Undercover police officers working for Britain’s largest force used the identities of dead children and issued fake passports in their names, it has been reported.
The Metropolitan Police authorised the practice for covert officers infiltrating protest groups, without consulting or informing the children’s parents, according to reports.
It is claimed that, over three decades, generations of officers went through national birth and death records in search of suitable matches.
The creation of aliases resulted in officers being issued with official documents such as driving licences and national insurance numbers. Scotland Yard last night said the practice was not “currently” authorised. It also announced an investigation into “past arrangements for undercover identities used by SDS (special demonstration squad) officers”.
The practice was allegedly adopted to lend credibility to officers working undercover and provide them with a back story while spying.
One officer, who adopted the fake persona of Pete Black while undercover in anti-racist groups, is quoted as saying he felt he was “stomping on the grave” of the four-year-old boy whose identity he used.
“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,” he said.
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 could be justified because they were for the “greater good”.
Both officers worked for the SDS, which was apparently disbanded in 2008. It is claimed that about 80 officers used such identities between 1968 and 1994.