John Alexander Symonds

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Person.png John Alexander Symonds  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(spook, policeman)
John Symonds, Codename SKOT, The Romeo Spy, 1973

John Alexander Symonds (born July 13, 1935) is a British former Metropolitan police officer and KGB agent. He was born in the Soke of Peterborough, and served in the Royal Artillery from 1953-56. He joined the Metropolitan Police in 1956, becoming a Detective Sergeant at New Scotland Yard, until 1972 when he fled the UK while facing corruption charges.[1]

Between 1972-80 he was a KGB agent employed as a "Romeo spy" with the codename SKOT. The role he was allocated by his Soviet masters was the seduction of women working in Western embassies with the aim of obtaining secrets.[2]

In the 1980s Symonds had revealed himself as a spy to the police and security services, and appeared on the front page of the Daily Express (1985) and in the News on Sunday (1987) but was dismissed as "a fantasist".[1] It was only with the defection of Major Vasili Mitrokhin in 1992, and the subsequent publication of the Mitrokhin Archive in 1999, where Symonds was named as a spy for the Soviet Union, that his claim gained credence.

No Prosecution

Symonds was never prosecuted for any offence related to espionage or spying, and was never interviewed by MI5 or MI6. It was confirmed that Symonds was not being prosecuted for any charge because he had been offered immunity by the Director of Public Prosecutions office in 1984 in connection with a criminal inquiry.[3] [4] This was granted in relation to police corruption inquiries [5], stated by Symonds to be Operation Countryman.

The publication of Mitrokhin's material launched a parliamentary inquiry by the Intelligence and Security Committee. Its report when published referred to the lack of interest shown by the security services to Symonds case:-

The Committee believes that it was a serious failure of the Security Service not to refer Mr Symonds' case to the Law Officers in mid 1993. We are concerned that it took over 9 months to consult the Law Officers after he was identified in the draft book. We believe that the Service could have interviewed Mr Symonds, at least for the intelligence and historical record.[5]

Police Corruption

In 1969 after having been a police officer for 15 years John Alexander Symonds was one of three officers charged with corruption following a newspaper investigation into bribery at Scotland Yard. He skipped bail and fled to Morocco to - in his own words - prepare a detailed dossier to "put the record straight about corruption in the Metropolitan Police force". Symonds claimed that he had been 'fitted up' and forced to leave under pain of death after having threatened to expose during any trial "the endemic and systemic corruption within the Metropolitan Police service" at the time.[1]


In Morocco Symonds served as a mercenary, making use of his Police experience and Army expertise and trained African troops to use 25-pound gun Howitzers, which was by this point a defunct old British army gun many of which had been sold off to African countries.[1] It was at this point that Symonds had effectively been recruited by the KGB.[6]

'Romeo Spy' the movie

Symonds claims his first missionn for the KGB involved Gunter Guillaume, who at that time was a spy within the private office of West Germany's Chancellor Willy Brandt. [7].

Prodigy Pictures are in the pre-production stage of making a movie based on the autobiography of John Symonds.[8] A script has been completed and Daniel Craig and Jude Law are being considered to play the lead role.[9].

See also


A Document by John Alexander Symonds

TitleDocument typeSubject(s)
File:Romeo Spy.docautobiographyJohn Alexander Symonds


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
File:Romeo Spy.docautobiographyJohn Alexander Symonds


External links

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