Martin Hewitt

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This article is part of the Undercover Research Portal - a project of the Undercover Research Group in conjunction with SpinWatch.

Martin James Hewitt is a senior police officer with the Metropolitan Police, tasked with formulating the force's response to the public inquiry into undercover policing.

Martin Hewitt

Police professionalism and corruption investigations

As Assistant Commissioner for Professionalism, Hewitt heads the Metropolitan Police's 'Total Professionalism Programme', part of the corporate change portfolio. The goals are quite ambitious:[1]

The Total Professionalism Programme was initiated in 2012 to raise standards of leadership and behaviour; enhance MPS reputation; increase trust and confidence and change MPS culture to ensure the MPS is the best police service in the world.

As such he also oversees the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS), and its Special Investigations Unit. These had previously been part of the remit of the Deputy Commissioner.[2] The DPS liaises regularly with the Independent Police Complaints Commission.[3]

Hewitt also oversees a number of issues in relation to major scandals which the Metropolitan Police have been embroiled in, including:

  • Investigating corruption within the Metropolitan Police.[4]
  • The 'mass shredding' of Operation Othona documents, an anti-corruption investigation into Metropolitan Police officers in the late 1990s - early 2000s.[4]
  • Allegations of corruption surrounding the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation, and the subsequent allegations that information on police corruption had been withheld from the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry of Sir William Macpherson. This led to former Metropolitan Police Commissioner John Stevens being referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.[4]
  • Following leaks to the BBC that singer Cliff Richard home was to be raided by South Yorkshire Police as part of Operation Yewtree, Hewitt denied the information had come from the Metropolitan Police's Operation Yewtree taskforce but said there would be an investigation into the allegation.[6][7][8]
  • Set up an internal review into the police handling of the inquiry into the unexplained death of Gareth Williams, an MI6 / GCHQ codebreaker. In 2010, Williams' body was found padlocked inside a holdall in mysterious circumstances,[9]. In the subsequent inquest the coroner was heavily critical of the Metropolitan Police handling of investigation.[10]
  • Chairing 'Special Case Hearings' into misconduct of officers as part of his role as head of the Professional Standards Directorate. [11][12]


Undercover policing

Hewitt appeared alongside the head of Operation Herne Mick Creedon in a July 2014 press conference where it was revealed that the Special Demonstration Squad had spied on the families campaigning for justice following the deaths of loved ones. This included the Ricky Reel family. At this conference the line put out by the Metropolitan Police was that there had been no specific tasking of the undercover officers against the families concerned, and it amounted to 'collateral intrusion'.[13]

Hewitt spoke on behalf of the MPS, saying that:[14][15]

I can absolutely apologise for the distress that this has caused the families. We need to understand all the facts of everything that has gone on.

I really do hope that today’s report which is categoric in stating that undercover officers were not tasked to go and gather intelligence directly from the families or directly from those groups that were legitimately supporting their cause, will go some way to reassure people.

In the July 2014 publication "Integrity in Policing" Hewitt formulated the Met's view on undercover policing after three years of revelations starting with the exposure of Mark Kennedy:[16]

The Role of Undercover Policing
The Met recognises that this is one of the most intrusive tactics the police can use, however, undercover policing still remains a critical tool in tackling terrorism and serious and organised crime. In the last 12 months alone, operations supported directly by undercover officers have led to almost 1,400 charges for serious crimes.
To protect individuals including the public, and to ensure successful investigations, undercover policing must operate in a secure and confidential fashion. Undercover officers, all of whom are volunteers, are given a lifetime guarantee that we will protect their real identities. The Met does not want to break that undertaking and expose them and their families to risks of serious harm. This risk should not be underestimated. The Met will hand over all the records we can find to the public inquiry, but we will ask that some of them remain confidential in order to protect both the safety of the officers and others that may be exposed by the deployment, and to protect the tactics used.
It must also be made clear that undercover policing has already changed significantly since the 1990s. Units like the SDS, which was closed down in 2008, are no longer in existence and undercover operations today are unrecognisable from how that unit operated. There are now much stronger legal and ethical safeguards. Legislation requires an officer authorising an undercover deployment to take into account, and minimise, the risk of interference with the private and family life of people who are not the intended subjects.
The Surveillance Commissioner, independent from policing and the Met, now has oversight of all undercover deployments and they also now authorise all deployments over one year duration.
The roles performed by undercover operatives are revealed to the Crown Prosecution Service in all prosecutions.
Let me be clear, it is critical that policing retains this tactic, but we must do everything we can to ensure we remain lawful, ethical and proportionate. We are committed to learning and strengthening the safeguards around operation of undercover policing.

Shooting of Mark Duggan

Following the shooting of Mark Duggan by Metropolitan Police officers, Hewitt was the Gold Commander at Scotland Yard dealing with the immediate aftermath, assuming overall control within minutes of the shooting reporting to AC Lynne Owens.[17] In particular he was line manager for the MPS Specialist Firearms Command (SCO19 / CO19) at the time, and as such he appeared in the inquest into Duggan's death.[18]

Phone hacking

Hewitt played a role in the phone hacking scandal as a senior investigator with the 2010 Operation Varec under the AC John Yates, which was the original and now discredited investigation into allegations of phone hacking by the News of the World and other newspapers.[19] On the basis of this investigation, John Yates would - wrongly - recommend to Commissioner Paul Stephenson that there was no further evidence requiring re-opening of previous investigations into phone hacking.[20]

It is known that Hewitt submitted a witness statement in response to a request[21] from the Leveson Inquiry in the media, however both the request and the witness statement have been sealed for 100 years.[22]

He went on to lead the 2014 Operation Silverhawk, which investigated the activity of the controversial Sun journalist Mazher Mahmood's role in the collapsed trial of Tulis Constavlos.[23] This investigation came under criticism for not looking at the other convictions based on evidence from Mahmood.[24]

Affiliations & Awards

  • Queens Police Medal: awarded in the Queens Birthday Honours 2014.[26]
  • Vice Chair, National Police Chief's Council; appointed April 2015, where he works with the Chair, Sara Thornton and fellow vice-chair Peter Vaughan.[27]


  • ca. 1987-1993: Commissioned Officer in the army,[25] including the Royal Artillery.[27][28]
  • 1993: joins Kent Police, serving in uniformed and detective posts, experience including 'specialist experience in investigation and intelligence both within the Counter Terrorist and Crime arenas'.[25]
  • 2002: Detective Chief Inspector, Kent Police, engaged in transnational crime.[29]
  • 2003 - 2005: Superintendent, Kent Police as area commander for the North Kent Police area.[30][31][32]
  • 2005: Detective Chief Superintendent, Commander of the Metropolitan Intelligence Bureau, Metropolitan Police Service; was the first Operational Command Unit (OCU) Commander for this unit,[25] and appears to have been instrumental in the unit's founding under AC (Specialist Crime) Stephen House,[33] as it was not formally established until 2006/7.[34][35] The unit is noted for setting up an 'Open Source Team', which used social media to glean for information in relation to investigations.[36]
  • 2009: Commander (promoted in May 2009.[37]) Gangs and Organised Crime Command, Metropolitan Police (which incorporates Operation Trident / Trident Gang Crime Command). In this role served as: [25][18] MPS lead representative to the National Crime Agency; MPS lead on Gun Crime; ACPO lead for Kidnap and Extortion.
  • 2012: Deputy Assistant Commissioner (Crime Operations) within the MPS's Specialist Crime and Operations Business Group. Responsibilities included: 'Gangs and Organised Crime, Armed Policing, Homicide, Child Abuse, Rape, Specialist Crime Prevention, PNC and Vetting Bureau, and Strategic Change'.[25]
Answers to AC Martin Rowley, and has under him Commanders Steve Rodhouse (Gangs and Organised Crime), Neil Basu (Armed Policing) & Graham McNulty (Specialist Crime investigation).[38] Also holds the position of: ACPO lead for Adult Sexual Offences[25][39] and 'national lead officer on rapes and sexual assault'.[40]; and ACPO lead on E-Crime in 2012[41]
  • 25 June 2014: Assistant Commissioner (Professionalism).[42][7] The announcement stated that he was being appointed 'in a new Assistant Commissioner role responsible for the MPS response to the public inquiry on undercover policing'.[42] This appears to be referred to internally as Operation Beacon.[16]

Personal details

Married with four children; lives in London.[27]


  1. Martin Hewitt, Total Professionalism Update, Metropolitan Police Service, 29 September 2014 (accessed 13 April 2015).
  2. See, for example, Metropolitan Police, Oganisational Structure, May 2013 (accessed 15 April 2015).
  3. Alaric Bonthron, Profile,, undated (accessed 14 April 2015).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 David Barrett, Top level' police corruption inquiries underway at Scotland Yard, The Telegraph, 1 July 2014 (accessed 13 April 2015).
  5. Alistair Morgan, "He's also leading the response to the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel", Twitter, 14 April 2015.
  6. Press Association, Cliff Richard raid: BBC put us in ‘very difficult position’, says police chief, The Guardian, 2 September 2014, (accessed 13 April 2015).
  7. 7.0 7.1 Martin Hewitt, Letter of 2 September 2014 to Rt. Hon. Keith Vaz, MP, published by the Home Affairs Committee (accessed 13 April 2015).
  8. William Turvill, BBC's Sir Cliff Richard 'leak' investigated by Met department that grabbed Sun phone records under RIPA, Press Gazette, 24 October 2014 (accessed 13 April 2015).
  9. ITN / AFP, [1] 'Gaps in understanding' over death of MI6 worker Gareth Williams, The Telegraph, 13 November 2013 (accessed 15 December 2015).
  10. Press Association, Met launches review after spy inquest,, 5 Februray 2012 (accessed 13 April 2015).
  11. Met Police Officer sacked for sharing extreme images on his mobile phone, The Enquirer, 13 June 2014 (accessed 14 April 2015).
  12. Lorraine King, Police officer jailed for Park Royal assault is sacked, 21 January 2015 (accessed 15 April 2015).
  13. Alan Hayes, Met Police officers were not tasked to spy on families like Ricky Reel's, says investigator, but intrusion did happen,, 24 July 2014 (accessed 14 April 2015).
  14. Tom Pettifor, Undercover Scotland Yard officers who spied on innocent families of victims face possible criminal prosecution, Daily Mirror, 24 July 2014 (accessed 13 April 2015).
  15. Press Association, Secret Met police unit held information on 18 campaigns for justice, The Guardian, 24 July 2014 (accessed 15 April 2015).
  16. 16.0 16.1 Martin Hewitt, Integrity in Policing July 2014 Update, Metropolitan Police Service (originally accessed 15 April 2015, no longer available at the Met's website; accessed 25 February 2016 via
  17. Metropolitan Police Service, 4 Days in August: Strategic review into the disorder of August 2011 - Final Report, March 2012 (accessed 15 April 2015).
  18. 18.0 18.1 Inquest into the death of Mark Duggan, Transcript of the Hearing 16 October 2013 (accessed 13 April 2015).
  19. Metropolitan Police Service, Gold Group: Phone Hacking: meeting of 17 September 2010, Leveson Inquiry (accessed 15 April 2015).
  20. Witness Statement of Paul Stephenson, Leveson Inqiury, 20 February 2012, accessed 28 June 2014.
  21. S.21 request to Martin Hewitt, National Archive (Leveson Inquiry), undated (accessed 20 April 2015).
  22. W/S of Martin Hewitt, National Archive (Leveson Inquiry), undated (accessed 20 April 2015).
  23. Bellincat, Mazher Mahmood: Just Like Phone Hacking, the Met Narrows the Investigation, 11 December 2014 (accessed 15 April 2015).
  24. Peter Jukes, Withering Heights Press Gang, 5 December 2014 (accessed 15 April 2015).
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 25.6 Royal United Services Institute, Fellows and Associates: Dep. Asst. Commissioner Martin Hewitt, undated, 13 April 2015.
  26. Police Federation, Twenty-eight police officers and staff recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, 16 June 2014 (accessed 13 April 2015).
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 National Police Chief's Council, Chair and Vice Chairs, undated (accessed 13 April 2015).
  28. He appears to have maintained contact with the Royal Artillery - see for example, Nicola Chambers, Planning the perfect robbery, The Gunner (the regimental magazine of the Royal Regiment of Artillery), December 2009 (accessed 15 April 2015).
  29. Fraud-fighting Latest, Professional Security (magazine, online), 2 July 2002 (accessed 14 April 2015).
  30. Police disperse disruptive youths, BBC News Online 27 November 2004 (accessed 13 April 2015).
  31. Lucy Brinicombe, Calling for action against the yobs, 17 February 2004 (accessed 13 April 2015).
  32. Appointed circa April 2003, and there in June 2005. See Toby Nation, Will new top cop make streets safe?, Dorset Echo, 8 April 2003 (accessed 15 April 2015), and No shortage of beat bobbies, MP told, KentOnline / Kent Messenger, 29 June 2005 (accessed 15 April 2015).
  33. Scottish Association for the Study of Offending, From Kilbrandon to McLeish and Beyond: 2020 Vision? 40th Anniversary Conference, 2009, (accessed 15 April 2015).
  34. HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, Metropolitan Police Service: Baseline Assessment, October 2006 (accessed 15 April 2015).
  35. AC Specialist Crime Directorate, MPS Drugs Strategy, Metropolitan Police Authority, 31 May 2007 (accessed 15 April 2015).
  36. Facebook policed by undercover officers, 24 April 2008 (accessed 15 April 2015).
  37. Metropolitan Police Authority, MPA appoints new Metropolitan Police Commanders, 5 May 2009 (accessed 15 April 2015).
  38. Metropolitan Police Service Organisational Chart, May 2013, (accessed 13 April 2015)
  39. Rape prevention work needed, says senior police officer, 'BBC News Online, 2 December 2013 (accessed 13 April 2015).
  40. Owen Bowcott, Rapists use social media to cover their tracks, police warned , The Guardian 28 Jan 2015 (accessed 13 April 2015).
  41. Home Affairs Committee, Fifth Report: E-Crime, 17 July 2013 (accessed 15 April 2015).
  42. 42.0 42.1 Metropolitan Police, Metropolitan Police Management Board Changes, 2 May 2014 (accessed 13 April 2015).