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Corporate spy was active in Nottingham

Nottingham Indymedia | 09.02.2011 18:40 | Animal Liberation | Ecology | Repression

The Mark Kennedy case has thrown the world of police and private spying on activists into the spotlight. One of the many revelations about Kennedy is that he can be linked to private spying company Global Open. Kennedy worked as a consultant for them and set up his own company, Tokra, using the address of Global Open director Heather Millgate.

Nottingham Indymedia can reveal that a second spy linked to Global Open, Paul Mercer, was actively involved with environmental and animal rights campaigns in Nottingham, including Nottingham Against Incineration and Landfill (NAIL). Mercer was involved in groups in Nottingham in the period 2002-2007.

Mercer was publicly exposed for his role in spying on anti-arms trade campaigners, Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) in 2007. His contract for the operation was finalised through Global Open.

Links: Spies on video - Martin Hogbin and Paul Mercer | Corporate spy was active in Nottingham | The 'censored' Mark Kennedy article | Mark Kennedy, Global Open Ltd and E.ON | BAE admits paying agents to investigate CAAT | NAIL Public Debate 12/4/06

Previous Features: Undercover police officer back in the spotlight | Mark Kennedy/Stone exposed as undercover | Three undercover political Police unmasked as infiltrators into UK Anarchist, Anti-Fascist and Climate Justice movements | Cop Infiltrators: PC Mark Kennedy AKA "Mark (Flash) Stone", "Lyn Watson", "Mark (Marco) Jacobs" and PC Jim Boyling, "Jim Sutton"

Paul Mercer at NAIL public meeting, April 2006
Paul Mercer at NAIL public meeting, April 2006

Paul Mercer at NAIL public meeting, April 2006
Paul Mercer at NAIL public meeting, April 2006

Paul Mercer at NAIL public meeting, April 2006
Paul Mercer at NAIL public meeting, April 2006

Paul Mercer at NAIL public meeting, April 2006
Paul Mercer at NAIL public meeting, April 2006

Paul Mercer at Claremont Road anti-M11 protest
Paul Mercer at Claremont Road anti-M11 protest


Paul Symington Mercer graduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 with a degree in Production Engineering. After leaving university, he worked for "free market think tank" the Adam Smith Institute, in Westminster. He claims to have been a freelance journalist since 1982 (and, perhaps surprisingly, at least until 2007, a "long-standing member of the National Union of Journalists") with articles published in the Observer, Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and London Evening Standard, pictures printed in national newspapers and a period researching political organisations for the BBC. He is also the author of at least seven books, including several specialist works on military aviation. Between 1987 and 1991 he served as a Conservative Borough Councillor in Charnwood, Leicestershire.

Mercer has a long-standing interest in protest movements. In his sworn affidavit to the court during the CAAT case, Mercer insisted that "most of my research involves the automated searching of public websites and newsletters," indeed he claims to have "a good reputation for my ability to rigorously search the Internet." Nevertheless, he says he has "a wide range of contacts" and "does sometimes receive information from anonymous sources, as do many journalists." At a meeting organised by think tank Policy Exchange in January he described himself as having spent 29 years trying to "combine an academic study of extra-parliamentary groups with actually going and seeing what happens on protests." He claimed to have "covered and having been on pretty well every major public order disturbance in London over that period," including the Poll Tax Riots and Mayday 2001.

In the 1990s, Mercer involved himself in the anti-roads movement including protests against the M11 in Claremont Road. In 1994, he published the 'Directory of British Political Organisations'. When news of his involvement with BAE and CAAT broke, Undercurrents noted that this contained personal information and contact details for people he'd met in Earth First! and other ecological direct action campaigns in the early '90s. In 2007, Mercer stated, "The majority of" the 4,500 organisation profiled in the directory "received one or more letter from me asking for information about them." He did not explain how he obtained information on those he didn't write to.

Nowadays he presents himself as an expert on protest movements and advises companies on how to deal with protests. He spoke at a Policy Exchange meeting on the 'Rise of street extremism' (available to view on YouTube) earlier this year and it was noted by the chair during his introduction that this was a "rare public appearance" by Mercer.

For all his supposed expertise, the analysis he presented at the meeting is unremarkable, mainly notable for the way in which he deliberately obscures the distinction between protest and riot so that he can talk about "all the major riots: NUM, Poll Tax, BNP, Reclaim The Streets, criminal justice, J18, Mayday... Tamils, Palestinians and now the students." He went on to suggest, following the same analysis, that the Poll Tax Riots were organised by the Militant Tendency, latterly the Socialist Party. Despite the role of Trotskyist groups in "organising" riots, Mercer contended that violence at protests was typically instigated by "anarchist groups, squatters and what the Home Secretary rightly referred to as this 'feral underclass.'" This "underclass" is apparently made up of Millwall football fans (who he seemed to suggest, kicked off the Poll Tax Riots) and hunt saboteurs. Having offered these insights into the causes of public disorder, Mercer then sought to justify the use of kettling and argue that prosecuting police officers for instance of brutality against demonstrators had cultivated "a reluctance of police officers on the frontline to actually hit people as hard as is necessary."

Outside of his interest in protest movements, Mercer has also worked for PR firms and "carried out research to assist with the UK launch of the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

Mercer and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

In 1986, Mercer published 'Peace of the Dead – The Truth Behind the Nuclear Disarmers'. The book was described in an introduction by Lord Alun Chalfont as "an indispensable work of reference" for "the increasing number of people in this country who regard CND as at best a chronic nuisance and at worst an insidious danger." The vast tome running to 465 pages is an extended denunciation of CND and the wider "'peace' movement" with the scare quotes used throughout. Mercer argues at length that CND was a Communist front, attempting to disarm the UK, in the process furthering the foreign policy aims of the Soviet Union, supporting this with extensive quotations from publicity material produced by CND, various satellite groups and assorted Marxist sects. A series of appendices detail committee members, presidents and vice-presidents of CND and associated groups, with their various political affiliations.

In the preface, Mercer states that he has relied "as much as possible on primary sources, including confidential and internal CND documents." These documents, which consist primarily of official letters, reports and minutes, are, Mercer claims, "not normally available to outsiders." He states that they have been "obtained through careful research and from CND sources concerned about the developments within the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament since its revival" (p 422). Presumably these are the same people who Mercer notes in the acknowledgements who "would rather not be named." One such internal document, which he considers sufficiently interesting to reproduced in full, is a letter from Nabil Ramlawi, the London represenative of the Palestine Liberation Organisation(PLO) to CND promoting an upcoming rally in London complete with - what Mercer claims is - former-chair of CND Bruce "Kent's handwritten annotation."

At some point, it is clear that Mercer infiltrated CND, a fact stated openly when he was introduced at the Policy Exchange event. While 'Peace of the Dead' makes no explicit mention of infiltration as a research tool, Mercer does imply a first-hand knowledge of key-members of the organisation. The acknowledgements include, among those deserving of a "special mention", a nod to "Monsignor Bruce Kent (perhaps unwittingly)". Furthermore, the inside back cover of the book has a photograph of Kent apparently talking to Mercer, whose face has been obscured.

It is around this time that Mercer became friends with Conservative MP, Julian Lewis who is credited in the acknowledgements with having "done most in terms of proof-reading, copy-editing and acting as a source of inspiration." Lewis was the Research Director of the Coalition for Peace Through Security, who CND accuse of disrupting their events, sending a spy into their office and trying to link Bruce Kent with the IRA. Mark Loveday, James and Michele, all at the Coalition, also merit acknowledgements. Mercer's evident chummy relationship with the Coalition for Peace Through Security is, at least partly, explained by the fact that Policy Research Publications which published the book shared an office the Coalition.

In 2007, Lewis (by then shadow defence minister) told the Guardian that he was still "in social contact with" Mercer. He admitted that he had "worked closely with Paul in the 1980s," and suggested that Mercer had done "a lot of good work exposing the far left". Lewis himself has a history of similar "good work". With his position in the Coalition for Peace Through Security he was a leading figure in an extensive government supported campaign to discredit CND. During the 1970s he had even infiltrated the Labour Party.

Among the other groups thanked in the acknowledgements is the Freedom Association a "non-partisan" right-wing libertarian group associated with the Conservative Party. During the 1980s they campaigned against the boycott of Apartheid South Africa and engaged in union breaking activities. A number of the other individuals named are also alleged to have been involved with the organisation. It is not clear exactly how much can be inferred from this, as Mercer also acknowledged the help of the "Communist Party's Press Department"!

Mercer in Nottingham

According to local environmentalist and animal rights campaigner, Jon Beresford, it was around 2002 when Mercer first appeared in Nottingham. He lived in the local area and so it was easy for him to get involved in campaigns in the city. Mercer spoke authoritatively about the Newbury by-pass campaign which won him respect amongst local campaigners. He latched onto Beresford and his partner and was extremely friendly and helpful to them, something that Beresford now says seems like an obvious tactic.

According to Beresford, Mercer was present at a demonstration against a McDonalds in West Bridgford in 2004. McDonalds had struck a deal with the supermarket chain, Asda, to take over the cafe at their West Bridgford store, which had become popular with local school children. Animal rights and environmental campaigners were campaigning to stop McDonalds selling what they saw as unhealthy and unethical food to young kids. They held a demo in fancy dress which was covered by Radio 5 Live and Central TV and Mercer gave an interview for the local news. The campaign was partially successful, winning a concession from McDonalds that they would not sell their food to school children during school hours.

Mercer's involvement wasn't merely as a participant, however. Soon after the Asda/McDonalds campaign, he raised the idea of targeting Gala Casino and Bingo Halls with animal rights campaigners. Gala had chosen the British Heart Foundation as their charity of the year. BHF has long been criticised by animal rights activists for spending much of its budget on animal experimentation to find new drugs, rather than working on prevention. It is thought that 70% of heart disease cases are preventable. According to Beresford, Mercer said that his wife worked for Gala and that the company would be an easy target which would be keen avoid bad publicity. Not only did Mercer initiate the campaign, Beresford says he also fed campaigners the email addresses of senior managers. The company's headquarters in Nottingham were picketed. Mercer claimed to have insider information, via his wife, that senior managers were very worried and that the campaign was working. Beresford describes Mercer as having directed the campaign.

At other times Mercer seemed to play a more traditional disruptive role. He came along on an ambitious environmental action, coordinated by people outside Nottingham, which never happened because the target was swarming with police.

Once he had become a trusted figure, Mercer could move within the scene into campaigns such as NAIL. Although he was considered a key figure behind the scenes, he never came to committee meetings and tried to keep out of the public eye. He worked as a freelance journalist, he said, and was known to attend events with his camera. Beresford says that despite his low public profile Mercer was keen to guide the direction of campaigning.

NAIL was set up by local campaigners in 2002 to protest against the Eascroft Incinerator. Support for the campaign would grow in 2005 when plans to expand the facility were announced. An entirely peaceful campaign, with "members from Greenpeace, Nottingham Friends of the Earth, Nottingham Green Party and CABS (Clean Air for Bakersfield and Sneinton)", it organised demonstrations, community outreach days and banner drops in Sneinton.

In April 2006, Mercer attended a public meeting about plans for an incinerator held at Green's Mill Old School Hall, Sneinton. Entirely by chance he was photographed by regular Indymedia contributor Tash, who had no idea who he was at the time.

Campaign Against Arms Trade v Paul Mercer & LigneDeux Associates

In 2007, Mercer was thrust into the headlines when it was revealed that he had forwarded an email containing legally privileged material from anti-arms trade campaign, CAAT, to arms dealers, BAE. An investigation found that Mercer was working as a security consultant for LigneDeux Associates, a company paid £2,500 a month by BAE to provide informations on "threats" to the company.

Mercer claimed he was contacted by Rod Leeming of Global Open (who he described as "a management consultancy") in 2005. According to Mercer's account, Global Open "had been approached by BAE because BAE needed someone to provide BAE's media and internet monitoring requirement in order to examine potential threats to it." It was decided to set-up a partnership for the work using an off-the-shelf name, LigneDeux Associates. According to Mercer, the pre-contact negotiations between BAE and LigneDeux were conducted by Leeming and Michael McGinty, BAE's Director of Security, with Mercer playing no role. LigneDeux was based, "for the sake of convenience," at Global Open's accountant's office.

Mercer claimed to have received the privileged information on CD-R in an anonymous envelope which he discovered while "clearing a backlog of Christmas post" On the CD was a Word document containing a copy of an email from Ann Feltham to the steering group of CAAT and a letter sent by Leigh Day & Co addressed to the Prime Minister, the Attorney General and the Director of the Serious Fraud Office. It was the email which was significant as it contained legal advice from Leigh Day & Co and hence was privileged and confidential.

Mercer copied the document and forwarded it to McGinty. Mercer also copied in Martin Carroll at BAE. When this material reached BAE's legal department they were obliged to return it to CAAT, thus beginning the legal process which would bring Mercer into the headlines. After being informed by BAE that the material was privileged and instructed not to send anything further, Mercer decided to send it to Leeming. He claims this was "in order to seek his opinion on the matter and alert him to a potential problem".

Mercer was unable to produce the envelope in which the CD arrived, explaining that this was because he hadn't realise at the time that it would be necessary to keep hold of it and had not realised what he had been sent. He also closed the pseudonymous email address he used for his research on BAE's behalf, destroying any emails within, and reformatted the memory stick used to copy the document from the computer where he opened it to a internet connected laptop. In his sworn affidavit to the court he claims in both cases to have done this before an injunction which obliged him not to destroy any documents which might be related to the case. However, Leigh Day & Co allege the email address was closed after Mercer was tipped off by McGinty about the injunction.

BAE initially refused to state how it came into possession of the material. A copy of the email was passed to Leigh Day & Co in a letter, but this they noted 'had been redacted so as to delete the forwarding information which would have shown how and when the email was sent to BAE.' CAAT obtained an injunction requiring BAE to preserve any relevant documents and after a hearing, BAE were directed to disclose a full copy of the email, including routing information, and explain how they had received it. It was at this point that Mercer's role became public knowledge.

It remains unknown who leaked the documents and whether they were an infiltrator or a hacker, but as legal action continued, BAE was forced to admit an increasing amount. In addition to LigneDeux associates, McGinty admitted that BAE had employed Evelyn Le Chêne to do similar work. Martin Hogbin who worked for CAAT had been accused of working for Le Chêne in September 2003, but BAE had not acknowledged any involvement with her until McGinty's admission. In October 2007, BAE had to make an unprecedented undetaking to the court that it will not "not to intercept by any unlawful means ... [and] not to solicit, voluntarily receive or procure any confidential communication or document" belonging to CAAT."

Mark Kennedy and Global Open

On its website, Global Open proudly announces that it "is run by former New Scotland Yard Special Branch officers." The company claims to gather intelligence 'responsibly and legally' for their corporate clients. Their website boasts their expertise in dealing with activist threats to big business. The company's directors include Rod Leeming (ex-Special Branch and former head of the Animal Rights National Index, according to the Guardian), the man who Paul Mercer forwarded CAAT's legally privileged email to, and, until September last year, Heather Millgate.

In his interview with the Sunday Mail, PC Mark Kennedy claims that after being pulled from his undercover role in September 2009 he was "approached" by Leeming (who he insists he had never met before) on behalf of Global Open in January 2010. Kennedy handed in his resignation from the police in January 2010, leaving in March and at some point, began working for Global Open as a "consultant".

At around the same time, Kennedy seems to have begun considering the possibility of going into business himself. On 9 February 2010 Kennedy set up a company called Tokra Ltd (Company No. 07150492), with himself listed as a Logistics officer on the Certificate of Incorporation, at an address in Leighton Buzzard. This was the work address of Millgate (a personal injury solicitor), who became a director of Global Open in February.

On 31 March 2010, Tokra changed its address from Millgate's work address to another in Basingstoke. Around the same time, Kennedy set up a second company, Black Star High Access (Company No. 07209622), also registered in Basingstoke. According to the Guardian, Kennedy applied for Tokra Ltd to be dissolved on April 12 2010 and this finally happened on 17 August. On 31 August, Millgate resigned as a director of Global Open. While Black Star has yet to file any records, it is still an active company.

Kennedy denies operating undercover for Global Open, but returned to Nottingham after leaving the police and continued using the Mark Stone pseudonym. According to a Newsnight report, in August 2010 he attended the Earth First! gathering and participated in a session about police infiltration. After that workshop he left an email address referring to Tokra.

The Corporate Shilling

The Mark Kennedy case has thrown some light onto the dark world of police spying. There is also an extensive network of corporate security/investigation firms. Many of these firms advertise that they employ former police officers, many of them ex-Special Branch. In 2008 Russell Corn, managing director of Diligence, one such company with offices in Canary Wharf claimed that private spies made up a quarter of the attendees of Climate Camp: "Easily one in four of the people there are taking the corporate shilling." This is almost certainly a vast overstatement, but with increasing concern about a growth in dissent fuelled by the impact of the cuts (as demonstrated in the Policy Exchange session attended by Mercer) it is likely to remain one area which does well inspite of any economic difficulties.


Campaign Against Arms Trade v Paul Mercer & LigneDeux Associates: Briefing (pdf)
Campaign Against Arms Trade v Paul Mercer & LigneDeux Associates: Court Documents (pdf)
Campaign Against Arms Trade v Paul Mercer: SFO Letter (pdf)
CAAT: Developments following the dropping of the SFO investigation
Undercurrents: Spy within Peace movement exposed
Spinwatch: Only A Public Inquiry Will Do Into Green Spy
YouTube: The Rise of Street Extremism

Nottingham Indymedia


Hide the following 26 comments

Superb work

09.02.2011 23:32

Highly detailed, uninflammatory, well referenced and with pointers to more information on many aspects. This is a very useful job very well done. Thanks a lot.

Donkey Kong

Plays into his hands?

10.02.2011 06:06

I agree, a superb piece of research but It may play straight into Mercer's hands. He has been selling himself as 'the expert' on political groups for three decades and, judging from his appearance at the Policy Exchange, has taken the decision to adopt a higher profile. This not the first time that he has chosen to do this. He has had books published, he was employed by the BBC's Political Research Unit as its in-house 'expert' on political groups and he was even elected to public office.

What is remarkable is that having been a Tory councillor near Nottingham, having written a highly-critical history of the CND, having been prominent whilst at Nottingham University, and even having been exposed before, it still apparently took activists in Nottingham FIVE years to realise that something was wrong and, seemingly, another FOUR years to publicise the fact. So far as I can see, there are no indications that he ever changed his identity or even lied about his past – he was just incredibly economic with the truth.

I am not suggesting that it is wrong to publish such research but I think we should be careful not to build him up too much. Most political researchers only do their job for a number of years before moving on to greater things which is normally becoming a politician. Mercer appears to have taken the decision to concentrate on being a researcher and, from what we know, is regarded by the Establishment (and often used by the media) as their leading authority on non-parliamentary political groups.

At precisely the point at which the police's efforts are likely to be cut back and extra-parliamentary protests are beginning to escalate, is it not a coincide that Mercer has chosen to raise his profile? Nevertheless, it is a good piece of research with a lot of verifiable facts and not too much theorising about what he was really doing during these five years.


Mark Kennedy detailed chronology

10.02.2011 07:21

See the database on

The original purpose of this chronology was to collate info from various places, and to try to help comrades in other countries access it. It is not for the mainstream press. Obviously information posted here is read by many different groups, including the state, but it is important to share this information among our networks as much as possible, to ensure that information doesn't come out in the press before people involved know.

This project is a collaboration with people in various countries and campaigns. There is a large amount of information so apologies if there are factual errors. All sources of information have been verified as extensively as possible. For obvious reasons attempts have been made avoid using the press as source material. Information here contains overlap with some of what has been reported in the press, but has also all been independently confirmed. This is not a place for media reports, and any references to events cited on Indymedia have also been clarified by individuals connected to them.

The lack of information here about the exposure, events following on from the exposure, and any reference to sexual relationships is deliberate; not because this is unimportant, but so as to create a record that looks at political work only. Obviously there is overlap but that is not the concern here.

The level of detail here investigating times in Denmark is important, but also it is important to remember that Mark was much more involved in Berlin than any other city outside the UK. In order to respect peoples' confidentiality, detailed reports of this does not feature here.

It is also important to note that one of the worst pieces of reporting in connection to his political activities has been to do with the coverage of the Saving Iceland campaign. The role Mark Kennedy played in the campaign has been greatly exaggerated by the mainstream press, especially the Guardian. The database attempts to deal with some of these errors.

We are currently compiling similar lists about “Lynn Watson” and “Marco Jacobs”.

If you have useful info, please email. Thanks to all those who have worked on it so far.

In solidarity,


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Like a bad penny!

10.02.2011 08:45

It doesn’t surprise me that he’s back. Like a bad penny. But it does seem amazing that it took activists Nottingham so very long to realise.

I remember him from the 1980’s when he and Julian Lewis were pursuing CND. We always tried to ignore them as best we could because they always seemed to relish debate and managed to generate media coverage which was massively out of proportion to their miniscule size.

So having come across him before, and not doubting that he has changed, it is probably not a good idea to exaggerate his role. Mercer is simply a researcher with an obsessive interest in activist groups; he makes occasional forays into these groups and sometimes gets caught; but ultimately he is interested in selling his knowledge – to the media or anyone else. Therefore elevating his status to some kind of master corporate spy is possibly a mistake.

Like John Bercow’s wife he’s best ignored.

Dave P

Easy target

10.02.2011 10:49

Let's not forget that Nottingham was an easy target for Mercer and largely because of the person who was running Greenpeace. I was involved at the time and I remember she was so excited because she'd met this new 'activist' (Mercer) and asked him to join the group. In fact, it was on her recommendation that he almost immediately went on the major (Greenpeace) action that the article mentions which was abandoned after large numbers of police appeared.

Local Greenpeace groups are merely 'supporters' and have no real say in what happens. They are run by an appointee and one of the reasons Mercer probably found it so easy was she ran it as her own private fiefdom. Anyone who questioned her was quickly sidelined.

I had my doubts about Mercer from the very beginning because although he seemed to know his facts and was good at debating, his lifestyle (such as driving a newish Range Rover) did not exactly fit that of an eco-activist. But perhaps like PC Kennedy, we chose to ignore the facts even when they are staring us in the face.

We should not be paranoid, we should not over-inflate Mercer's ego and should not blame everyone in Nottingham for the absurdly long time that Mercer remained around us.

Ex-Greenpeace activist

Where’s the connection?

10.02.2011 21:10

I'm not sure I understand why Paul Mercer is a 'corporate spy.' According to the CAAT case he did not actually infiltrate CAAT but claims that he was receiving material -- as he was with many other organisations because of his work for Longmans and the BBC.

In the case of the Nottingham groups, there may have been a suspicion that he had other motives although he was always open about working for media organisations and was (is?) a member of the NUJ.

What advantage was there to him in getting involved in the campaign against McDonalds serving children during school time? He was largely responsible for the sympathetic media coverage and even negotiated with the Asda manager. Perhaps he was secretly working for Burger King?

And the allegation that there is something odd because he didn't seem very interested in the NAILL committee meetings is bizarre. The argument is normally that an infiltrator stands out because he or she prefers meetings to protests. You can't have it both ways. Also, why on earth would he secretly want an incinerator when he lived in the immediate area?

This article may be a good bit of research into something that happened up to nine years ago but I'm not quite sure the point that is being made. If files were kept on us and used against us almost three decades later we would be first to complain. So this may all be of historic interest but what’s the relevance today.

We should be more interested in what Mercer is doing today. Again there appears to be some confusion. His views are clearly respected by elements of the establishment which is why he was invited to speak at that seminar. But he's either talking bollocks, which is good news, or he is talking sense. Again, you can’t have it both ways. If it's the former, as I believe it is, we should just let him get on with it because ultimately it’s to our advantage.

Cynical Chris

what a creepy sad boy, the most violent person@ climate camp was Mark ston

11.02.2011 01:20

e-kennedy. In fact cc are militant pacificists, Mercer is blatantly just after money for false info. He is obviously infiltrating the NUJ also & passing on info on the "marxist cabals" to his chums.


what a sad creep, ccamp are militantly pacificist, mark stone was the most

11.02.2011 01:26

violent person in ccamp& he was no were near bnp or edl who the experts lol on his youtube video seem to care nothing about trashing town centres allover britain& stirring up ethnic hatred.
NUJ should be concerned as he blatantly infiltrated them also to pass on BS to his chums, hope they chuck him out asap.


But he still worked for the media

11.02.2011 06:45

To become a member of the NUJ you have to demonstrate some involvement with the media and no-one is disputing that Mercer has had books published, worked for the BBC, had stories and pictures published in national newspapers and so on. It is also accepted that members of the NUJ can move in and out of doing work for the media. Is he suggesting that the NUJ should expel every out-of-work journalist, press officer and even spin doctor? I have also not seen anything to indicate that Mercer has ever ‘infiltrated’ the NUJ or that his politics are 'extreme'. Again a dangerous route for the NUJ to pursue.


Mercer started his spying career - spying on "wet" tories

11.02.2011 13:54

Oddly enough, Mercer was accused of spying on "wet" tories very early on, to the anger of his fellow Conservatives
In 1989 moderates in the Young Conservatives accused Mercer of using an electronic bug to spy on them. Supporters of Martin Woodroofe, a moderate leadship candidate for the Young Conservatives, were meeting in a hotel near Rugby. They found a “pill box sized” listening device behind curtains. When the bug was uncovered, Mercer, who supported Woodroofe's hard right opponent, was spotted racing away in a white van. The Woodroofe camp were convinced Mercer was the bugger. Mercer denied responsibility for the electronic surveillance, although the police said they assumed the van driver was positioned to pick up signals from the bug. Mercer did admit through an intermediary that he took photos and made notes at meetings of the moderate faction.

Solomon Hughes
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Mercer and an MI6 asset

11.02.2011 17:12

I remember on one occasion he turned up at the Manchester Airport second runway protest with his mate David Rose – at the time home affairs correspondent on the Observer. To be fair, they produced a sympathetic article about the protest. It was only later that Rose was exposed as an MI6 asset which he later tried to explain away in the New Statesman:

Mercer and an MI6 asset

Please see our recent statement on Mark Kennedy etc.

11.02.2011 17:33

The Real Facts Regarding Mark Kennedy’s Infiltration of Iceland’s Environmental Movement:

Saving Iceland Collective
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Not convinced

11.02.2011 18:18

Whilst I have always respected Solomon's research capabilities he is wrong to imply that Mercer’s activities started in 1989. His book about CND 'Peace of the Dead' was published before that and he must have been researching it for several years before that.

At the time there was an internecine battle between the 'wets' and the free market 'libertarians' and Mercer was in the latter faction which ultimately prevailed. Many of them went on to become MPs and even now ministers whilst the leader of the ‘wet’ faction, Nick Robinson, is now the BBC’s political correspondent.

Although Mercer denied that specific allegation, and media reports at the time note that the police never found any evidence to support it, it was later claimed in 'Scallywag' that he had unfettered access to GCHQ. I challenged him about this allegation when he was at a public debate in Derbyshire in about 1992. He replied that if his critics wanted to over-state his capabilities it didn’t particularly worry him. He added that, in his opinion, political research was better left to the private sector and that the only thing that irritated him about such an allegation was that it implied that he was not capable of finding out things for himself.

I am also not convinced that Mercer did or did not do 22 years ago is of any great relevance today. As I said earlier, if Mercer was to refer to things that we had done so long ago, we would be first to complain.

Cynical Chris

More about the Adam Smith Institute

12.02.2011 07:56

As the article notes, as well as being associated with Policy Exchange, Mercer actually worked for the Adam Smith Institute – a right-wing free-market think tank.

The Adam Smith Institute, abbreviated to ASI, is named after one of the founders of modern economics, Adam Smith. It espouses free market and classical liberal views, in particular by creating radical policy options in the light of public choice theory, which politicians can then develop. Its president, Madsen Pirie, has said "We propose things which people regard as being on the edge of lunacy. The next thing you know, they're on the edge of policy".

It was the primary intellectual force behind privatisation in the Thatcher era, and, with the Centre for Policy Studies and Institute of Economic Affairs, drove Thatcherite policy on privatisation, taxation, education, and health. Several of the Institute's policies have been adopted by the Major and Blair governments, and the ASI has also served in an advisory capacity to governments overseas.

The Institute currently advocates the free market by publishing books and policy proposals, advising foreign governments, calculating the British Tax Freedom Day, hosting speaker events for young people, and publishing a popular blog.

Dr Madsen Pirie, and brothers Eamonn & Stuart Butler were students together at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and delegates of the university's Conservative Association to the 1971 Conservative Party Conference. In 1973, they left Scotland to work with Edwin Feulner, who became co-founder of the free-market think tank the Heritage Foundation, in 1973. After their apprenticeship in the United States, Pirie and Eamonn Butler returned to Scotland in 1977 to found their own think tank, the Adam Smith Institute, set up with the help of Antony Fisher of the Institute of Economic Affairs. Stuart Butler is a conservative activist in Washington, D.C., remaining at the Heritage Foundation.

The ASI recruited Douglas Mason, another St Andrews alumnus and member of the university's Conservative Association, who did his most influential work for the Institute. Mason became one of its regular authors, and, in 1982, led the ASI's Omega Project report, which argued in favour of the compulsory contracting-out of most local services such as refuse collection, the replacement of the welfare state by private insurance, and further privatisation of public sector services and industries, including aspects of the police force.

The Thatcher era was the high water mark for the think tank movement, and with the IEA and the CPS, the ASI was one of three relied upon by the Thatcher government for policy. Unlike the CPS, which had been established by Thatcher and Keith Joseph, and the IEA, which focused on more theoretical matters, the ASI was well-placed to produce bold and direct policies. Despite this role, the Adam Smith Institute developed an iconoclastic reputation, cynical about politicians, but enthusiastic to engage with them. The Institute's relationship with Thatcher was not without troubles. Although Madsen Pirie was the architect of much of the privatisation policy, he had no emotional ties to Thatcher, nor did the ASI propose policies on a range of social issues, despite its Thatcherite reputation.

A proposal for the sale of the UK's social housing stock claimed that the "perpetual search for profitability" of private-sector owners would "[stimulate] them to discover and produce what the consumer wants" and that, in this way, the market was "more genuinely democratic than the public sector, involving the decisions of far more individuals and at much more frequent intervals".[14] The report's proposed scrapping of the existing local-government tax in favour of a per-capita charge was later implemented by the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, whose government introduced the poll tax in Scotland in 1989, and in England and Wales in 1990. The poll tax was disastrous for the Thatcher government and is widely seen as a complete failure which precipitated the downfall of her leadership.

Other policy recommendations for which Mason was responsible included the privatisation of the Royal Mail (The Last Post -1991); the introduction of charges in British public libraries (Ex Libris - 1986); the privatisation of the Forestry Commission; the complete removal of arts subsidies (Expounding The Arts - 1987); and the abolition of restrictions on drinking (Time To Call Time - 1986).

In 1992, the Institute founded a consulting company, Adam Smith International Ltd, which was "charged with overseeing the overseas work of the institute... [in] an attempt to capitalise on the growing international trend towards economic liberalization and marketization". While Eamonn Butler and Madsen Pirie were, as of 1998, members of the management board of both organisations, the management team of Adam Smith International and the Adam Smith Institute is now separate.

In November 1994, the Institute began a review of welfare reform, called 'Operation Underclass', aimed at methods of creating jobs for the long-term unemployed. Some elements of the programme were adopted by the government within months.

The ejection of the Conservative government in 1997 did not have as dramatic an effect on the ASI as some had anticipated. The Institute praised the government's welfare-to-work programmes, describing it as 'the most successful policy initiative of this century', while a month into the Labour government, during which time Labour had implemented the long-held ASI aim of an independent Bank of England, Madsen Pirie gave it a nine out of ten for performance. Eamonn Butler has ascribed this flexibility to who is in power to their role not being 'to be political or shout slogans', but to be 'policy engineers'.


And the Federation of Conservative Students

12.02.2011 08:38

Mercer is also believed to have been an active member of the Federation of Conservative Students while he was at university.

The Federation of Conservative Students (FCS) was the student organisation of the British Conservative Party.

In its final years it became known colloquially as "Maggie's Militant tendency", this being a reference to then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher and to a divisive group within the Labour Party . It was disbanded by Party Chairman Norman Tebbit in 1986 and replaced by the Conservative Collegiate Forum.

The organisation was created in the late 1940s to act as a bridge between the student movement and the Conservative Party, It was initially named the Federation of University Conservative and Unionists Associations (FUCUA). By the late 1970s the organisation had drifted considerably left of the Conservative party.

The policies of Margaret Thatcher had a polarising effect on British politics and the student left moved towards radicalism in their response to them. Many students' unions would pass motions instituting a policy of "No Platform for Racists or Fascists". Starting in the early 1980s, instead of a strategy of appeasing the left-dominated National Union of Students, the organisation adopted a more confrontational approach. Leaders, most notably from Scotland, started advocating "voluntary students' unions". They would organise campaigns aimed at disaffiliating individual students' unions from the NUS to weaken the block vote, and deprive it of taxpayers' money which the NUS used for various causes which the FCS believed were of no real benefit to ordinary students.

Posters and other publicity material, which had been bland to the point of being almost apolitical, became provocative and hard-hitting, and political tactics were often borrowed from their opponents on the left.

FactionalismIn its last years, the FCS, perhaps reflecting the debate within the Conservative party of the 1980s and the generally fractious nature of student politics, was notably prone to factionalism. The three main factions were:

An authoritarian faction
A libertarian, or "sound", faction
A wet faction

The authoritarian faction centred on the student Monday Club, and was known for its more traditional British nationalism, an isolationist posture in relation to foreign affairs, opposition to immigration, (as espoused by Enoch Powell), scepticism about liberal economics, and staunch support for the Union.

The Libertarian faction (the "Libs") was closely linked to the Libertarian Alliance run by Chris Tame, and the Adam Smith Institute, run by Dr Madsen Pirie. This is the faction that Mercer was involved with and, perhaps not surprisingly, Tame later gave Mercer a glowing review of one of his books.

The libertarian faction was the largest faction in the FCS in its last few years. Its overall dominance is illustrated by the passage of a libertarian motion in favour of free migration at the Leicester conference, shortly before the demise of the FCS, which was opposed by both the wet and the authoritarian factions.

Under Glendening, elected Chairman in 1984, the FCS became more controversial than ever as it embraced social libertarianism in addition to the already established endorsement of economic liberalism; issues such as supporting the legalisation of drugs were no longer taboo."

Many former leaders of the libertarian faction, such as Mark MacGregor, have gone on to hold senior office in the Conservative Party. Other notable members of "the Libs" were: Brian Monteith, Lloyd Beat, Marc-Henri Glendening, Marc Gordon, Mark Allatt, Robbie Gibb, Adrian Lee, Steve Nicholson, Douglas Smith, David Hoile, and Harry Phibbs. John Bercow and Andrew Rosindell were once also members, although they had also been part of the authoritarian faction.

The wet faction had controlled the FCS until the 1980s. Most of them were members of the Tory Reform Group (TRG). Despite a relatively high number of supporters and control of some large student bodies they only really gained influence within the national federation through controversial alliances with the authoritarian faction.

Many of the wet chairmen joined the SDP in 1981.

In many universities the TRG organised itself as a complementary political society to the main Conservative group. This is a policy that the TRG has maintained since, although the last of these societies, the Oxford TRG Society, merged with Oxford's Conservative Association in 2007.

In the 1980s the FCS was noted for being more radical than the main party, more Thatcherite than Thatcher - ministers invited to speak at conferences were routinely chastised for not going far enough.

The FCS was disbanded by Norman Tebbit, who succeeded Gummer as the party chairman. This was for publishing an article, penned by Harry Phibbs, following Nikolai Tolstoy's accusation that former Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was complicit in the forced repatriation of Serbian Cossack prisoners of war in the aftermath of World War II.


Re Mercer in Nottingham Greenpeace

12.02.2011 13:52

I am the 'excited' person who invited Mercer to join the Nottingham Greenpeace group. I am also the very same person who asked him to leave. I am surprised that the un-named ex Greenpeace activist, if he or she was so concerned about Mercer, did not mention his or her concerns to me. Unfortunately we have no firm evidence either way that Mercer did compromise a Greenpeace action but people on the action on the way back to the base did notice that he spent a lot of time baiting a policeman who was wearing a surfers against sewage wristband so it is highly likely that he did compromise the action. We can also suspect that the fact that Sainsburys were aware that we were going to have a presence outside their store during a GM in milk campaign was due to Mercer tipping them off beforehand. He also is probably the person who tipped off the police about the McDonalds in ASDA action as they thought the action was organised by Greenpeace. I hold my hands up to inviting Mercer to join the group but we all make mistakes. We did however get rid of him and since we had a photo of him that was later used by the Guardian in relation the the CAAT campaign then perhaps we helped in exposing him to a wider audience in the end.

Jane Burd

Well said jane, Nottinghams more active than most cities its size,is it our faul

12.02.2011 14:36

t they were infiltrated by Mercer? or a problem with other groups not publicising infiltrators before.Seems to be that nottingham might just be vgood at uncovering, so some people shouldnt be so smug. Lets have some unity please

Next you will be bringing up the miners strike, a short period in our history where nottinghamshire miners were deliberately paid extra for years before strikes as a tactic2split the NUM, sadly it worked thou there were many including notts miners who protested against UDM-Tory actions, some sadly still even kill each over it here. A strike made even more complex by the coldwar.
Nottinghamshire is a place were many people come together or split, a great shire with a world famous spirit

Little J

Mercer and Lord Chalfont

12.02.2011 17:36

Another interesting side of Mercer was his evidently close association with former Labour minister Lord Chalfont who wrote the foreword to his book about CND, Peace of the Dead.

According to the Independent, in 1964, when Alun Gwynne Jones (Lord Chalfont) was defence correspondent of the Times, after a visit to see Harold Wilson in Downing Street he was made Minister for Disarmament, and had been told to think up his title as a life peer. The report, from 1995 noted that the former minister for disarmament had become chairman of VSEL (builder of nuclear submarines and warships) and stated:

“It is easy to see why Lord Chalfont has been characterised as yet another idealist socialist who has slipped steadily to the right. Labour government minister in the Sixties; journalist on the New Statesman and Guardian in the early Seventies. Then the slippage began —board of IBM, a venture in the City, writing for the Times, then the job at VSEL and associations with free-market organisations. No wonder his old employer the Guardian slammed into him with a potted biography in 1993 that ended: “Most likely to say — ‘Bloody BBC pinkos’. Least likely to say — ‘Ban the Bomb’.”

Chalfont’s membership of the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies is alsof of relevance:

“From 1941 to 1944 he fought in Burma, staying on to take part in a series of anti-terrorist (anti-communist) campaigns. In 1961 he was a colonel and had been writing a series of articles on Soviet strategy in the Royal United Services Institute journal. After his brief career, which also involved negotiating the UK’s entry into the EEC, he became foreign editor of the New Statesman and a columnist for the Guardian, joining the board of IBM,a director of Lazard Bros., deputy chairman of the IBA (and since 1991, chairman of the Radio Authority), Computer Sciences Corporation and president of the UK Committee for the Free World, a propaganda organisation.”

Chalfont became a contributor to the (1981) International Terrorism: Challenge and Response, by Benjamin Netanyahu and Mekhon Yonatan, published by Transaction Publishers, along with Shimon Peres (then leader of the Ma’arakh opposition), Paul Johnson (who attacked Sartre and compared Franz Fanon to Hitler and quotes Dostoievsky, without noting he was put on trial for terrorism and blames the media) Hugh Fraser (Chalfont had been invited onto the board of Lonrho), Menachem Begin (then Prime Minister, who argued that the New Left were a western terrorism problem, that: “The New Left is one of the darkest reactions in human history, the evidence he gives for this is that he was a former “underground fighter”, who often tried to decide things by the “ballot” and when that failed “the bullet”), Henry Jackson, Richard Pipes (who traced terrorism to Nechayev for little other reason than he was Russian and served as a starting point for the idea that the Soviets were directing just about all terrorism), Brian Crozier (then the director of the Institute for the Study of Conflict, which by the time the book had been published had turned into the IEDSS, who also blamed the Soviets for funding all terrorism, Ray Cline, Robert Moss, Edward Teller, norman Podhoretz, Midge Decter, George Bush, Vladimir Bukovsky and several other ‘terrorism experts’. The collection was based on the Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism, organised by Netanyahu’s Jonathan Institute in 1979. The task of the conference was to “define the terrorist”.

Chalfont resigned from the Labour Party saying there was too much power in the hands of non-elected bodies, meaning not the monarchy, or the House of Lords, but the trade unions, arguing that real power and political influence passing out of the hands of government and into the hands of extra-parliamentary institutions. He also stated that “giant industrial concerns and big business were organising themselves to meet a threat to their very existence’.

Robin Ramsay’s and Stephen Dorril’s (1994) Smear, Wilson and the Secret State, (p.281) mentions Chalfont’s1976, documentary in this context:

“The anti-subversive lobby’s Brian Crozier was among those who appeared in Chalfont’s television psy-war programme, It Must Not Happen Here. Broadcast in January 1976, it ‘purported to show that the Communist Manifesto was being implemented bit by bit in Britain. Bert Ramelson, Stuart Holland, Ken Gill and others were named and Frank Chapple, Reg Prentice, Lord Hailsham, Brian Crozier of the Institute for the Study of Conflict, Woodrow Wyatt and Chalfont himself all spoke in support of this view.’”

A similar venture was the Television programme ‘Disarmament and Jimmy Carter‘, hosted by William F. Buckley, that was filmed in London and included interviews with Chalfont and Brian Crozier. A copy based at the Hoover Institution gives this summary:

“Our two guests approach things from different political angles, but both are serious students of the Soviet Union and of disarmament, and both are informatively apprehensive about America’s new President. Mr. Crozier: “I think he may be tempted to follow a path … of considering the strategic relations between the two superpowers in terms of military hardware and of nuclear technology, and of ignoring the other factors at work, including Soviet subversion … and the Soviet involvement by proxy, the most striking example of which is undoubtedly the Angola affair, in which some 15,000 or perhaps more Cuban troops were there simply to carry out Soviet foreign policy.” … Lord Chalfont: “I think perhaps the greatest reason for concern was the remark which you quoted,… that he proposed to eliminate nuclear weapons from the earth…. Arms control and disarmament is a highly complex business, highly technical, requiring a great deal of intellectual application, a great deal of experience, and quite frankly, anybody who thinks that he’s going to eliminate nuclear weapons from the earth in four years or eight years is, I think, living in some kind of fool’s paradise.”

And one of Crozier’s 6I′s campaigners was – you guessed it - Paul Mercer.



12.02.2011 23:53

While I have no problem at all about Greenpeace releasing this picture of Mr Mercer it does raise a slight problem. So far as I can see, that picture was taken on the pretext of getting members of the public to express their opposition to -- in this case -- Esso. This Mr Mercer did. But Greenpeace has retained this digital image which it has subsequently used for another purpose.

We complain bitterly when our pictures are taken by the police and argue that it is a breach of the Data Protection Act and a violation of our human rights. For Jane Burd to boast that she has, in effect, been doing exactly the same thing undermines our argument that it is probably illegal and certainly unethical. And is it going to help Greenpeace if potential supporters believe that any pictures of them are going to be retained just in case Jane Burd decides that they deserve to be published in the Guardian.

I am not surprised that ex-Greenpeace activist left!


Bartholomew’s view

17.02.2011 08:15

Richard Bartholomew has carried out an analysis of Paul Mercer on his blog which quotes the national media and Indymedia.

His conclusion is that Mercer is a serious player who should not be dismissed:

“Certainly, although Mercer’s analysis may be politicised and arguable, it’s clear that he has made some serious efforts with his researches and that his professional success can’t simply be dismissed as the result of self-promotion or bandwagon-jumping. Given the number of charlatans, fantasists, manipulators, and propagandists who pass themselves off as experts on extremism (some of whom have featured on this blog), it’s worth remembering that some more serious persons exist.”


Clouding the issue

20.02.2011 16:07

Looking at what has been said here and elsewhere, I think that we are missing the point and that by portraying Mercer as a ‘corporate spy’ clouds the issue.

Jane Burd’s frank admission that she has no evidence that he compromised either of the actions begs the question as to why she appears happy to let other people to make it. So far as I understand, the Sainsbury’s action went ahead without any difficulties and because the media had been informed it is not inconceivable that the store would have found out anyway.

I also fail to see the point that Jane Burd is making about the McDonald’s protest. From what I have read, Mercer took a leading role in this successful campaign. Local Greenpeace activists would have been involved and why would he have bothered to surreptitiously tell the police and falsely claim that it was a Greenpeace action? There was no advantage to him or the protest. It seems more likely that the police, if they had any inside knowledge, may have had access to a separate source inside Greenpeace Nottingham or that the media informed the store

Mercer’s has built his reputation as an ‘expert’ on ‘extremist’ groups through his books and other work. His information appears to come from open sources, contacts within these groups and occasional forays into our world. If you look back over the past 30 years, there are numerous protests that he has attended and occasionally even gets involved in the groups. It seems far more likely that, rather than being a low-level police or corporate informer, he is simply getting some hands-on experience of these groups to enable him to speak with added authority. For him, these are the geographer’s equivalent to a field trip.

There also appears to be an attempt to brand him an ‘agent provocateur’ but again the evidence seems to be lacking. An agent provocateur is surely someone employed by the police or other entity to act undercover to entice or provoke another person to commit an illegal act – as Mark Kennedy is alleged to have done. Mercer’s activities have clearly fallen far short of such an action.

In trying to brand Mercer as a ‘corporate spy’ also tends to hide his real significance. Clearly the Adam Smith Institute, Policy Exchange, BBC, Longman’s and even Global Open value his knowledge. What tends to confuse matters even more is that Mercer has some clear political views himself. His involvement with the ‘Libertarian’ FCS faction and his association with Chris Tame suggests that this is where his true politics lie. Various claims have been made that be is an ‘agent of the state’ of that he has ‘security links’ but the evidence is lacking. Even the ‘MI6 link’ (above) is only that he has worked with a journalist who was once used by MI6. Elsewhere, it has been noted that the picture (also above) of Mercer with the police is not him briefing them (as is the implication) but them arresting him. The fact that they appear to be TSG PCs and possibility an inspector would support this claim.

Finally, there is a danger in overstating his importance. Mercer does not appear to be a director of a company but merely a free-lance consultant with an autistic interest in non-parliamentary political groups. Like all of the ex-FCS ‘libertarians’ he is opposed to the state interfering in people’s lives (not a bad thing in itself) but sadly appears to have no problem with giving corporation an unfettered right to do so.

It is important to distil the facts down to what we are certain about – in CSI-speak to let the evidence speak for itself. If we allow ourselves to build assumption onto assumption we are likely to reach the wrong conclusion. Mercer is a pain in the arse; his research is tainted by a pro-corporate bias; and he has the ability to acquire and package information that appeals to his paymasters. But he is still just one individual and does not pose the kind of threat that we seem to believe.

Cynical Chris

See this debate for Pauls real attitude

14.03.2011 09:56

Paul talks about 7 mins in - to 14mins

Paul Mercer's PR agency

Er, missed the debate

14.03.2011 16:41

You’ve obviously not been following this debate which was stimulated by Mercer’s public appearance at a seminar organised by the Policy Exchange think-tank alongside Lord McLean and the former head of the police’s counter terrorism command.

As I argued on 20 February, Mercer is not some low-level ‘corporate spy’ but someone who is clearly regarded by the establishment as their in-house expert on radical groups. The fact that he was employed by the Adam Smith Institute, the BBC, Longmans and no doubt other institutions that we are not aware of, suggests that they clearly regard him as an authority on these matters.

Unfortunately he has not just been ‘exposed’ and as Richard Bartholomew rightly noted (see above), Mercer took the decision to express his views about the likelihood of anti-cuts disturbances. Essentially, he argued that they will only occur if the impact of the cuts are felt by a significant portion of the population; and that it will need the organisational skill of Trotskyist-led groups to organise the protests – neither of which seems to be too far from the truth. He also questioned whether the police had the ability to control a large-scale disturbance and, given the problems they had with the student fee protests in November and December last year, is probably not wrong.

This does not of course alter the fact that Mercer’s politics have always been on the libertarian right, that he has close links with Tory MPs and that he has always had an obsessive interest in radical groups.

Cynical Chris

Mercer spotted in Dubai

03.07.2012 06:46

The following article quotes Paul Mercer - director of the security risk-management company Whispering Bell in Dubai.

Hard to believe that it's not the same one.

Big Brother tactics to beat UAE criminals

Alice Haine
The National Jul 3, 2012

The summer holidays bring an opportunity to review your security measures around the home. Experts tell residents not to drop their guard when it comes to protecting their property, especially while travelling, and give some handy tips of the trade.

Abu Dhabi isn't London, and Dubai isn't New York. And when it comes to crime, most people are happy to have it that way.

But security experts warn against residents letting down their guard and suggest some simple precautions to keep property safe.

"Because of the level of complacency here thieves often get into homes simply because a resident has left the door open," says Paul Mercer, director of the security risk-management company Whispering Bell in Dubai.

"If we were all living back in New York, London or Mumbai, we'd be far more cued in to a normal security environment and we'd lock our doors and cars."

Mr Mercer advises residents to adopt basic security measures, considered the norm anywhere else in the world, such as locking all gates, doors and windows when they are out or asleep.

"Look at it from an opportunist point of view," he says. "If you lock the doors, the chances of a criminal smashing their way into the house is unlikely.

"They will find a place where there is easy access and an easy opportunity for crime - by its very definition they are taking an opportunity. All residents have to do to take away that opportunity is lock down their property."

For those leaving homes unattended over the summer, Mr Mercer recommends timer switches that turn on lights or a television for a few hours each night.




04.05.2015 20:16

You ok?

Should you see this, please give me a call. And this computer stuff is v confusing, x

mail e-mail:

Bunny Hill

30.05.2015 09:11

Hope you and family ok, need a word when you have time, glad all going ok, A

annie callander
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