A UK Government plan to give an armed police force called the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) greater powers has raised “profound concerns” and been described as “deeply worrying”. The CNC is a specialist force tasked with protecting civil nuclear sites in Scotland, England and Wales and nuclear materials in transit both in the UK and internationally. Counter-terrorism is a major part of its policing and the force employs 1,500 police officers. The CNC guards nuclear sites at Torness, Hunterston and Dounreay in Scotland, among other places across the UK. It’s remit is set out in the Energy Act 2004 but the UK Government has just held a consultation seeking views on a plan to expand and diversify the force’s role. Anti-nuclear groups have voiced fears over the proposal, however, arguing that the CNC’s remit should be limited to civil nuclear sites. The Scottish Greens said that centralised control over an armed police force with new powers would be a “very concerning development”. The CNC said in reply it plays an “important national counter-terrorist role” and provides armed support to territorial police forces across the UK. David Mackenzie, assistant secretary at Scottish CND, said any extension of police powers “must be treated with suspicion and exacting scrutiny”. He added: “In Scotland we have already seen problems arising from the 2001 extension of the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence Police, which has led to difficulties around the policing of protest at the Faslane/Coulport nuclear weapon complex.
The Ferret 23rd Aug 2021 read more »