scandalous', and that in releasing her name but not those officers who had authorised her to take part in the raid 'seems like doubled standards to me'.
- That the current senior management team at the Metropolitan police has chosen to expose my role, knowing the vilification and furore that would follow in the ‘trial by media’ whilst being fully aware of my ill-health issues, is scandalous. It is the Metropolitan police, not I, who should be holding its head in shame.
The article also revealed that she had quit the Metropolitan Police in 2000, shortly after her deployment came to an end, and that she has had a 'great deal of therapy and counselling over the years' due to her time undercover, as her 'duplicity, whilst doing my job to the best of my ability, has had a long-term damaging effect on my physical and mental health'.
She also offered an apology:
- In her statement, she offered her heartfelt apology to “those activists who I was closest to and who befriended me, opening their lives and homes to me”. She said she had “made some of the best friends anyone could ever want, people who without hesitation put their liberty and sometimes their life on the line for me. I am certain they know who they are.”
Police chain of command
The Controller of Operations of the Special Demonstration Squad overseeing her deployment was Bob Lambert, who had previously infiltrated animal rights groups in north London in the 1980s. Her contemporary was Jim Boyling, who had focused on Essex hunt sabs before moving onto Reclaim the Streets. Above Lambert, the heads of the SDS during Christine's time undercover are the officers currently known by the cyphers N86 and HN58.
The current, incompletely known, chain of command from 1994 to 2000 of officers who would have overseen Christine's deployment is below.
|Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police||Paul Condon (1993-2000)|
|Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations||David Veness (April 1994 onwards)|
|Deputy Assistant Commissioner (Security) - rank abolished 1995||John Howley (1991-1995), he is also called head of Special Branch 1991-1996.|
|Head of Special Branch / SO12||Cmdr. Don Buchanan (by 1992-1995)|
Barry Moss (1996-1999)
Cmdr. Roger Pearce, as both Head of Special Branch and Director of Intelligence 1999.
|Controller of Operations (Special Branch)||Barry Moss (1995)|
Det. Ch. Supt. Colin Black (1996)
N86 (1997; temp. post)
Det. Supt. Roger Pearce (OCU Commander) & Det. Ch. Supt. Eileen Eggington (OCU Commander Security) - both 1998 & 1999.
|Head of SDS||N86 (1993-96),|
|SDS Controller of Operations||Bob Lambert (1994-1998)|
According to the Metropolitan Police apology in relation to the Ringwood mink release of August 1998, it appeared that Christine's involvement had been authorized, and that:
- It appears from the available evidence that Christine Green was authorised by her then line management, potentially up to the rank of Detective Chief Superintendent.
The overall authorization of her deployment is likely to have been made by the Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations of the time, David Veness. However, it could also have been done by someone of the rank of Detective Chief Superintendent, which in the Metropolitan Police Special Branch at the time was the rank held by the 'Controller of Operations for Special Branch', it's effective Deputy Head and who generally over saw the practical, operational side of the unit.
Thus, it appears from the apology, that, in this period, the Controller of Operations of Special Branch was authorising the individual activities of the undercovers, including involvement in criminality. From the above table, those in the line for the authorisation of the Ringwood mink liberation would include Det. Supt. Roger Pearce and the then head of the Special Demonstration Squad, HN58. Bob Lambert, who was head of the SDS to some time within 1998, and Det. Ch. Supt. Eileen Eggington are also potentially in the picture, but it is not definite that dates and roles coincide with Christine Green's line management at the time of the liberation. Pearce, Lambert and HN58 were all former SDS undercovers themselves.
At the time of writing (February 2018), the intention of the Undercover Policing Inquiry Chair, Sir John Mitting, to not release the details of HN58 was under dispute by non-police core participants in the Inquiry.
A timeline of undercovers indicates that Christine was part of a line of Special Demonstration Squad undercovers who targeted animal rights in south west London. The earliest such undercover is Mike Chitty, who as Mike Blake lived in Balham and targeted people in Streatham 1983-1987. In November 1991, Andy Coles moved to Streatham as Andy 'Van' Davey, where he targeted Brixton Hunt Sabs and forerunners of London Animal Action. He was there until February 1995. The dates of Christine's deployment and Coles' exit indicate that their deployments overlapped for a brief period.
It is highly probable that Christine was Andy Coles' successor, both geographically, but also in targeting a number of the same groups and campaigns such as Brixton Hunt Sabs and London Animal Action.
Like Andy, she struggled to be accepted locally, but she did have greater success in the wider London group. In this wider scene, she partly overlapped in time with Matt Rayner who was infiltrating to a good degree the north London animal rights scene. Both were active in fur campaigns and with the West London hunt sab group. It has been confirmed that it was clear Christine and Matt knew each other in the animal rights movement and there is a good chance they will have been at the same meetings and protests. Matt Rayner remained active until November 1996, when he moved to France.
It is highly likely that both Matt and Andy Coles will have helped brief and prepare Christine for her undercover role. All three officers will have provided information to Special Branch's Animal Rights National Index, which in 1999 was restructured to become the national 'spycops' unit, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.
Christine served in the same period when fellow undercovers N81 and other undercovers were focusing on family justice campaigns, including those associated the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence. Likewise, she was a contemporary of fellow SDS officer, Jim Boyling was deployed against Essex Hunt Saboteurs and Reclaim the Streets. As such, her time in the Special Demonstration Squad comes at a period of high significance, particularly with regards to the issues being investigated by the Undercover Policing Inquiry.
Further reading and resources
- Rob Evans and Severin Carrell, Met police spy has long-term relationship with activist after quitting covert role,The Guardian, 18 February 2018.
- Undercover Research Group, Christine Green: yet another #spycop in animal rights, 18 February 2018.
- Metropolitan Police, Apology to Hampshire Constabulary re actions of undercover unit, 20 February 2018.
- Rob Evans, Met admits police spy’s role in mass release of mink by protesters, The Guardian, 20 February 2018.
- Ringwood mink fur farm raid sanctioned by police, BBC Online, 20 February 2018.
- Conrad Landin, Police admit undercover cop broke the law in fur farm raid, Morning Star, 21 February 2018.
- Rob Evans, Ex-police spy berates Met for revealing her role in mink release, The Guardian, 23 February 2018.
- Who Were The Spies?, ARSpyCatcher (blog), 2017 (accessed 12 January 2018).
- See: Mick Creedon, Operation Herne Report 1: Covert Identities, Metropolitan Police Service, July 2013, where she is cited as N26 - see para. 5.4.
- Reference to Christine Green and others was made by Paul Gravett in his talk at the October 2013 London Anarchist Bookfair, and in an email circulated by him a week beforehand, inviting people to attend. See 2013 Anarchist Bookfair Meetings, AnarchistBookfair.co.uk, 2013 (accessed via Archive.org). Email of Paul Gravett enclosing original email of October 2013.
- The identification of Christine Green as HN26 was first postulated by Paul Gravett at Mitting to reveal cover names of one or possibly two animal rights spycops, ARSpyCatcher (blog), 17 December 2017 (accessed 23 Jan 2018), and subsequently confirmed on 20 February by the Undercover Policing Inquiry.
- Undercover Research Group: interview with 'YJ', 23 Feb 2016.
- Undercover Research Group: interview with Paul Gravett, 19 January 2018.
- Undercover Research Group: phone call with 'Shirley', an animal rights activist, 15 January 2018.
- Undercover Research Group: interview with Brendan McNally, 16 October 2015.
- Undercover Research Group: phone call with a London hunt sab, 18 May 2017.
- Undercover Research Group: interview with Robin Lane, 14 February 2017.
- 'ARSpycatcher', How Special Branch Spied on Animal Rights Movement, Buro Jansen & Jansen, 22 February 2014 (accessed 12 January 2018).
- Undercover Research Group: phone call with 'Frank', 25 January 2018.
- Undercover Research Group: interview with 'Tanya', 31 Jan 2016.
- Undercover Research Group: email from 'Damien Clark', 23 November 2015.
- Undercover Research Group: email from 'Tony', 14 January 2018.
- Undercover Research Group: emails from Paul Gravett, January 2018.
- London Animal Action did not get its own minibus until late 1997. It is not recalled if she drove it, however. Source: interview with Paul Gravett, vide infra.
- Apology to Hampshire Constabulary re actions of undercover unit, Metropolitan Police, 20 February 2018 (accessed 20 February 2018).
- Cover names, Undercover Policing Inquiry, updated 20 February 2018. See also their tweet of same day: Cover name confirmed: "Christine Green" - groups: Animal Liberation Front; London Animal Action, West London Hunt Saboteurs. 1994-1999, Twitter.com, 20 February 2018 (accessed 20 February 2018)
- Minutes of Planning Meeting Tuesday 5th May 1997, London Animal Action.
- Fur Wars... the Campaign Against Philip Hockley, Arkangel, Issue 20, 1998.
- Undercover Research Group: accounts from people present and involved in the March 1996 protest.
- Fur trader resigns due to pressure from animal liberationists, London Animal Rights News, April 1996, Issue 12.
- Paul Gravett: email to Undercover Research Group, 5 February 2016.
- Undercover Research Group: interview with 'M', a hunt saboteur, 14 February 2017.
- Undercover Research Group: conversation with 'V', January 2018.
- Local Group Reports, Arkangel, No. 13, 1995.
- Local Group Reports, Arkangel, No. 14, 1995.
- Local Group Reports, Arkangel, No. 15, 1995.
- Local Group Reports, Arkangel, No. 16, undated.
- Keith Mann, From Dusk 'til Dawn: An insider's view of the growth of the Animal Liberation Movement. Puppy Pincher Press, 2007.
- Undercover Research Group: interview with James, January 2018.
- Guardian staff and agencies, 1,000 Mink freed in second raid, The Guardian, 17 August 1998 (accessed Feb 2018)
- 'The Campaign Against 'Live Exports' in the UK: Animal Protectionism, the Stigmatisation of Place and the Language of Moral Outrage', Sociological Research Online, Vol. 7, No. 1, 31 May 2002 (accessed 29 January 2018).
- John Mullin & James Erlichman, Airline to go on with live exports, The Guardian, 23 December 1994 (accessed via Nexis.com).
- JillPhipps.org.uk (memorial site), 2007 (accessed via Archive.org).
- See also Battle of Brightlingsea, Wikipedia, undated (accessed 29 January 2018).
- Roving Brief: 23 held in puppy demo, The Observer, 20 April 1997 (accessed via Nexis.com).
- Hillgrove was within the Thames Valley Police area. It is notable that the Assistant Chief Constable for TVP at the time was Sara Thornton, while heading up Oxford, also regularly targeted for Hillgrove related protests were Cressida Dick and Phil Gormley. Also commanding divisions at the time are John Donlon and Anton Setchell.
- Dave McGee, Assault and Cattery: thousands battle with police at breeding farm, Sunday Mirror, 19 April 1998 (accessed via Nexis).
- Ten held at cat-farm demo, The Independent, 1 June 1998 (accessed via Nexis).
- Jamie Wilson, Clashes feared in cat farm protest, The Guardian, 18 April 1998 (accessed via Nexis.com).
- Monkey farm closes after demos, The Guardian, 11 March 2000 (accessed 29 January 2018).
- Rob Evans & Severin Carrell, Met police spy has long-term relationship with activist after quitting covert role, The Guardian, 18 February 2018 (accessed February 2018).
- Undercover Research Group: phone call with 'L', 21 January 2018.
- Undercover Research Group: research conducted by various people, 2017.
- Harley Tamplin, Police covered up undercover officer’s role in releasing 6,000 mink from farm, The Metro, 20 February 2018 (accessed 20 February 2018).
- Conrad Landin, Police admit undercover cop broke the law in fur farm raid, Morning Star, 21 February 2018 (accessed 21 February 2018).
- Ringwood mink fur farm raid sanctioned by police, BBC Online, 20 February 2018 (accessed 20 February 2018).
- Statement from Hampshire Constabulary following apology from Metropolitan Police, Hampshire Constabulary, 20 February 2018 (accessed 21 February 2018).
- Rob Evans, Ex-police spy berates Met for revealing her role in mink release, The Guardian, 23 February 2018 (accessed 23 February 2018).
- Excepted were noted, sources are various years of the Police and Constabulary Almanacs, published by R. Hazell & Co / Sweet & Maxwell.
- John Howley is listed as head of Special Branch 1991-1996; Don Buchanan was Commander of Special Branch by August 1992. See Ray Wilson & Ian Adams, Special Branch: A History 1883-2006, Biteback Publishing, 2015.
- Mark Ellison, Possible corruption and the role of undercover policing in the Stephen Lawrence case, Stephen Lawrence Independent Review, Vol. 1, Gov.UK, March 2014.
- Sir John Mitting, On the application of HN58 for a restriction order in respect of real and cover name, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 20 December 2017.
- Paul Gravett: email to Undercover Research Group, 5 February 2016.