A statement from a police spy is already a contender for the most ridiculous thing you’ll read in 2018

Support us and go ad-free

A former undercover police officer has applied [pdf] for anonymity in the Undercover Policing Inquiry. The officer concerned infiltrated a Maoist faction of the Women’s Liberation Front in the 1970s. Although written in 2017, the statement has only recently been publicised. And the reasons given for claiming anonymity are already a contender for the most ridiculous thing you’ll read in 2018.

The inquiry

The inquiry was set up in 2015 to investigate police infiltration of protest groups. Since 1968, the police have spied on at least 1,000 groups using at least 144 undercover officers. Undercover officers have formed sexual and intimate relationships with those they targeted, given evidence under false names, committed criminal acts, and stolen the identities of children who died when they were young.

The police have frustrated the targets of police spying every step of the way – refusing to confirm or deny whether a person is an undercover officer even when there is overwhelming proof. And the inquiry has been bogged down in anonymity applications since it began.


One such application [pdf] is from an officer known as HN348. The anonymity application is for her real name because she can’t “remember” what name she used when she was undercover. But her main reason for wanting anonymity appears to concern one particular woman in the group she infiltrated. HN348 states [pdf]:

I would be embarrassed about her finding out about me being an undercover officer.

She claims that [pdf]:

It makes my heart sink to think about my colleagues… knowing about my work… they would probably find it unbelievable that I was involved in this work as they don’t even know that I was a police officer.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

She further cites a threat [pdf] from “anti-police groups” that even the police’s risk assessment didn’t conclude was a problem. And then cites an “intrusive media” as another reason for her concerns.


HN348 also doesn’t think she could explain [pdf] her former actions to her friends and colleagues:

Whilst I think my close friends would understand, I am worried that my reputation amongst my wider group of associates would be tainted.

The real victims

HN348 appears to forget that the real victims are the people who’ve had their lives and privacy intruded on by undercover police officers. She may never have thought that a year’s deployment in the 70s would be something she’d ever have to talk about. But ’embarrassment’ is not a good enough reason to claim anonymity.

Unless the names of undercover police officers are released, the victims of police spying do not have any chance of gaining justice. Those targeted by HN348 may not even know they were spied on by an undercover police officer. The same applies for the majority of those targeted by the 144 known undercover officers.

The police and their lawyers need to stop blocking access to justice. And former police officers need to stop clutching at straws to justify why they shouldn’t be named. It is a total insult to those of us who have been the targets of police spying.

The author is a core participant in the Undercover Policing Inquiry.

Get Involved!

– The Undercover Policing Inquiry is currently refusing to fund reasonable expenses for those involved. This means many people are being denied access to justice. Please support our CrowdJustice appeal to cover these costs.

Featured image via Mae Benedict

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed