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Greater powers to be given to UK’s armed Civil Nuclear Constabulary – a threat to peaceful protest?

UK Government plan to give armed nuclear police more powers raises ‘profound concerns The Ferret,Billy Briggs
August 23, 2021

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”…………..

Those responding to the consultation included the UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) which submitted a joint response with anti-nuclear groups – Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group, Together Against Sizewell C, CADNO, People Against Wylfa B, Stop Hinkley and Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates.

The NFLA argued that the CNC’s powers should be “limited to civil nuclear sites, as its title implies”. Any expansion to other roles and duties for the CNC, they argued, would “represent an expansion of nuclear police at expense of the civil police force”

Councillor David Blackburn
, NFLA steering committee chair, said: “NFLA has joined with these six other campaigning groups to raise its profound concerns that an expansion of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and an increase in its powers is moving it in the wrong direction. What is required rather is concerted efforts to reduce the risks of the UK’s nuclear legacy and to avoid developing new nuclear reactor sites.”

He argued that by making nuclear sites safer “there will become less of a need for an armed police force”.

“The concerning wider push for new laws which could reduce peaceful protest also greatly concerns us,” Blackburn said. “The proposals in this consultation move the CNC further into being an extensively armed police force, when we should instead be looking at ways to have a democratically controlled and accountable police force protecting the public in a measured way.”………

August 24, 2021 - Posted by | civil liberties, safety, UK

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