What is ‘domestic extremism’

Domestic Extremism is a term used by police units to describe protesters who use direct action as a way to bring about political change, or groups whose demonstrations are thought to contain a risk of public disorder. The term has been used to cover pretty much everyone who has been involved in significant protests against the state or multi-national corporations in recent years.

There are five categories of domestic extremism, which are very broadly drawn:
• Animal rights
• Extreme right wing
• Extreme left wing
• Environmental
• Emerging trends

Domestic extremism also forms a part of the PREVENT strategy (preventing violent extremism), although PREVENT is primarily targeted at Muslim communities.

Domestic extremism is policed through a specialist team headed up by a National Co-ordinator for Domestic Extremism, Anton Setchell. He runs three units –

NPOIU – National Public Order Intelligence Unit. This carries out surveillance and analyses ‘intelligence’ on political activists and protesters. It is thought to be headed up by Detective Superintendent Maria Smith of Wiltshire police, although this is unconfirmed.

NETCU – National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit. This unit advises and supports businesses that are the target of protest campaigns. The ‘public face’ of NETCU is Superintendent Steve Pearl.

NDET – National Domestic Extremism Team. This carries out investigations into alleged offences carried out by political activists. It is headed up by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Robbins of Kent Police.

These units employ 100 people, of which two thirds are seconded police officers. They are funded to the tune of £9m.

These units are run by ACPO and are not part of any regional police force. Like ACPO, they have the status of private limited company. They are not currently covered by the Freedom of Information Act, although there have been moves to include them, but ACPO have promised to respond to FOI requests. So far though, not much has been forthcoming.

The domestic extremism units are accountable only to Anton Setchell, who in turn reports only to ACPO TAM, a high level ACPO committee that includes counter terrorism units and the security services, as well as senior government officials.

2 Responses to What is ‘domestic extremism’

  1. Bobby Davro says:

    So sad that the police, many of whom I know are well intentioned, fail to understand that by using intimidatory tactics they are undermining the country’s safety.
    We supposedly live in free country which supports the right to free speech and protest.
    Conspicuous filming of protesters IS intimidatory, whether they believe to be or not. Indeed, there is a case where a photographer was charged with intimidation of a police officer merely through photographing them.

    People become politicised (or how about radicalised in more modern parlance) when their voice is not heard or when their voice is suppressed. Look at Egypt and Tunisia.
    The police must appreciate this and return to what they do best- Robert Peel’s coercive policing. This was very successful in London on 26th Jan 2011 (when kettles and confrontation were not used) and was absent in Parliament Square on Thursday 9th Dec 2010 when kettles and horse charges were used, along with intimidatory filming of peaceful and innocent protesters trying to leave the kettle, which unsurprisingly escalated unnecessary violence.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well said Bobby Davro. You clearly excel in the appreciation of current affairs! Its a shame you chose the path of comedy for a career. I have to say that you did not excel at that.

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