AWARDS 2011: Frontline Role Protecting Nuclear Power

18 January 2011

Sean Silkstone

Sean Silkstone

A former University of Derby student graduating this week has joined the armed police service protecting the UK's nuclear industry sites.

The Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) has around 1,000 police officers and staff based at its Oxfordshire headquarters and Training Centre, and at 15 civil nuclear sites across England, Scotland and Wales.

Its armed officers patrol and protect nuclear power plant sites, safeguard nuclear materials and waste while on site and in transit, and work with Home Office forces and local police authorities.

Sean Silkstone completed his Joint Honours degree course in Criminology and Sociology last summer (2010), and will graduate at the University of Derby's Awards Ceremonies with First Class Honours on Friday 21 January.. He joined the CNC last year and is now in a probationary period as an armed Police Officer, based at one of the UK's nuclear installations.

Sean, 25, said: "I've always wanted to be a Police Officer and have focused much of my academic life learning about the subject. However, after leaving University I found it difficult to find a police force that was actively recruiting.

"Then, while looking on the internet and at various police forums, I came across the Civil Nuclear Constabulary website.

"I'd never heard of the CNC before, but after a little research I saw how unique and interesting the job could be. A role in which to serve as a fully-fledged Police Officer, with great career prospects and an unrivalled salary, with the addition of being given weapons training in order to defend nuclear sites from terrorist and other threats.

"Not many people can say that about their work."

Sean successfully completed an intensive 16 week foundation course comprising topics such as counter-terrorism, police powers and the handling of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents; and which included a six week firearms course in using various weapons.

He added: "I'm now based at a coastal location and ready to fulfil the CNC's objective of defending and protecting sites from unauthorised access to nuclear material and, if necessary, to recover control of any nuclear materials which may have been lost to unauthorised persons."

Inspector Joanne Vance, Head of Learning and Development at the CNC, said: "The CNC employs individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds, from the military to graduates and individuals working across the private and public sectors. All have different skills and experiences to offer.

"Throughout his training course, Sean's knowledge and practical application was continuously assessed. He will now undertake workplace assessments over the next two years and will undertake two more courses before completing his probationary period."

Once Sean has completed his probationary period he could move onto a more specialist role within the CNC's firearms, intelligence, dog handling or marine escort sections.

Dave Walsh, Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Crime and Justice degree course at the University of Derby, said: "Sean was a first class student. His unusual choice of career only goes to show the wide range of careers open to Derby Criminology and Sociology graduates."

For further information please contact Press and PR Officer Sean Kirby on 01332 591891 or 07876 476103, or email

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