London, Feb 4 (IANS) Undercover police officials in Britain used the identities of 80 dead children to get fake passports and driving licences so that they had a credible back-up story while spying under fake names, a media report said.
The Metropolitan Police authorised the practice for covert officers infiltrating protest groups, the Daily Express reported.
However, police did not consult or inform the dead children's parents, the report said.
In some cases, police officers spent up to 10 years in the same guise.
One official, John Dines, took the identity of an eight-year-old boy named John Barker, who died in 1968 from leukaemia.
The report said police officers, between 1968 and 1994, allegedly went through national birth and death records in search of suitable matches.
The practice, it is claimed, was adopted to lend credibility to officers working undercover, providing them with a back-up story while spying.
The creation of aliases meant officers could get driving licences and national insurance numbers.
Scotland Yard has now said the practice was not "currently" authorised.
It also announced an investigation into "undercover identities used by Special Demonstration Squad officers". The squad was disbanded in 2008.