Mike Hartley is the cover name used by a former Special Demonstration Squad] undercover officer who infiltrated Revolutionary Communist Group, Socialist Workers Party 1982-85. He was convicted under his cover name and had 'fleeting sex ual encounter with a female activist'. Used the identity of a dead child for his cover name. Currently in his 60s, and married. For the purposes of the Undercover Policing Inquiry and Operation Herne he is also know by the cipher HN12 (for the N cipher system under N officers).
On 30 July 2018 John Mitting, Chair of the Undercover Policing Inquiry made a final ruling that real name cannot be published by the Inquiry.
The family of the real Michael Hartley, who had died aged 18 when swept overboard from a fishing trawler, spoke to The Guardian on 24 September 2018, pointing out the renewed anguish the use of their deceased brother's name brought to them, not least as their mother had never recovered from Michael's death, leading to her suicide in 1977.
As an SDS officer
An undercover officer with the SDS 1982 to 1985, he was deployed into two left-wing groups successively. These were named as the Revolutionary Communist Group and the Socialist Workers Party in 23 May 2018.
During this time he was arrested, prosecuted and fined for a minor offence under his cover name. Had a 'fleeting sexual encounter with a female activist'. According to Mitting, his deployment was unremarkable and gave rise to no known allegation of misconduct.
In the Undercover Policing Inquiry
- 11 December 2017, directed that any applications for anonymity to be filed by 20 December 2017 by the MPS legal team or 22 December for the Designated Lawyers team:
- 25 January 2018: Minded to from the Inquiry Chair, John Mitting, states HN12 and his wife have serious health conditions and there is a concern that an intermittent condition HN12 suffers from may be triggered or exacerbated if his real name is published. There is also concern that such publication may have an impact on his wife. Mitting states that publication of real name is not necessary, and 'publication of his cover name, which will occur, will suffice to prompt evidence from those with whom he interacted, if they have any to give'. While publication of his real name would interfere with his Article 8(2) rights to private and family life. Accordingly, Mitting is 'minded to' grant a restriction order over HN12's real name. No application to restrict the cover name had been submitted, so it will be released once pre-publication checks have been made.
- 23 May 2018: cover name and target groups released. At that point HN12 was given as deceased.
- 3 July 2018, Mitting indicated that he was still minded to restrict the real name of HN12. and released an open version of an application to this effect made by the Metropolitan Police Service. It was also directed that any objections to Mitting's intention to grant the restriction order to be made by 20 July 2018.
- 30 July 2018: final ruling that real and cover name cannot be published.
Stolen child identity
The cover name used by HN12, 'Mike Hartley' was taken from the identity of a dead child. On 24 July 2018, the Inquiry made Hartley's brother and sister core participants, writing:
- The applicants are, respectively, the sister and brother of Michael Hartley, born on 9 June 1950, who died, when he fell overboard on his first trip out on the fishing trawler "James Barry" on 4 August 1968. His identity was used by the undercover officer identified as HN12...The applicants were not aware that their brother's identity had been so used until informed by the Inquiry on 27 April 2018.
- Email to core participants, '20180523_UCPI_to_all_CPs_publishing_HN1_HN12_and_CP_RLR_costs_rulings', Undercover Policing Inquiry, 23 May 2018, referencing update of the webpage UCPI.org.uk/cover-names.
- Sir John Mitting, Applications for restriction orders in respect of the real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstration Squad: Minded to note 12 and Ruling 10, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 30 July 2018.
- Rob Evans, 'We had fond memories of our brother but the police have made them dirty', The Guardian, 24 September 2018 (accessed 24 September 2018).
- 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).
- 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 December 2017.
- Press Notice: Decisions relating to anonymity applications: Special Demonstration Squad, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 25 January 2018 (accessed 25 January 2018).
- Publication of documetns relating to anonymity applications: Special Demonstration Squad - November 2017, January 2018, March 2018 and April 2018 'Minded' to notes, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 3 July 2018.
- List of applications and evidence published on 03 July 2018, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 3 July 2018.
- Open application for restriction order (anonymity) re: HN12, Metropolitan Police Service, 19 December 2017 (accessed via ucpi.org.uk).
- Sir John Mitting, Restriction Order Applications by HN1, HN3, HN8, HN9, HN12, HN19, HN20, HN27, HN60. HN72, HN353 and HN355, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 3 July 2018.
- Sir John Mitting, Core Participants - Ruling 20, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 24 July 2018.