Andrew Robbins

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Andy Robbins
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Andrew "Andy" Robbins (born September 1958) is a former Kent police officer who headed up the National Domestic Extremism Team (2009 to 2013) and oversaw the investigation into Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. He has since established a private security consultancy, Prism Specialist Services Ltd.[1]

Police career

Robbins served for 34 years with Kent Police, having joined in March 1979. He retired in May 2013 with rank of Detective Chief Inspector. He described his work as 'includ[ing] managing serious and organised crime, kidnap and extortion police corruption, homicides and unexplained deaths domestic extremism, fraud and digital crime and general crime management and investigations'.[1] Prior to joining the National Domestic Extremism Team, he investigated serious organised crime.[2]

National Domestic Extremism Team (NDET)

Established by the National Coordinator for Domestic Extremism, Assistant Chief Constable Anton Setchell, the National Domestic Extremism Team (NDET), was the investigation wing of the National Domestic Extremism Unit. Based in London, it was overseen by the Association of Chief Police Officers' Terrorism and Allied Matters Committee. Its work was described at the time as:[3]

responsible for co-ordinating police operations and investigations against domestic campaigns and extremists, as well as identifying possible linked crimes across the country.

A key focus of NDET was animal rights campaigns (which had motivated the creation of the national domestic extremism units in 2004). Particular targets were Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) and SPEAK Campaigns. Named Forton, a significant intelligence gathering operation was launched, involving involved five forces: Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey, Kent and Thames Valley.[4]

A number of undercover police officers were deployed by the NDET's sister unit, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, targeting animal rights groups, including SHAC. These undercovers included 'RC' (active 2002 to 2006). It appears that the police also employed private intelligence specialists such as Adrian Radford (active as 'Ian Farmer 2004 to 2007).[5]

NDET logo.jpg

The arrest and formal investigation phase began with the coordinated arrests of 32 animal rights activists associated with SHAC on 1 May 2007.[6] This phase was named Operation Achillies at this point, and at that point was overseen by ACC Adrian Leppard, the then head of Specialist Operations at Kent Police. It was the largest police operation of its time,[7] costing £3.5 million and incorporating 12 separate police forces as well as the FBI. It was lead by detectives experienced in organised crime investigations (which included Robbins[8]), who used covert surveillance to build their case.[9] Ultimately, a number of activists were convicted, with twelve being imprisoned in a number of trials that took place between 2008 and 2012.

It is at some point in this period that Robbins is appointed the Senior Investigation Officer for Achillies.[8]

Robbins makes appears his first public appearance in relation to Achillies in May 2008, when he is quoted in relation to a sentencing of one of the SHAC campaigners.[10]

In July 2008, he was part of a joint operation between Kent and Lincolnshire police, investigating an Animal Liberation Front raid at Highgate Rabbit farm in the latter county.[11] A Kent based animal sanctuary, also used as an address for a period by SHAC, was raided, and one person was subsequently sent to prison. At the time Robbins is described as part of Kent Police, and he refers to Specialist Operations and Operational Support Directorates at Kent Police carrying out the operation.[12]

In February 2009 he was appointed the Head of the National Domestic Extremism Team, remaining in the post until January 2013,[1] having passed through several restructures, renaming and downsizing of the parent units.[13]

In that time, Forton / Achillies was in turn followed by Operation Aries, which investigated targets not dealt with under Forton.[4] It was officers from SO15 / Counter Terrorism Command working in coordination with the NDEU and the Dutch National Crime Squad, who carried out a series of arrests in July 2012,[14] that resulted in the conviction of SHAC activist Debbie Vincent.[15]

Robbins also makes an appearance in the Radcliffe-on-Soar case where his name appears on a list of people for whom NPOIU intelligence reports provided by the undercover Mark Kennedy was to be disseminated to.[16]

Post police career

In May 2013, Robbins formed Prism Specialist Services Ltd, a security consultancy on various issues relating to intellectual property, evidence collection and 'bespoke training packages on corporate security threat and risk and strategic advice and guidance around extremist threats and trends.'[1] It also works with Protection Group International to provide training for the Metropolitan Police's Project Moorgate.[1]

Prism Specialist Services Ltd

Prism Specialist Services logo(Nov2016).jpg

Company details:[17]

  • Incorporated 30 May 2013 (company number 08549086) and registered to an accountancy firm in Chelmsford.
  • Directors: Andrew Robbins (director 30 May 2013 to present; sole shareholder), Clare Jane Stokes (company secretary from 22 June 2013 to present).
  • Website:

As of 2016, the company website lists its people as:[18]

  • Andrew Robbins: Managing Director
  • Carol Dale: Associate Director
  • Gary Dockerill: Associated Director. A former Essex police officer who had served with national and regional crime squads, before going on to become Investigations Manager for IntraOrbis.[19][20][21]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Andrew Robbins, Profile,, undated (accessed 5 November 2016).
  2. For extremists who blackmailed animal lab, it was all about the cause, The Guardian, 23 December 2008 (accessed via Nexis).
  3. National Co-ordinator Domestic Extremism, Frequently Asked Questions, Association of Chief Police Officers, ca. 2010-2011, archived by Undercover Research Group.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gordon Mills, The successes and failures of policing animal rights extremism in the UK 2004–2010, International Journal of Police Science & Management, Vol. 15, No.1, 18 February 2013.
  5. Jack Grimston, ALF infiltrator speaks on UK arrests, campaign, Sunday Times (paywall), 1 March 2009.
  6. Police quiz animal activists, The Express, 1 May 2007, accessed 31 August 2014.
  7. Police quiz animal activists, The Express, 1 May 2007, accessed 31 August 2014.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Haroon Siddique, Animal rights activists guilty of blackmailing research lab suppliers, The Guardian, 23 December 2008 (accessed 5 November 2016).
  9. Sandra Laville, National: Anti-vivisection campaign: ALF plotters stuck to rigid code of secrecy. But police were listening: An unprecedented undercover operation by 12 forces with FBI help brought down network of animal rights extremists, The Guardian, 24 December 2008 (accessed via Nexis).
  10. Animal rights extremist avoids jail, Lancashire Evening Post, 25 May 2008 (accessed 5 November 2016).
  11. Campaign against Highgate Rabbit Farm, Wikipedia, undated (accessed 5 November 2016).
  12. Arrest is made after swoop on local farm, Kent and Sussex Courier, 11 July 2008 (accessed via Nexis).
  13. See under National Domestic Extremism Unit: organisational history for details.
  14. Three arrests in animal rights extremism inquiry, BBC News Online, 6 July 2012, accessed 10 January 2015; corroborated by personal communication.
  15. The Case,, accessed 31 August 2014.
  16. Unpublished disclosure. DCI Robbins and DI Hedley, both of NDET, are listed among others to whom an NPOIU Intelligence report of 23 March 2009 is to be passed to; this is in relation to Operation Pegasus and involves Mark Kennedy providing details of the intention to mount protests at the Radcliffe-on-Soar power station.
  17. Prism Specialist Services Ltd, Companies House, undated (accessed 5 November 2016).
  18. Contact Prism, (company website), undated (accessed 5 November 2016).
  19. Gary Dockerill, Profile,, undated (accessed 5 November 2016)
  20. The Law,, November 2008.
  21. Another senior employee at IntraOrbis was Carol Jenner, a former Head of Covert Operations for the Serious Organised Crime Agency and a signatory to the 2004 European Cooperation Group on Undercover Activities Memorandum of Understanding.