Gordon Mills

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This article is part of the Undercover Research Portal at PowerBase - investigating corporate and police spying on activists.

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Gordon Mills
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Gordon Mills is a former Cambridgeshire police officer with Cambridgeshire Police and the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU). He subsequently became a lecturer on domestic extremism and council enforcement officer where responsibilities include overseeing traveller sites. He came to public attention in November 2014 when it was revealed that while a Detective Chief Inspector at NETCU he had met with the blacklisting organisation Consultancy Association in 2008, offering to exchange information on individuals. In 2015 he was subjected to protests over his involvement in blacklisting.

Police Career

1981: joins Cambridgeshire Police.[1]

2002 - 2002: Detective Inspector, Cambridgeshire Police: Head of Cambridge Child Protection Team; responsibilities included missing persons protection unit.[1]

2002 - 2003: Detective Inspector, Cambridgeshire Police: Professional Standards / Anti-Corruption Team where he was 'Commended for his professionalism and integrity'.[1]

2003 - 2004: Detective Inspector, Metropolitan Police Service: Murder Squad.[1]

2004 - 2006: Detective Inspector & Temp. Det. Chief Inspector, Detective Training School, Metropolitan Police; head of training unit for sexual assault, race hate, dangerous offenders management, fraud and financial training. Also negotiated and provided overseas training courses in Oman and South Africa [1]

2006 - 2011: Detective Inspector & Temp. Det. Chief Inspector, National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit where he was Head of Police Liaison.[1] Describes his work here as:[1]

Senior officer in national extremism unit dealing with UK domestic extremism. Have written training programs, presentations, good practice and policy documents; assisted in investigating serious crime associated with domestic extremists; and forging effective partnership working with major organizations.

2011: retires.

Post police career

2011-2013: studying for Professional Doctorate (see below).

2013-2014: part-time Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, where taught 'English Legal System' and 'Management theory'.[1] Following a protest organised by the Blacklisting Support Group and the GMB Union, Anglia Ruskin announced they would no longer employ him as a lecturer. He appears to have only been formally employed September - December 2012[1] though he gave guest lectures at other points such as "Domestic Extremism in the UK" on 1 March 2012, for the Criminology Open Lecture Series.[2] This is how the University introduced him:[3]

Gordon Mills is an ex-police officer once attached to the Association of Chief Police Officers (Terrorism and Allied Matters) Division, and has dealt extensively with counter terrorism and domestic extremism.

The lead force for NETCU in the period Mills was employed by had been Cambridgeshire Police, the Chief Constable of which during this time was Julia Spence, who also sat on the board of Anglia Ruskin during the time he was a lecturer there.

2013 to present (January 2015): Planning investigation and enforcement officer for South Cambridgeshire District Council.[1] Still in place in January 2015, when he was listed in council documents which indicate that the enforcement team he is a member of covers responsibility for traveller sites, including the long disputed site at Smithy Fen.[4][5]

Education and academic career

1970-1980: Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic (now Northumbria University), BA Hons in Enviromental Studies.[1][6]

1993: City & Guilds: Further and Adult Education Teachers' Certificate.[1]

1993: Centrex, Harrogate. Police Trainers Certificate - training delivery and preparation; a teaching course to act a as a police trainer.[1]

1998: Open University: Master of Education in Education and Teaching (adult learning).[1]

2004: Metropolitan Police Service, Hendon. Senior Investigators Course, major crime investigation.[1]

2005: Metropolitan Police Service, Hendon. Certificate in Diversity and Equality.[1]

2009: St. Andrews University. Certificate in Terrorism and Counterterrorism Operations.[1] This is an online programme offered by the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, to which undercover police chiefs Bob Lambert and David Veness are also associated.

2011: London Metropolitan University. Studying for Professional Doctorate in 'Policing, Security and Community Safety' where his thesis was on the animal rights campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences 2004-10 and the police response.[1] Subsequently published a paper "The successes and failures of policing animal rights extremism in the UK 2004-2014". [7] During his time there, former undercover officer Bob Lambert took up a post in the John Grieve Centre for Policing and Community Safety at that university.

Involvement in blacklisting

A leaked document showed that Mills met with the blacklisting organisation the Consultancy Association in 2008 offering to work with them. The meeting was only learned of when a handwritten account by the head of the Consultancy Association, Ian Kerr, was leaked to MP John McDonnell.[8]

According to media reports the minutes state it took place at the Bear Hotel, Woodstock, near Oxford, and was attended by six representatives of the construction industry. Mills explained that NETCU was expanding, and that the purpose of this meeting was 'to liaise with industry'.[9] Those attending included Mike Harrison of Vinci, Tony Crowther of AMEC, Alan Audley of SIAS Building Services, Vinci, Bob Chapman of Skanska, David Hillman of Sir Robert McAlpine and a representative from Emcor.[10]

At the time NETCU's website spoke of the liaison with industry in the following terms:[11]

NETCU acts as a central support service for business and the academic sector targeted by domestic extremists, particularly organisations involved in or with connections to the animal research industry....We assess risk and provide one-to-one tactical guidance, security advice and support on dealing with domestic extremist campaigns to help protect businesses and their employees.

In 2009 the Information Commissioner's office (ICO) raided the Consultancy Association and confiscated the files held on many individuals. Following an investigation the Independent Police Complaints Commission told lawyers it was "likely that all special branches were involved in providing information" that was found on the blacklist files.[12] The Metropolitan Police have denied this, saying there was no evidence.[9] In the light of the leak of the details of the Mills meeting with the TCA and representatives of the building industry, it has lead to claims that the police were attempting a cover-up.[13]

Protest and libel claim

On 12 March 2015, the Blacklist Support Group and GMB union held a protest in Cambridge against Mills teaching at the University, as part of a wider campaign against those involved in blacklisting of trade union workers.[14] Though Mills had since left employment as a part-time lecturer with Anglia Ruskin, the university stated ahead of the demonstration that: 'Anglia Ruskin University, at this time, has no intentions of employing Mr. Gordon Mills in any capacity'.[15] [16]

In late October 2015, an article appeared in the Evening Standard in which Mills attacked John McDonnell (by then shadow chancellor) for making what he claimed were false allegations about the meeting, and that his life had been put in danger as a result of being named. He denied the meeting was about blacklisting and said it was about concerns that there was no enough reporting of animal rights incidents in relation to the construction industry. Furthermore, he claimed not to know Ian Kerr or to have been aware of the Consultancy Association's presence at the meeting.

A spokesperson for the MP responded that McDonnell 'was well within his right to raise with the Home Secretary the matter of a serving police officer meeting an organisation that was involved in the illegal blacklisting of trade unionists, while this officer was working for a unit that kept union activists under surveillance'.[17]

In 2016, Mills lodged a libel claim in the High Court, accusing the GMB of defaming him and claiming up to £10,000 in damages.

In his claim, according to the Guardian,[18] Mills says the GMB’s accusations had seriously damaged his reputation, had caused him “serious distress and injury”, and in particular, had harmed his chances of advancing his academic career.

Mills says the accusations had wrongly portrayed him as:[18]

a former senior police officer who had been involved in the unlawful and disgraceful practice of blacklisting, colluding with construction firms covertly to blacklist construction workers for being union or health and safety activists.

The dispute revolves around four statements that were released to the media by the GMB in 2015, to publicise demonstrations that they were organising across the country against blacklisting. In its defence submitted at the high court earlier the legal procedure, the GMB denies that its statements to the media had caused serious harm to his reputation, or that they could be interpreted in the way Mills had alleged.

The union says it acted in the public interest, still according to the Guardian, saying there is 'credible evidence' that Mills shared information with construction firms at the meeting mentioned above. The GMB cites the notes written by Ian Kerr while he ran the Consulting Association on behalf of the construction firms. As said, these notes recorded that Mills, Kerr and a number of construction executives had been at the 2008 meeting and that the purpose of the meeting was 'to liaise with industry and explain NETCU’s role':[18]

Kerr’s notes record that much of the meeting was concerned with [Mills] giving the attendees an overview of NETCU’s work on environmental and animal rights activists. Mr Kerr’s notes record DI Mills as saying ‘Cos [companies] need to have strong vetting procedures in place’.

According to the notes and a media interview given by Kerr, 'in the weeks that followed there was further contact and/or information exchange' between Mills and those at the meeting:[18]

The union claims that it had a reasonable belief that during or after the 2008 meeting, Mills 'had suggested a two-way information exchange and that following the meeting there had been a two-way information exchange between NETCU and the Consulting Association … which, it might properly be inferred, had contributed to blacklisting.'

No date has been fixed for a trial.

Undercover Research Group resources

  • A pdf of Gordon Mill's old LinkedIn.com profile can be found here.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 Gordon Mills, Profile, LinkedIn.com, 2014 (since modified to remove most details but archived here by the Undercover Research Group).
  2. Police Life, See crime from a new angle, Vol. 12, Issue 5, May 2012 (accessed 5 April 2015).
  3. Justice and Communities Research Unit, Criminology Open Lecture Series 2012, Anglia Ruskin University, 2012 (accessed 8 April 2015). See also @CriminologyARU, Gordon Mills - Domestic extremism and hate crimes in the UK, talk TOMORROW at 11.30am in DAV016 at Anglia Ruskin University, Twitter, 29 February 2012 (accessed 8 April 2015).
  4. South Cambridgeshire District Council Planning Committee, Agenda for meeting of 14 January 2015, 6 January 2015 (accessed 6 April 2015), page 70 (74).
  5. European Roma Rights Centre, Gypsy/Travellers Face Continuing Threats of Eviction in UK, 11 March 2005 (accessed 6 April 2015).
  6. Gordon Mills Profile, LinkedIn.com, undated, (accessed 8 April 2015). Note: this appears to be a separate LinkedIn profile
  7. Gordon Mills, The successes and failures of policing animal rights extremism in the UK 2004-2014, International Journal of Police Science & Management, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2013 (accessed 4 April 2015).
  8. Blacklist Victims Hail Cop Naming, Morning Star online, 10 November 2014 (accessed 8 April 2015).
  9. 9.0 9.1 Daniel Boffey, Police ‘covered up’ links with union blacklisting, The Guardian, 8 November 2014 (accessed 8 April 2015).
  10. GMB, Include Blacklisting In Undercover Police Inquiry, press release, 12 March 2015 (accessed 8 April 2015).
  11. National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit, Supporting Industry and Individuals, NETCU.org.uk, 2007-2008 (archived by WayBack Machine / Archive.org on 22 April 2008).
  12. Daniel Boffey, Police colluded in secret plan to blacklist 3,200 building workers, The Guardian, 12 October 2013 (accessed 10 April 2015).
  13. James Douglas, Police accused of construction cover-up, Tribune Magazine, 29 November 2014 (accessed 8 April 2015).
  14. GMB, Cambridge Blacklist Protest 12th March, 11 March 2015 (accessed 8 April 2015).
  15. Tim Lezard, University sacks blacklist cop, Union Solidarity International - Live, 12 March 2015 (accessed 8 April 2015).
  16. Correction to Today's Front Page, Morning Star, 13 March 2015 (accessed 8 April 2015).
  17. Martin Bentham, Ex-terror cop: John McDonnell's smears have put me and my family in danger, Evening Standard, 27 October 2015 (accessed 29 October 2015).
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Rob Evans, Former police officer suing GMB trade union for defamation, the Guardian, 10 October 2016 (accessed October 2016