The Guardian onthulde deze week dat de Metropolitan Police dertig jaar lang op deze manier minstens tachtig geheime agenten aan een undercover identiteit heeft geholpen.
Britain's largest police force stole the identities of an estimated 80 dead children and issued fake passports in their names for use by undercover police officers.Een van de geheim agenten beschrijft gedetailleerd hoe het "uitzoeken" van een identiteit in zijn werk ging:
The Metropolitan police secretly authorised the practice for covert officers infiltrating protest groups without consulting or informing the children's parents.
The details are revealed in an investigation by the Guardian, which has established how over three decades generations of police officers trawled through national birth and death records in search of suitable matches.
Undercover officers created aliases based on the details of the dead children and were issued with accompanying identity records such as driving licences and national insurance numbers. Some of the police officers spent up to 10 years pretending to be people who had died.
The undercover officer who posed as Pete Black was preparing for his deployment when he visited the national registry of births, marriages and deaths.En The Guardian sprak ook met een ex-vriendin van een van de geheim agenten die er langzaam maar zeker achter komt dat haar verdwenen vriendje niet is wie hij zei dat hij was. Zij is zelfs op zoek gegaan naar zijn "geboortecertificaat" en langs gegaan bij zijn "geboortehuis".
He trawled through the archive in search of a dead child whose identity he could steal. Black recalls the "real moment of discomfort" when his eyes alighted on the records of the appropriate match. It was a boy who had died aged four. Black's son was a similar age. He was left wondering how he would feel if the identity of his child was used without his permission by a covert operative working for the police.
"You are looking for someone of a similar age to you who died, starting at age three or four and up to age 14 or 15," Black said. "Surnames always have to be general. You don't want something which is going to stand out too much or be too memorable, like Aardvark. You don't want to draw any unnecessary attention to yourself. Green and Black are good. But you don't want something like Smith. No matter what your first name is, that surname will always sound fake."
Black spent the summer of 1993 combing through the archives and encountered a number of boys named Pete who had died at the correct age but for one reason or another did not fit. The child he settled on was the ideal match. He had a "totally English" surname and had died overseas in the 1960s while his father was on a foreign posting with the Royal Marines.
Looking back, she wonders what would have occurred if the dead child's parents had opened the door. "It would have been horrendous," she said. "It would have completely freaked them out to have someone asking after a child who died 24 years earlier."De autoriteiten stellen dat deze praktijk ergens midden jaren negentig is gestopt. De krant geeft als vermoedelijke oorzaak daarvoor de digitalisering van de geboorte- en overlijdensregisters. Hierdoor werd het blijkbaar een stuk moeilijker om identiteiten op deze manier over te nemen.
It was another 18 months before Clare decided to inspect the national death records. "I just suddenly got this instinct. It was a whim: I thought, I'm going to go in there and look through the death records."
She recalls her horror when she discovered the real John Barker was dead. "It sent a chill down my spine," she said. "When I got the certificate itself, it was so clear. The same person. The same parents. The same address. But he had died as an eight-year-old boy."
O ja, nog een detail.
Binnen de politie werd het overnemen van de identiteit van een gestorven kind "the jackal run" genoemd, naar het boek The day of the jackal van Frederick Forsyth uit 1971. Aangezien de krant heeft achterhaald dat de politie al in 1968 op deze manier identiteiten creëerde, zal Forsyth het wel niet verzonnen hebben.
De kanoman voer naar Panama
Identiteitsdiefstal in de 19e eeuw
Plaatje: Ian Baker via CartoonStock