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UK: New nuclear police force

story from NENIG (Northern European Nuclear Information Group): NENIG

"The UK Government this week announced a major shake-up in security in the nuclear industry. The responsibility for policing of civil nuclear sites is to be taken away from the UK Atomic Energy Authority and a new Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) formed under the ultimate control of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

The new force is to get new powers - on top of the extended powers given to the UKAEA Constabulary following the 11th September attacks. As well as being able to make arrests at non-nuclear locations such as sea ports, airports and railway stations, the armed nuclear police can patrol and stop and search individuals and vehicles up to three miles from nuclear sites.

The new CNC may also have 'civilian support officers' who will have the power to stop and search both inside and outside nuclear sites - although it is unclear at present how far outside the site these civilians will be able to exercise their special powers. The Government statement says: 'Consideration is also being given to including provision for a new category of civilian support officer to undertake searches of people and vehicles in or just outside the sites the AEAC protects. The purpose would be to free police manpower for more demanding tasks. Such staff would be specially trained, exercise limited and specified powers, and operate under the Chief Constable's control. This provision would be included only if Parliament has previously accorded comparable powers to other police forces.'

The new CNC will work much like the existing transport and Ministry of Defence police forces - the later force being responsible for military nuclear sites. A chief constable will be appointed by the Secretary of State along with members of the police authority. Apparently the police authority will 'occasionally' meet in public. The new force is expected to have up to 600 members."

Details are

Filed 8.7.02

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