[Diggers350] National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). and ACPO

Paul Mobbs mobbsey at gn.apc.org
Mon Jan 17 08:39:36 GMT 2011

On Sunday, January 16, 2011 09:47:37 pm Tony Gosling wrote:
> 1. What is the legal basis for NPOIU?
> 2. What is the democratic basis for NPOIU?

None. Liberty have a legal argument that ACPO is technically unlawful because 
it violates the chain of command within the police service -- but no Home 
Secretary has dared to interfere.

What you have to understand is that a lot of the right-wing apperachiks from 
the 1980s -- the Economic League etc. -- have effectively collapsed. At the 
same time the old-fashioned "special branch", quietly doing the bidding of 
MI5, has also ceased to exist since the operation of the police and security 
services were put of a formal legal footing with the Police and Security 
Services Acts in the 1990s. That void has effectively been filled today by ACPO 
because it not only provides an infrastructure, but it's also making political 
decisions about who is "good" and "bad", and developing the systems to monitor 
them, separate from the the Home Secretary. Of course, that's ideal for the 
Home Secretary because if anything really went wrong they could argue that it 
wasn't their idea!

What ACPO does is to act as a body between the police and the "security 
industry" (in its widest sense, from 'door staff' to private protection), 
acting as both an intelligence liaison through it's 'Terrorism and Allied 
Matters' committee, and the commercial security and security products industry 
through it's commercial operations. It also performs a function as an 
employment agency for ex-senior policemen, all of whom seem to get lucrative 
consulting contracts in the private sector when they take early retirement.

> 3. Who can buy data from the Police National Computer and what range
> of data is available for purchase?

Nobody -- officially -- although for years it's been widely known that bent 
coppers with access to the PNC sold data.

However, the PNC insn't the issue here -- intelligence data isn't attached to 
the PNC for security reasons (that is, bent coppers sell it). The databases 
maintained by NPOIU/NETCU/WECTU are separate from the PNC, although senior 
police officers have access to them through the services provided by ACPO. 
Howver, because it sits between the security industry and the state, ACPO will 
also be liaising with the security operations of large corporations and will 
undoubtedly share information with them.

> 4. Does the data on the Police National Computer come under the Data
> Protection Act?

Yes and no -- yes it does, but no because of the various 'security' clauses of 
the FOI/daya protection Acts.

> 5. What is ACPO's status and is it a trade union?

No, it's an association of chief police officers who, allegedly, are there to 
represent the best interests of policing in the UK. Note that there's also the 
Police Superintendent's Association, for those who aspire to be in ACPO ;-)

The trade union for the police is the Police Federation, and that works on 
real trades union types of stuff -- in contrast ACPO is a semi-commercial 
structure that emerged from the security agenda of the 1980s/1990s.

> 6. Who receives the proceeds from sale of this data?

It pays for ACPO's operations -- although these are heavily subsidised from 
the public purse because serving police officers, paid by the state, do the day-
to-day work for ACPO's various policing committees.

> 7. Doesn't the idea of a police unit being a limited company that can
> sell data obtained at taxpayer expense (presumably) come under the
> definition of fascism?

If you look at the dictionary, a 'facist' is someone of right-wing and 
authoritarian views...  now, what does ACPO do again? ;-)

You really should read the report I wrote for electrohippies as this covers 
the whole issue:


NETCU, WECTU and NPOIU: Britain's Secretive Police Force --
Politicising the Policing of Public Expression
in an Era of Economic Change

April 2009.

Needless to say, nearly two years on from compiling that report, and having 
some interesting arguments at some of the activists forums where I presented 
it, I've got a bit of an "I told you so" sensation -- either that or deja vu 
all over again.

If environmental activists really want to be effective then they have to 
dramatically tighten-up their operations. This isn't a game; this is politics 
-- and politics is a dishonorable and dirty business. I'm from the generation 
that learnt its "tradecraft" from the anti-nuclear protests and the miner's 
strike in the 1980s, and the experience of that generation informed the roads 
movement in the early 1990s. The difficulty is that in the interim, before the 
climate movement picked up in the late '00s, there seems to have been a bit of 
an interregugnum, followed by a lot of 'wheel reinvention'.

SO, I'm offering to help co-ordinate, who else wants to help organise some 
"activists tradecraft" workshops? (I used to do these in the late 80s/early 
90s, but I've had no interest from people in doing them since then). Later in 
the summer of 2011?




"We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government,
nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with
God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
(Edward Burrough, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')

Paul's book, "Energy Beyond Oil", is out now!
For details see http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/ebo/

Read my 'essay' weblog, "Ecolonomics", at:

Paul Mobbs, Mobbs' Environmental Investigations
3 Grosvenor Road, Banbury OX16 5HN, England
tel./fax (+44/0)1295 261864
email - mobbsey at gn.apc.org
website - http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/index.shtml
public key - http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/mobbsey-2011.asc

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