National Co-ordinator Ports Policing
The National Co-ordinator Ports Policing (NCPP) was a national police position, first established in 1987. Its responsibility was to oversee the policing of points of entry to the UK. As such it coordinated Special Branch activities at UK port and airports at a national level, though it had no operational powers. Port security and the monitoring of people passing through them have long been part of the remit of Special Branch units.
In 2008 it was reformed as the National Co-ordinator Protect, though as with National Co-ordinator for Special Branch, the title seems to have been retained to cover some parts of the National Co-ordinator Protect's remit as various documents after that date continued to refer to the NCPP.
It is also referred to as National Coordinator for Special Branch Ports Security.
- 1 History
- 2 Role within Counter-Terrorism
- 3 Subgroups
- 4 Controversies
- 5 Contact details
- 6 National Co-ordinators Ports Policing
- 7 See also
- 8 External Resources
- 9 Notes
The NCPP was formed in 1987 as part of the Home Office's Terrorism and Protection Unit (now the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism), where it was involved in 'developing the police response at ports and borders and joint working with the other border agencies'. As part of this work it 'established regional groupings of ports which participate in joint operational initiatives, some of which have proved highly successful.'  In 2003, its role was described as:
- implementation of the ports aspects of the counter terrorism policy, port security measures, new and existing legislation as well as resolution of accommodation issues and liaison with carriers and port operators
In 2003 it was recognised that the security set up at ports was overly-complex and problematic, and beset by inter-department rivalries. This lead to a shake up by the Home Office which followed recommendations set out in the 2003 HMIC Inspection, "A Need to Know". Thus, the NCPP it was moved under the control of the Association of Chief Police Officers' Terrorism and Allied Matters Committee (APCO TAM) that year. There it was placed in a subordinate position to the newly created National Coordinator for Special Branch, which had been established in April 2004 to deal with the of lack of co-ordination among the wider Special Branch units across the UK.
The NCPP was then expanded to take into the ACPO (Ports) Portfolio - 'the protective services provided by uniformed police officers':
- This was to enable an overview of all ports policing activity and ensure the co-ordination of protective services at airports, seaports and international rail terminals. Protective services include all policing functions normally undertaken by uniformed police officers in addition to their support of the National Aviation Security and National Maritime Security programmes.
- encompass the co-ordination of both uniform and Special Branch ports policing. This covers the whole range of situations from coordinated operations at major air and sea ports to devising a small ports policing strategy.
Within APCO TAM the post of NCPP as deputy to the National Co-ordinator for Special Branch, who sent policy, strategy, standards and code of practice for Special Branch practice. The 2004 Special Branch Guidelines set out its role as:
- The National Co-ordinator of Ports Policing, a Home Office appointee, works on behalf of ACPO (TAM) and the Home Secretary to co-ordinate SB activity at ports. Primarily, this role is to satisfy the Special Branch priorities and to encourage forces to task their officers in accordance with the national requirements set by the Advisory Group. In order to discharge this role, the NCPP works closely with the Home Office, other border agencies, Department of Transport and Industry to ensure that both policy and operational activity controls. Uniquely, the NCPP has an inspectorate function in order to quality assure the Special Branch port response throughout the nation. The National Co-ordinator of Ports Policing reports to the National Co-ordinator of Special Branch.
By 2006, the main functions of the NCPP were listed as:
- — Co-ordinating the work and operational activities of SB Ports Officers.
- — Co-ordinating the delivery of policy relating to ports policing.
- — Co-ordinating the protective services at ports and chairing the ACPO (Ports) portfolio group.
- — Providing advice and assistance to Chief Officers and the Home Office on all aspects of border control and port security policing.
- — Working in partnership with government, industry and the other border agencies to ensure policy and operational activity is synchronised.
- — Developing effective partnerships with the private sector.
- — Quality assuring the Special Branch port work throughout the UK.
- — Liaising with international border control organisations.
In 2007, this would also include dissemination of police intelligence from the National Ports Analysis Centre.
As such the NCPP would have been involved in the creation of the National Special Branch Information System (NSBIS2), part of whose function was to link up the computer system at individual ports to a national network. (See under National Domestic Extremism Database).
Role within Counter-Terrorism
The NCPP works closely with the Home Office, Department for Transport, Security Service, Industry representatives and the other border agencies, in particular HMRC and UKIS, according to a 2006 Memorandum:,to ensure that both policy and operational activity at ports are synchronised and support the government's Counter Terrorism Security Strategy (CONTEST).
- The NCPP liaises with partners at a senior level and attends the Cabinet Office Official Committee on Domestic & International Terrorism "Protect" Sub Group TIDO(PROTECT). The Assistant NCPP attends the Transport—Protective Security Work Group, chaired by the Director of Transec, which reports to TIDO(PROTECT).
While a subsequent 2007 Memorandum sets out the changing role of the NCPP as it becomes absorbed into counter-terrorism strategy:
- 3. The NCPP supports the Government's CONTEST strategy and the ACPO (TAM) Three Year Delivery Plan (2006-09), into which specific objectives for ports policing have been incorporated. Under the vision statement "Working together to secure UK ports and borders from the threat of terrorism and crime thereby reducing harm to the UK", we aim to achieve the following objectives:
- — More effective border controls.
- — The collection and development of intelligence.
- — Support to investigations.
- — Providing a hostile environment for terrorists and criminals.
- 4. Policing at the border and ports can be described as falling into three broad categories: Intelligence, Protective Security, and General Policing (including the management of major and critical incidents). The intelligence function at the border and ports is the role of Special Branch officers whose responsibilities are set out in the Home Office "Guidelines" for Special Branch. They cover: Counter Terrorism; Serious Organised Crime; and Child Abduction.
Prof. Frank Gregory (Professor of European Security and Jean Monnet Chair in European Political Integration, University of Southampton) noted in evidence to Parliament in 2009, submitted in response to the 'policing and security' aspects of the Committee's 'Ports in Wales' inquiry:
- In the maritime/ports areas ACPO has a specific response structure under the ACPO Maritime Committee, currently chaired by Chief Constable Hogan Howe of Merseyside Police. Working to that Committee and to ACPO-TAM is an ACC ranked officer holding the post of National Co-ordinator Ports Policing (NCPP) he also holds, under ACPO-TAM, the post of police National Coordinator PROTECT under the 'Contest' counter-terrorism strategy. For maritime security purposes the police have divided the UK into nine 'portal control' areas representing nine coastal areas around the UK. ... Each portal area has a regional ACC who coordinates the relevant portal area police commanders.
The office of the NCPP is also likely to have been involved in a number projects developed by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NatCTSO), including 'Crowded Places' and 'Transport Infrastructure' strands, as well as Project Argus, 'an interactive exercise, focussed at business and commercial industry management (including airport communities), with the aim of raising the level of preparedness and reducing the level of impact in the event of a terrorist incident'.
At the end of 2008, there was a reorganisation of the National Co-ordinators offices under the ACPO TAM auspices to bring them in line with the Government's counter terrorism programme CONTEST. In line with this, the NCPP became National Co-ordinator PROTECT, which took on the remit to 'the lead to coordinate the United Kingdom’s response to terrorism at its ports and borders on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers'.
Assistant National Coordinator Ports Policing (Protective Security)
A position created in or by 2003 was that of Assistant National Coordinator Ports Policing (Protective Security) It was still in existence in 2008, though it appears to have disappeared in the subsequent reorganisation of the national coordinators at the end of 2008.
However, in 2009, there was a Ports Protective Security team, under the National Co-ordinator (Protect and Prepare).
National Border Targeting Centre (NBTC)
Funded by the Home Office, this is a national border agency, within the UK Border agency, but also sitting within the National Coordinator Ports Policing (NCPP) portfolio and delivering national tasking. In 2012 Greater Manchester Police was the lead force model for this unit, and the North West Counter Terrorism Unit (NWCTU) administered its £1.4m budget on behalf of the NCPP. 
The unit is based in Manchester and replaces the smaller Joint Border Operations Centre (JBOC) at Heathrow as the operational hub for e-Borders, which electronically checks passenger data before they even set foot on a plane. It will allow the UK Border Agency, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and police 'to share intelligence and issue alerts where a suspect is identified by the electronic border checks.' The aim is to screening 100 per cent of passenger movements in and out of the UK by air, sea or rail'.
It was operational since March 2010.
This ACPO portfolio group has as terms of reference:
- — To represent the interests of Chief Police Officers in England, Wales & Northern Ireland on issues appertaining to ports policing (Air, Sea & International Rail Terminals) to ACPO(TAM), ensuring close liaison with ACPO Scotland (ACPOS).
- — To provide strategic advice for the development of ports policing business (Protective Security).
- — To respond to national ports policing issues (arising from ACPO (TAM), Government and other agencies) and to raise issues as appropriate.
- — To provide leadership and direction to the sub groups, to enable the development of national policy, standard operating procedures and guidance to officers.
- — To ratify policy and guidance produced by practitioners sub-groups.
- — To disseminate information/good practice about ports policing to forces & other agencies.
- — To explore European and international partnership working opportunities in a ports policing context.
APCO (Ports) met twice a year at the level of Assistant Chief Constable to 'deals with the protective services provided at airports, seaports and international rail terminals'. It has two subgroups which report to it:
- i) The UK Airport Commanders Group (UKACG)
- ii) The Sea Port & International Rail Terminals Group (SPIRT)
A third group is the 'Executive Group' which develop maritime issues on behalf of ACPO (Ports).
The UK Airport Commanders Group
Formed circa 1991, by 2006 the UK Airport Commanders Group (UKACG) consists of 45 members, of 'senior practitioner level' who represented over 500 airports within the UK, who met quarterly. It reported directly to the ACPO (Ports) Portfolio Group. Both the Home Office (Terrorism Protection Unit) and Transec (Aviation) are members of this group. It had also re-structured itself to create a Commanders Executive Group that 'consists of an airport commander from each ACPO region plus representatives from their Crime, Operations and Training sub groups.' Members of the Commanders Group included the Home Office's Terrorism Protection Unit and Transec (Aviation). It work included:
- — Harmonising the reporting of aviation related crime.
- — Setting up a secure group web site managed by the police to record best practice.
- — Improved vetting & intelligence flows to airport commanders.
- — Common practice in relation to the searching of aircraft.
- — Preparation of standard training packages.
- — Agreeing protocols for dealing with pilots etc. who have been breath tested.
- — Harmonising the police response to new legislation such as the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act.
Sea Port & International Rail Terminals Group
In 2006 its work was described as:
- to provide a platform on which to base strategic level discussion between border and government agencies and commercial operators. It aims to bring a cohesive approach to managing crime & security at maritime ports and international rail terminals. The SPIRT Group has rapidly established itself as a forum where police commanders at seaports & international rail terminals can develop a cohesive response to crime and terrorism.
The Sea-Port & International Rail Terminal Commanders Group was been reorganised to help ports and rail terminals implement the (Police) National Maritime Security Strategy; this included:
- the development of Regional Maritime Intelligence Teams. This will build upon the work being undertaken by the NCPP where the alignment of intelligence is being developed by a multi-agency team working to the Border Management Programme Board.
This Group helped with the development and implementation of the National Maritime Security Strategy. Other work it engaged with was:
- the provision of feedback relating to the introduction of the International Ship and Port Facilities (ISPS) code;
- assisting the implementation of Project Cyclamen;
and representation of ACPO (Ports) at:
- the National Maritime Advisory Group,
- the maritime Multi-Agency Threat and Risk Assessment (MATRA) subgroup.
- the Department for Transport's Maritime Working Group and assists the implementation of Project Cyclamen.
Project Cyclamen is a joint initiative between the Border Agency and the Home Office that is seen as a key (deterent) element of the UK's counter-terrorism strategy. Mostly known from entry portals, established in August 2009 and installed by Serco, to detect radiation coming from potential 'dirty bombs'on vehicles and people entering Britain, now screening most sea and rail traffic, including containers, freight, vehicles and passengers at UK borders)
The NCPP also provided support and participation with the following aviation related groups:
- — National Aviation Security Committee (NASC).
- — NASC Multi Agency Threat & Risk Assessment (MATRA) Sub Group.
- — Airport CCTV Best Practice Group.
- — Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) Programme Board.
- — Airports Designation Working Group.
- — Flying Training Programme Board.
and these maritime protective services groups:
- — National Maritime Security Committee (NMSC)
- — NMSC Ports & Shipping sub groups.
- — NMSC MATRA sub group.
- — UK Sea-Port & International Rail Terminals Commanders Group.
- — National Maritime Advisory Group.
It has also encouraged Special Branch units to send officers to:
- routinely visiting flying schools, simulator training establishments and Universities (as part of the community involvement package) to ensure good relationships are maintained.... NCPP staff and Metropolitan Police Special Branch continue to visit flying trainers when they undertake their bi-annual validation training at Bristol & London University.
In relation to border security, NCPP has engaged with the e-Borders programme and Project Semaphore.
National Ports Analysis Centre
Established by October 2007, the National Ports Analysis Centre is based at Merseyside police HQ, where it ' provides a range of intelligence products in support of ports policing, with the focus on counter terrorism'. In 2008 it had 23 staff and police offices, funded through the Designated Security Personal allocation - money provided through ACPO TAM. Part of the intelligence provided to port security / special branch by the NPAC is notification of changes to the threat status. The NPAC was still in existence in 2014.
Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 provides power for police at ports and airports to stop and detain individuals. It grants: 
- an examining officer, who in most cases in London is an SO15 Counter Terrorism Command Ports police officer, may question any person who he or she believes to be entering or leaving Great Britain, to determine whether that person appears to be involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, and may stop and detain a person to exercise this power.
It grants much wider than normal powers to stop, search and question than are normally allowed to the police.
Speaking of its use, DCI Tony McCarthy told Parliament in October 2007: 
- Within Special Branch, the border control/border security element split, there is a specific piece of legislation which is used by SB officers which is Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 which gives a power to officers to examine persons of interest or potential interest in order to confirm any involvement they might have in acts of terrorism or to render that person not of interest to police or the security services, but our chief role as SB officers at ports is to gather intelligence, to feed into security services for our own use and other agencies’ use as is relevant.
There have been long standing concerns over the Schedule 7 powers including complaints that this has been used in ways that amount to racial profiling, and in particular has disproportionately targeted the Muslim community. Political activists have also complained of being stopped under these powers.
A FOIA request showed that the number of people stopped under Schedule 7 increased from 1,190 in 2004 to 2,473 in 2008, with 1,773 for January - September 2009; in this period 1,110 individuals were held for up to 9 hours and of the total 10,400 'stops', only 99 were arrested and of these only 48 were charged with terrorist or terrorist-related offences.
Facial recognition technology
The NCPP was a partner in the Dynamic Facial Recognition System test–bed.
In 2008 / 2009 its contact details were given as:
National Co-ordinator Ports Policing
ACPO Terrorism and Allied Matters Business Area
10 Victoria Street
Telephone: 020 7084 8500
Fax: 020 7084 8556
A website for it was www.ncpp.pnn.police.uk (now defunct).
National Co-ordinators Ports Policing
- Angus Bryan McIntosh, QPM, National Co-ordinator of Port Policing with rank of Commander (Assistant Chief Constable) 1987 to 1998. In 2001 he was acting as a specialist advisor to the Select Committee on Home Affairs for a number of its reports.
- Assist. Chief Constable Frederick "Fred" Newton, QPM, National Co-ordinator of Ports Policing by December 2000, on secondment to the Home Office, retiring in 2002. Prior to this, he was an officer for Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary, where he was the Senior Investigation Officer for the Lockerbie air disaster, and had been head of both CID and Special Branch for that police force. A former chair of the UK Border Agency Working Group, he founded the BorderGuard system which has since become 'e-Borders'; he was also a member of both the Terrorism and Allied Matters Committee and the Advisory Group on Counter Terrorism.
- Commander Robert Milton, National Coordinator Ports Policing - appointed at the beginning of 2003 when was seconded to the Home Office with rank of T/Commander (subsequently appointed Commander); prior to this he had served in numerous roles in the Metropolitan Police Special Branch. He retired in 2005 to form counter-terrorism consultancy Milton Tezelin Ltd. Other senior roles included Chair of the UK Border Agency Working Group, Security Commander Metropolitan Police, Head of VIP Protection, Director of Intelligence International Terrorism, and Head of the National Terrorist Funding Unit. As Detective Chief Superintendent he had served at MPSB alongside DCS Colin Black, both men answering to Commander Roger Pearce, Director of Intelligence.
- ACC John (Frank) Donlon, National Co-ordinator Ports Policing in February 2006 (though it seems he took up the post in 2005 from Thames Valley Police) and January 2009. He remained in his post when it is converted to National Coordinator for PROTECT & PREPARE.
- James Douglass, Deputy National Co-ordinator Ports Policing in June / July 2005 and probably from May 2004; he subsequently became the Assistant National Coordinator for PROTECT & PREPARE; from March 2001 to May 2003 he had been Commander of Operations at Heathrow. 
- Elliot McKenzie,, Deputy National Co-ordinator Ports Policing. Leading CID and Special Branch officer at Strathclyde police and later lead on counter-terrorism investigations for Police Scotland.
- DCI Tony McCarthy, spoke on behalf of the National Coordinator Ports Policing before Parliament in October 2007 having been seconded there in 2006 from Sussex Police. A Special Branch officer, in 2007 he was involved in the Cabinet Office Border Review which lead to the establishment of the UK Border Agency and he was still with the Office of National Co-ordinator PROTECT in 2010 (though he appears to have moved on soon after).
- Supt. Peter Turner, Airport Commander for Manchester International Airport, April 2004-November 2008, during which he represented the National Coordinator of Ports Policing at National Level MATRA and was Chair of the Airport Commanders Group for two years; coordinated the National Police Service response to the 2006 Independent Review of Airport Policing by Stephen Boys –Smith. Subsequently reorganised Greater Manchester Police's Professional Standards Branch, before returning in May 2013 
- Insp. Chris Coe: a Metropolitan police officer who had served for 11 years in protective security at Heathrow Airport. From 2007 to October 2010, he was senior manager at the Office of the National Coordinator for Ports Policing where he was 'responsible for the coordination of policing at airports across the UK as well as for aviation security related projects'. This work included helping draft the aviation and airport security section of the Policing & Crime Act 2009 and associated guidance material, as a result of which he became the 'national police single point of contact for this legislation'. He was also a member of the UK Counter Terrorism Aviation Work Group, where he had responsibility for developing strategies on airport and aviation terrorist threats in partnership with the Home Office, TRANSEC, the Royal Air Force and the Security Services. Retired from police in October 2010 and became a consultant on airport and aviation security for BGP Global Services.
- Hugh Kelly: a Special Branch officer; after events of 9/11 he was seconded to Home Office to work with the National Coordinator for Special Branch Ports Security. In this role he helped organise conferences, was a point of contact for UK's ports officers, liaised with various agencies and deputised for Coordinator at meetings in the UK and abroad.
- Michael J. Todd, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police had 'functional responsibility' for aviation and rail in February 2006.
- Colin Cramphorn, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police and member of ACPO TAM had 'functional responsibility' for maritime issues in February 2006.
- Bernard Hogan-Howe, APCO lead for Maritime and Air Support policing in 2008 and 2009, while he was Chief Constable of Merseyside.
- National Co-ordinator for Special Branch
- Association of Chief Police Officers (Terrorism and Allied Matters)
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- The National Maritime Security Committee is a Department of Transport initiative, bringing industry and government together for the purposes of protective security. It is chaired / hosted by TRANSEC and was attended by John Donlon in his role as NCPP. See Defence Committee, The Defence contribution to UK national security and resilience - Examination of Witnesses, Parliament.uk, 27 January 2009 (accessed 4 March 2015).
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- Personal communication.
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