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AN INQUIRY into undercover policing will not release either the real name or the alias of an officer accused of spying on the friends and family of Stephen Lawrence.
Inquiry chairman Sir John Mitting announced yesterday that he will publish the “cover names” of five officers in the new year. These include one officer, known as HN81, who was key to the Met’s infiltration of the murdered teenager’s family’s campaign for justice.
The real names of the five will remain withheld.
But Mr Mitting has ruled that another officer alleged to have been involved in the operation, HN123, should have both his real name and his cover name protected.
The family were targeted alongside a range of social justice campaigns, environmental groups and trade unions by deep cover officers from elite squads.
A number of officers deceived women activists into long-term relationships. Police have also been accused of passing information on construction workers to a blacklisting organisation.
Mr Mitting wrote in his ruling that “the balance of that information suggests that the part which [HN123] may have played in activities connected with the Stephen Lawrence campaign was peripheral.”
But he notes that another former officer, the whistleblower Peter Francis “suggests otherwise.”
HN123 is said to have retired from the police after being “diagnosed as suffering from significant mental health conditions resulting, at least in part, from the effects of his deployment.”
He has refused to co-operate with the Metropolitan Police’s risk assessors, who are testing the impact that revealing officers’ identities will have on their health.
But Mr Mitting said he accepted that statements from HN123 and his wife were “genuine and not irrational.”
He said overriding these statements would “interfere with their right to respect for private and family life” under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Met admitted only this week that the deception of activist Kate Wilson into a relationship breached the convention, including article three, which governs torture.
Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith, who is a “core participant” in the public inquiry, said: “Words fucking fail me. The police have now admitted that their tactics against women activists broke laws on torture but still demand the right to give evidence in secret in case it breaches their human rights.”
Mr Mitting rejected calls from targeted activists to publish the real names of other officers, including HN81. A closed inquiry hearing will consider two further cases.
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