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Cover names of officers to be released to public

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Mr Justice Mitting says witnesses need to know who was working covertly for police to give evidence to inquiry.

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One of the officers infiltrated the campaign for justice for Stephen Lawrence

The cover names of at least two special operations or special demonstrations squad officers are to be made public.

The Undercover Policing Inquiry, now chaired by Sir John Mitting, will release the assumed identities of two officers – despite acknowledging this will increase risks to them.

One of the two apparently infiltrated the campaign for justice in the wake of Stephen Lawrence's murder in 1993, the other is someone who may have had sex while undercover.

A statement from Sir John, referring to the individuals with coded references, says: "The Inquiry cannot fulfil its terms of reference on a critical issue – the alleged infiltration of the Lawrence family campaign and the intelligence gathered and reported upon it by undercover police officers, in particular HN81– unless the cover name is published.

"It is essential that members of the group against which HN81 was deployed and others in the Lawrence family campaign should be able to give evidence about HN81’s actions.

"They cannot sensibly be expected to do so unless they know who HN81 was in the name by which HN81 was known to them."

He adds that it is likely that the move will have an adverse impact on the individual's mental health but says the public interest outweighs HN81's rights.

Elsewhere he says: "Publication of the cover name of HN16 is necessary to afford an opportunity to any individual who may have had an intimate relationship with HN16 under the cover name to provide information and evidence about it to the Inquiry.

"This involves a small risk of significant interference with the right to respect for private and family life of HN16, if it leads to the revelation of the real name of HN16."

Another officer's cover name is to be released, the judge says, if the Met does not submit an application to stop this. 

No details have been given yet about what the officer, referred to as HN330, did while undercover.

Sir John Mitting has taken over the inquiry from Sir Christopher Pitchford who stood down in June.

Last year, it was determined that there would be no automatic anonymity for those who had worked covertly in the past and that applications for secrecy would be decided on a case-by-case basis.

View on Police Oracle

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