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Lord Macdonald: Police have 'lost their moral compass'

The former Director of Public Prosecutions said police appeared to have "completely lost their moral compass" after a report emerged about officers using the IDs of dead children.

Lord Macdonald, who has called for a pubic inquiry, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme:

How are you supposed to maintain a level of fair and objective evidence-gathering if you are ... using a dead child's identity?

We don't know quite how these units were operating in days gone by. It looks as though they've effectively gone rogue.

What we really need is a public inquiry into undercover policing. This is a deeply ethical issue which the police have to grapple with.

– Lord Macdonald

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Officer: Using dead child's ID felt like 'stomping on grave'

A policeman who was given the identity of a dead four-year-old boy said he felt he was "stomping on the grave" of the child.

The officer adopted the fake persona of Pete Black while undercover in anti-racist groups, the Guardian reported.

He told the paper: "A part of me was thinking about how I would feel if someone was taking the names and details of my dead son for something like this."

Another officer, who used the identity of a child car crash victim, said he was conscious the parents would "still be grief-stricken" but argued his actions were for the "greater good".

Both officers worked for the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), which was apparently disbanded in 2008.

Police: Complaint over children's IDs 'being investigated'

Scotland Yard has confirmed that a complaint has been received over reports that the Metropolitan Police gave the IDs of dead children to undercover officers infiltrating protest groups:

A formal complaint has been received which is being investigated by the DPS (Directorate for Professional Standards) and we appreciate the concerns that have been raised.

The DPS inquiry is taking place in conjunction with Operation Herne's investigation into the wider issue of past arrangements for undercover identities used by SDS officers.

We can confirm that the practice referred to in the complaint is not something that would currently be authorised in the Metropolitan Police Service.

– Metropolitan Police statement

Police 'used IDs of dead children' for covert operations

The Metropolitan Police last night said the practice is not "currently" authorised Credit: PA

Undercover police officers working for Britain's largest force used the identities of dead children and issued fake passports in their names, reports the Guardian.

The Metropolitan Police authorised the practice for covert officers infiltrating protest groups without consulting or informing the children's parents, the newspaper said.

Over three decades, generations of officers reportedly went through national birth and death records in search of suitable matches.

Officers were then given aliases and issued with official documents such as driving licences and national insurance numbers.

Last night, Scotland Yard said the practice was not "currently" authorised.

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Met police investigate undercover identities

A formal complaint has been received which is being investigated by the DPS (Directorate for Professional Standards) and we appreciate the concerns that have been raised.

The DPS inquiry is taking place in conjunction with Operation Herne's investigation into the wider issue of past arrangements for undercover identities used by SDS officers.

We can confirm that the practice referred to in the complaint is not something that would currently be authorised in the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service).

– A Scotland Yard spokesman

Police stole children's ID 'for the greater good'

  • The practice of using the identities of dead children was allegedly adopted to lend credibility to officers working undercover.
  • One officer told the Guardian he felt he was "stomping on the grave" of the four-year-old boy whose identity he used.
  • Another officer said he was conscious the parents would "still be grief-stricken" but argued his actions could be justified because they were for the "greater good".
  • Both officers worked for the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), which was apparently disbanded in 2008.
  • A document seen by the newspaper indicated around 80 officers used such identities between 1968 and 1994, it was reported.
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