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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: 1996-ca. 2001/2002
Black & family justice campaigns

N81 (also referred to as HN81) is the code-name given to a Metropolitan police officer, who served undercover with the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) from 1996 to around 2001/2; his handler was Bob Lambert. He infiltrated a political group in London involved in the campaigns around the Stephen Lawrence murder. It has since emerged that the Lawrence family was not the only black justice campaign that was spied upon.

N81 came to public attention when he was mentioned in the 2014 Stephen Lawrence Independent Review - commonly known as the Ellison Review. Among other things, the Review looked into allegations of SDS undercover whistleblower Peter Francis who claimed to have been instructed to find information to smear the Lawrence family and those around them.

Undercover Research has set up a series of pages on N81 and the spying on the Stephen Lawrence campaign focusing, amongst other things a meeting between N81, Bob Lambert as his handler and also acting head of the SDS, and then DI Richard Walton. At the time of the meeting, August 1998, Walton was part of the Lawrence Review Team, a group of senior officers tasked with preparing Metropolitan Police Commissioner Paul Condon submissions to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.

Ellison was critical of the meeting, calling it 'wrong-headed' and noted that it could have sparked disorder if it had become publicly known. He also criticised Walton for retracting his detailed earlier statement once he knew he would be criticised. This and the public outcry over spying on the Lawrences, resulted in Walton being temporarily removed from his post and his conduct was referred to the Independent Police Complaint Commission (IPCC). He was reinstated on 1 December 2014. However, in May 2015 the IPCC announced that the investigation into Walton, Lambert and then-Commander Colin Black was continuing and being widened to include two more former officers involved in facilitating the secret meeting.

N.B. The profile of N81 is a work in progress. If you have material we may have missed please contact us, PGP available on request.

N81 and related pages

External sources