Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) officers in charge of guarding the UK’s nuclear sites, have admitted there have been 130 security breaches over the last five years.
Some of the breaches were considered ‘high risk’ and include a handgun going missing and the keys to Hinkley Point power station getting lost.
In July 2012, an unloaded handgun went missing from the National Shooting Centre in Surrey. It was reported to Surrey Police, but the force could not determine whether it had been lost or stolen.
In October 2012, confidential information was texted to an officer at Sellafield in Cumbria.
Another two incidents were identified as “medium risk.”
In November 2013, the gate access keys for Hinkley Point in Somerset were lost. All locks at the site were replaced and the keys were subsequently found there.
In February 2012, a force camera was stolen from the Sizewell site in Suffolk and never recovered.
Low-risk incidents included the loss of electronic equipment and papers, and windows being left open.
There were 21 separate incidents involving stolen or lost smartphones and identity cards last year, up from 13 the previous year.
Chief Constable Mike Griffiths said the CNC adheres to “stringent security regulations and protocols.”
“We remain committed to maintaining a security culture at CNC and ensuring any security breaches are kept to a minimum and dealt with swiftly and robustly,” he told the BBC.
Procedures were changed after the loss of the handgun “to ensure this could never happen again,” he added.
The CNC is responsible for policing 11 nuclear sites across the UK.
It has an annual budget of £100 million (US$132 million) and employs 1,100 armed police officers with access to eight different weapons systems.