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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Cumbria police will cover Sellafield site

Cumbria police are to cover Sellafield after the nuclear force on site was tasked with anti-terrorism issues only.

David Moore photo
David Moore

A spokesman for Sellafield said the move formalised what had already been the situation at the plant and was not in response to any increase in anti-terrorism issues.

He said Cumbria police had always been the organisation called on to deal with general policing issues and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary’s (CNC) main task was the protection of materials on site.

“That has always been the main part of their role and it will become their primary focus,” he said.

“In the past, if a ‘normal’ policing incident occurred on site, Cumbria police would be the organisation brought in to deal with it.”

An agreement was drawn up in the past couple of weeks between Cumbria Constabulary, Sellafield and the CNC.

The nuclear constabulary will now deal solely with anti-terrorism issues and the separate guard force will be in charge of checking staff passes.

Although no officers will be based at Sellafield, there are concerns the move will put a strain on Cumbria Constabulary’s resources, which have already been forced to make cutbacks.

David Moore, chairman of the emergency planning sub-committee of the West Cumbria Site Stakeholder Group, said it was going to stretch the Cumbria force.

“They will have the responsibility of investigating criminal and HSE issues, which the nuclear constabulary currently deal with,” he said.

“I would suggest that they are finding it difficult with the workload now and the workload is just going to increase.

“At Sellafield there are around 15,000 on site, which is like adding another town into the area for the police to cover.

“It’s right and proper that support is provided for the police for this to happen.

“As a community we don’t want to find our services dwindling because of the changes.”

Chief Superintendent Steve Johnson, of Cumbria Constabulary, said: “At this time constabulary police officers will only attend Sellafield site when there has been a call for service and it is considered necessary to send a police officer.”

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