Dónal O’Driscoll, Undercover Research Group, 7 November 2018

In 2009, police targeted climate change protestors who were targeting the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. At the heart of the organisation for this audacious plan was an undercover officer from the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), Mark Kennedy. In what was dubbed Operation Aeroscope by Nottinghamshire Police, 114 people were arrested, including Kennedy on 13 April 2009. Kennedy was exposed separately in 2010, but during one of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar trials in January 2011, the campaigners threatened to summon him as a witness.

This triggered the collapse of the case and the exposure of one of the largest miscarriages of justice cases in UK legal history. As it brought the ‘spycop’ scandal to public attention, it also triggered a considerable number of public and internal investigations into what went wrong. This has shed considerable and rare light on undercover policing in action. This can now be augmented by disclosure of material relating to the deployment of Mark Kennedy by the NPOIU, including intelligence reports.

In this article, we place this material side by side for the first time and conduct a re-examination. In light of this, a number of key deficiencies in the official reports have been identified on one hand, while on the other, greater understanding of how the NPOIU interacted with mainstream policing, and with it, how miscarriages of justice emerged from the policy decisions put in place. The role of the Crown Prosecution Service is also further, partially illuminated.

See also:

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Timeline of events
3. Summaries
3.1 Who knew what in Nottinghamshire Police
3.2 The NPOIU in mainstream policing and miscarriages of justice
3.3 The Crown Prosecution Service and the role of Nick Paul
4. Analysis of source materials
4.1 Operation Pegasus and the intelligence route
4.2 Nottinghamshire Police structure
4.3 Operation Aeroscope
4.3.1 Planning and authorisation
4.3.2 The ‘Gold’ level meetings
4.3.3 Weekend of the arrests
4.3.4 Post-arrest operation
4.3.5 Inclusion of the Crown Prosecution Service
4.4 Kennedy’s account
4.5 Exposure of Kennedy and trial collapse
5. Aftermath
6. Appendices
6.1 Reviews and reports
6.1.1 Notes on the Rose Report
6.1.2 Notes on the IPCC Report
6.2 Who’s Who
6.2.1 Nottinghamshire Police
6.2.2 NPOIU & National Domestic Extremism Unit
6.2.3 Lawyers
6.3 Statements of Mike Schwarz

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