The cop above is Ian Caswell, known to many of us as 1818 of South Yorkshire police – many thanks to those who have sent us his name! He is often seen in the company of PS Mark Sully, pictured here at the top of this post.
These two are regularly seen with their cameras at demonstrations, meetings and gatherings. They have been photographed at protests against Heckler and Koch in Nottingham, at No Borders demonstrations at Crawley, at Climate Camp in Kingsnorth, at Smash EDO in Brighton, and many more. They do not seem limited to one geographical area, but tirelessly travel up and down the country in search of protesters to photograph.
It is this aspect of their role that has led FITwatch to speculate that these two officers work for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). This is a sister organisation to NETCU, which many of the readers of this blog will be aware of. These organisations are run as private companies under the management of ACPO, who spend at least £2m a year on them. Their role is to provide intelligence (NPOIU), support the interests of business (NETCU) and manage prosecutions (NDET – National Domestic Extremism Team).
The recent report on the policing of Climate Camp by South Yorkshire police provides evidence that we were correct. A debrief report, containing comments from individual officers, makes frequent mention of the role of NPOIU at the Camp in managing FIT teams and surveillance in general – both overt and covert. It also contains one comment commending PS Sully in particular for his role as the FIT’s NPOIU manager.
The NPOIU collects and collates huge amounts of data. Despite being a private company it has access to police databases. This information is presumably made available to NETCU. How much information they deem appropriate to pass on to the private sector businesses they support (EDO, Heckler and Koch etc) is anyone’s guess.
Carswell and Sully are, then, in a strange position. They are serving police officers, apparently working for a private company. It is not clear whether they are contracted to the NPOIU, or are working on secondment. FITwatchers who find themselves standing in the way of their cameras may want to speculate as to whether there is a criminal offence of obstructing a police officer who isn’t really a police officer….