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Blog: Gary Thwaite

Progressing Issues That Matter To Members: Blog From Civil Nuclear Police Federation Chief Executive Gary Thwaite

A NEW LOOK POLICE FORCE?

Last year the Civil Nuclear Police Authority produced a bold new Corporate Strategy for the CNC. It was warmly welcomed by the Federation as it offered a vision of a revitalised CNC enjoying a wider policing remit in terms of police presence, a lift to our profile among the public and greater opportunity to work alongside other UK police services.

The Strategy was prompted by the knowledge that the civil nuclear industry is changing through the retirement of several existing generators and the likely introduction of new smaller type reactors. The terrorism risk was also evolving and if the CNC wanted to remain operationally central to the security of the industry it needed to adapt to the new circumstances.

To its credit the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy readily understood the need for change and has now completed consultation with stakeholders in the civil nuclear sector, ranging from nuclear energy companies to law enforcement agencies and the public. The consultation should, hopefully, result in BEIS proposing the necessary Parliamentary legislation to give effect to its recommendations.

Unsurprisingly in our submission we have again welcomed the plans. We share the view of the Police Authority and the CNC Management team that significant changes are needed to our currently restrictive and outdated remit. This will ensure the CNC remains viable by being allowed to adapt seamlessly to a new future in which the CNC could provide policing based security for major non-nuclear UK infrastructure. The focus of the CNC will remain, of course, on its mission and core role to protect Civil Nuclear assets and will not be jeopardised with proper safeguards put in place.

The current uncertainties around the future of the nuclear industry are mirrored by officers feeling anxious about their careers. And it must be acknowledged that although the vast majority of our officers are highly skilled AFOs they would also welcome job enrichment through more varied deployments and wider public engagement. Our submission also highlights the benefits of retaining wider policing experience and skillsets by developing our unarmed policing roles. I would also add that satisfactory resolution of the current interdepartmental discussions around the Normal Pension Age of 60 being retained (or compensated for) would most certainly encourage our members to see the CNC as a long-term career.

In short, the CNC is a national police asset capable of a superior role more widely benefitting the UK policing need. But, due to expected fluctuations in demand within the nuclear industry, failure to introduce the proposed changes could eventually undermine the CNC through inefficiencies, creating uncertainty for our members. Implementing the ambitious plans for our role will bring benefit to the CNC, the Government and to the wider policing service which will gain access to a peerless, professional resource. And for our members, we would value working in a new look progressive Force, much enriched by the content of the job and by the welcome challenge of additional duties and varied deployments in a secure career. The Federation looks forward to the results of the consultation.

As always, thanks for all you do and stay safe.

Gary

Gary Thwaite
Chief Executive, Civil Nuclear Police Federation