Exclusive, 02 October 2012
The secretive police unit that infamously employed Mark Kennedy to infiltrate environmental protest groups has been trying to neuter anti-nuclear campaigners.
The National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) has been gathering intelligence on activists to “manage the risk” they pose to government plans to build new nuclear power stations.
The unit masterminded Kennedy’s seven-year double life as an undercover police officer posing as an environmental activist. His unmasking in 2011 led to the collapse of a court case against demonstrators he had infiltrated, and a raft of official inquiries.
Now a document released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change reveals that the NPOIU briefed a meeting about “activism and nuclear new build” in Whitehall in June 2011. Present were government officials, three nuclear companies – EDF Energy, Horizon and NuGeneration – and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, a specialist force for guarding nuclear power sites.
Police officers from three areas where new nuclear stations are planned were also involved – Avon and Somerset (Hinkley Point), Suffolk (Sizewell) and North Wales (Wylfa). The purpose of the meeting was “to obtain an agreed understanding of the available intelligence on the risk to the new build programme from environmental activism.”
Those present hoped “to identify any potential gaps in arrangements for managing the risk of direct action or protests at new build sites”. NPOIU’s presentation gave an “overview of the current situation and nature of the threat”.
NPOIU’s presentation has not been released so its conclusions are not known. There have been two protests at Hinkley Point in the last year involving hundreds of people, and a “mass trespass” is planned there on 8 October. There was also a demonstration at Wylfa in January 2012.
The document was obtained by the government monitoring group, Spinwatch, in response to a request under freedom of information legislation. The group’s Eveline Lubbers, who has written a book on corporate and police spying on activists, argued that the boundaries between public and private intelligence gathering were being increasingly blurred.
“NPOIU was set up to sell data on possible threats to clients such as energy companies building power plants, and airline companies involved in the expansion of airports,” she said.