Roderick Leeming

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Roderick Leeming, a former Special Branch officer, set up Global Open in 2001. The private security company keeps a "discreet watch" on protest groups for clients including E.ON.[1]


Contents

Global Open's Director and Former Special Branch

Rod Leeming, a director of Global Open, is a former Special Branch officer. Until he left the police in 2001, he admits he regularly infiltrated undercover operatives into protest groups in his role as head of the Animal Rights National index. The animal rights movement subsequently became one of the main focuses of NETCU, which polices "domestic extremism".[2] He told The Guardian that the company only advises firms on security and insists Global Open does not infiltrate activist groups. The newspaper concluded however that Global Open "appears to have access to well-sourced intelligence".[1]Global Open's tagline is "Be Aware. Be up to date. Keep the threat in perspective."[3] According to its website, Global Open can carry out a full security audit of an organisation's plants and offices from an activist's perspective.[4]


Undercover police officer Mark Kennedy and Global Open

Controversially, Mark Kennedy carried on his life undercover after he left the police, using his fake name and beginning work within the private security industry.

The nature of the links between Global Open and Mark Kennedy remain unclear. Leeming previously claimed never to have met or employed Kennedy. However, according to The Guardian it has been subsequently understood that Global Open had "offered to employ several ex-police officers, including Kennedy, who said he was hired by Leeming as a private investigator last year." [5]

Mark Kennedy set up his own private security company named Tokra. As researched by The Guardian

In February 2010 – a month before resigning – Kennedy set up Tokra Limited, at an address in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire. Calling himself a logistics officer, Kennedy registered himself as sole director of the company. Intriguingly, the address he used is the work address of Heather Millgate, a solicitor specialising in personal injury, and a former director of Global Open, a private security firm.[1]
Last spring, Kennedy set up a second firm – Black Star High Access Limited – in east London.[1]On 12 April, Kennedy applied for Tokra to be dissolved. Within a few days of that application, he resigned from the police. Tokra was finally dissolved on the 17 August. On 31 August, Millgate resigned as director of Global Open. Black Star High Access has not yet filed any records to reveal whether it is a viable, financial concern, but it is still active.[1]

Leeming did confirm that Tokra was set up for a "reason" but he could not say what it was – only that it was a confidential matter between Kennedy and Millgate,[1]former director of Global Open [6]. Connections between Kennedy's firm Tokra and Global Open seem to go beyond sharing company registration addresses. In an interview with The Daily Mail, Kennedy says "in January last year I was approached by a private company which advises corporations about activist trends. It’s run by Rod Leeming, a former Special Branch officer. I’d never met him before".[7] The article stated that Kennedy handed in his resignation from the police in January, ending work in March. He resumed his relationship with his girlfriend while he worked for Global Open as a consultant – although he says he did not operate undercover for the company.[7]


Transferable skills and alliances: police and private security industry

Questions have been raised regarding the ethics of "former police officers cashing in on their surveillance skills for a host of companies that target protesters".[5] See the Powerbase overview of the revolving door between the private security industry and the police.

Infiltrating the Campaign Against the Arms Trade

Rod Leeming and Global Open came to public attention in 2007 when it was implicated in the case of Paul Mercer, a friend of the then Conservative shadow defence minister, Julian Lewis, who was exposed by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade of spying for the arms firm BAE.[1] [8]

Directors of Global Open

Companies House records show Global Open was incorporated on 1 February 2001. Its directors are listed as Roderick Leeming, Alison Leeming and Victor Ash. Heather Millgate is listed as a former director.


Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Rob Evans, Amelia Hill, Paul Lewis and Patrick Kingsley Mark Kennedy: secret policeman's sideline as corporate spy The Guardian, 13/01/11, accessed 17/01/11
  2. LEADING ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST SENTENCED, ACPO press release, 25 February 2005.
  3. Global Open Website Home accessed 17/01/11
  4. Global Open Website Security Audit accessed 17/01/11
  5. 5.0 5.1 Rob Evans and Paul Lewis Green groups targeted polluters as corporate agents hid in their ranks, The Guardian, 16/o2/11, accessed 22/02/11
  6. Companies House, Global Open Annual Return 2010, accessed 19/01/11
  7. 7.0 7.1 Caroline Graham I've always respected the police. But the world of undercover policing is grey and murky The Daily Mail, 17/01/11, accessed 18/01/11
  8. Legal briefing, File:CAATvMercer-briefing.pdfCAMPAIGN AGAINST ARMS TRADE v PAUL MERCER & LIGNEDEUX ASSOCIATES, Leigh Day & Co. 18 April 2007.
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