Undercover Police Still Employed by the Metropolitan Police Service (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
December 9, 2014
Question By: 
Jenny Jones
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London) & Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis)


I want you to fast forward, OK, because Theresa May [MP, Home Secretary] has promised an inquiry, a judge-led inquiry, into undercover police officers, and supposing it happens in two, three, four years’ time, and you are called as ex-Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for London to give evidence, are you going to be able to give the evidence that they want to hear?  For example, will you be able to tell them how many of the four officers that were looked at by the Herne Inquiry [Operation Herne – MPS internal review into use of undercover policing by the MPS Special Demonstration Squad] were still employed by the MPS under your supervision?


Answer for Undercover Police Still Employed by the Metropolitan Police Service (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Undercover Police Still Employed by the Metropolitan Police Service (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London) & Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis)

I see no reason why I should not be able to give that information if that is the information that would be required in that hypothetical circumstance.


Jenny Jones AM:  OK, and will you be able to tell the public inquiry how many of the officers still employed faced sanctions for their behaviour?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You are talking about some sort of imaginary future here as I understand it.


Jenny Jones AM:  Well, not really.  I am imagining at some point the judge-led inquiry might happen and, if it does, you will be asked to give evidence.  You see, what I want you to say is that you are seeking assurances that, if officers have gone against what the Commissioner, what you have said in fact, I mean I can quote you both, you know, you have said, “Sexual relationships should not occur on any undercover deployment”.  Now they clearly did, and some of these officers are probably still employed.  Are you going -- have you sought assurances from the MPS that these officers are not engaged in further undercover operations?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, no.  Look, I think the assurances I have sought is that the officers concerned have not been engaged in any unethical or unprofessional behaviour and I think that is what we are talking about.


Jenny Jones AM:  What I am trying to get at is that you have these rules, I understand, that officers should not engage in sex with targets when they are undercover, there are these rules, and yet none of the officers has actually been sanctioned.  What is the point of having rules if there is no punishment if you break them?  I mean that is the whole concept of policing surely that you catch people who break the rules, and yet police officers seem to be exempt from this.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I think, when you speak of these rules, I am sure that, insofar as they exist, they have been properly upheld.  I mean I would be very surprised if there were officers who remained employed as undercover officers who have been found to have behaved unethically or not in accordance with the rules.


Jenny Jones AM:  Are you seeking assurances from the MPS that no undercover officers are currently permitted to engage in sexual relationships with their targets?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  The Commissioner has been very clear that that is not permitted, an undercover officer and a member of the public must not and should not engage in sexual contact.


Jenny Jones AM:  However, do you take my point that, if there is no sanctions for such behaviour, there is nothing to stop people doing it, is there?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  As I say, to the best of my knowledge, and obviously I will take steps to satisfy myself further on this point, to the best of my knowledge there is nobody employed as an undercover officer who is guilty of unethical behaviour or who has been convicted of unethical behaviour.  Now, I would imagine there are many different interpretations of what may or may not have taken place between these officers and members of the public, however as far as I understand the matter there is --


Jenny Jones AM:  Well there must have been sex in some cases because there are children.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  – there is no suggestion that any of them still employed as undercover officers have been engaged in disreputable or unethical behaviour.


Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  Chairman, may I just try and help?  First of all, in terms of the allegations, and if you remember then Operation Herne is led by the Chief Constable of Derbyshire, Mick Creedon, so he is investigating these allegations about sexual contact.  Some of the people who the allegations are against have left the MPS, however some do remain with us.  When those investigations are concluded, which are overseen by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), then the conclusion will be reached about whether they should be criminally charged or there should be levels of misconduct.  You have probably seen in the press that there were four officers where the CPS decided there would be no criminal charges recently, but misconduct charges are still being considered.  Therefore that process will work its way through.


Can I just complete this, Chairman, and then I will take questions of course?


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Yes.


Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  The second point --


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  The Green group are out of time, therefore we will not be able to put supplementary questions.


Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  This is the vital point, which is that no officers that are subject to allegations of crime or misconduct in relation to these investigations are still employed in undercover roles.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Which is what I said.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  All right, thank you.


Jenny Jones AM:  Well, sort of.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes.


Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  I was only trying to help in terms of clarity, because this is an operational thing, for which I think I am properly responsible, and I am only trying to provide information, which I thought may help.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Commissioner, I think that is a useful assurance, and if you have anything to add to that then please do write to us about it.


Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  I want to come back to the point we both made, which is that we have a policy that says this should not happen and, if it should happen, then we will take it seriously and investigate it properly, which I think is what we can show.