Tokra

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Tokra was a private security firm apparently set-up by Mark Kennedy, an undercover police officer who infiltrated the environmental movement for seven years until his cover was blown in October 2010. [1] [2]

The cross-over between police intelligence gathering and the private security sector raises some difficult questions about accountability and corporate policing.

Contents

History

An article by The Guardian, dealing with the undercover police officer Mark Kennedy reveals information about the private security sector. After leaving the police,

in February 2010 – a month before resigning – Kennedy set up Tokra Limited, at an address in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.[2]
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.[2]
In February last year, Millgate went from being a marketing manager to a director of Global Open. On 31 March, Tokra changed its address from Millgate's work address to one in Basingstoke.[2]
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.[2]


Sci-Fi Names for Private Security Firms

The fanciful name could have derived from a science fiction television series, Stargate. The Guardian tells us

Kennedy might well have seen parallels between his company's mission and the plot, which features the Tok'ra as an alien race symbiotically inhabiting human hosts. In their human guise, the Tok'ra fight a powerful, evil race who seek to control and destroy the planet.[2]
Last spring, Kennedy set up a second firm – Black Star High Access Limited – in east London. That company name also appears to have been taken from a television science fiction programme: Black Star is the name of a spaceship in Babylon 5.[2]


The revolving door between Police and Private Security

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." [3]

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.[2]
Last spring, Kennedy set up a second firm – Black Star High Access Limited – in east London.[2]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.[2]

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,[2]former director of Global Open [4]. 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".[5] 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.[5]


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".[3] See the Powerbase overview of the revolving door between the private security industry and the police.


Companies House Information

Tokra Ltd (Company No. 07150492) was established on 9 February 2010 and wound up in October 2010. [6]. It was originally registered to Heather Millgate's current business address:

36 Orchard Drive Linslade Leighton Buzzard Bedfordshire, LU7 2PL[7]

On the 13/03/2010 the address changed to:

Tokra Ltd Suite 2029 6, Slington House Rankine Road Basingstoke RG24 8PH [7]


Tokra Ltd was then wound up on 17/08/2010.[6]

The registration of Tokra Ltd created a link to Global Open. Heather Millgate resigned her directorship on 31 August 2008. She has now established a LLP with another solicitor, Ms Barbara Woodridge. The company Millgate Woodbridge Ltd, (No.07261650) is registered to:

11 Jacques Lane Clophill Bedfordshire MK45 4BS[8]

The company was registered on 21/05/2010 and the website was registered on 28/12/2009.[7]

Notes

  1. Indymedia UK,Mark Kennedy/Stone exposed as undercover cop, 24 October 2010.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 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
  3. 3.0 3.1 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
  4. Companies House, Global Open Annual Return 2010, accessed 19/01/11
  5. 5.0 5.1 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
  6. 6.0 6.1 Companies House, Tokra Ltd, accessed 17 January 2010.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Campaigns Security Following the paper trail 16/01/11, accessed 17/01/11
  8. Companies House, Millgate Woodbridge Ltd, accessed 17 January 2011.
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