Mark Kennedy: 'No misconduct by Nottinghamshire Police'

A report into the collapsed prosecution of six protesters accused of trying to close a power station has cleared Nottinghamshire Police of misconduct.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said evidence from undercover officer Mark Kennedy had not been properly shared or recorded.

But these "collective failings" in the prosecution case of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar protesters were not misconduct.

The IPCC also found CPS lawyers signed off reports without reading them.

In 2009, Nottinghamshire Police arrested more than 100 people from a group that Mr Kennedy had infiltrated.

Twenty of them were convicted in December 2010 of plotting to shut down the coal-powered Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station near Nottingham.

'Not well handled'

But a second proposed trial of six more protesters collapsed in January 2011 after it emerged that the officer wanted to use his secret recordings to help the defence.

The collapse of the trial led the Court of Appeal to quash the convictions of the first 20 protesters when it emerged that Mr Kennedy had infiltrated and potentially entrapped environmental activists.

Image caption Twenty protesters had their convictions for plotting to shut down a power station quashed

Len Jackson, a commissioner with the IPCC, said: "Our investigation has shown that the sharing and recording of sensitive information, initially between the various officers involved and then with the CPS, was not well handled.

"In particular, where the use of an undercover officer has been authorised, the police need to be meticulous in their handling and dissemination of any evidential material and ensuring that liaison with the CPS is well documented.

"Whilst there were some weaknesses in the manner in which Nottinghamshire Police officers and staff carried out their disclosure duties in this case, it is our view that none of their actions amount to misconduct."

In a statement, Nottinghamshire Police said: "We are pleased that the IPCC concludes that the evidence produced by the undercover police officer was disclosed by the force to the CPS many months before the trial collapsed and that therefore no officer should face any disciplinary action."

'Unearthed serious criminality'

Following the appeals of the 20 protesters, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary reviewed the activities of Mark Kennedy and other undercover officers.

Its report found that Mr Kennedy helped unearth "serious criminality" albeit with a "lack of specific outcomes".

The report suggested that an independent body might be required to authorise deployments.

It also said Mr Kennedy was inadequately supervised and oversight of undercover officers needed to be strengthened.

The report said that during his seven years undercover, Mr Kennedy had become "resistant to management intervention" and carried on working "contrary to instructions" after being arrested in 2006.

The review made four recommendations for more robust controls of undercover police work.

These include greater oversight by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners and a thorough review of all operations that last more than six months.

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