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Overhaul of ACPO is needed, independent review states

PoliceThe independent review into the Association of Chief Police Officers has called for an overhaul of the national policing body.

The make-up of ACPO, which as things stand is a limited company, is “inconsistent with public accountability” said a report by General Sir Nick Parker. The report also describes ACPO’s structure as “complex and unorthodox” and says it is unclear how many of its 300 working groups are “relevant”.

Most of ACPO’s funding comes from Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), who asked Sir Nick to examine whether ACPO provided “value for money” and if its structure and work were “appropriate in the context of a changing policing landscape”.

Sir Nick’s report is meant to advise PCCs, who will produce their own report outlining their plans on 21 January.

Neil Bowles, chairman of South Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “I agree we need to have a system to harmonise policies and forces working together across the country – but do we need ACPO of the College of Policing?”

According to the report, ACPO currently costs £4.2m a year – £1.2m for running the organisation and £3m for “national policing units” such as the National Police Co-ordination Centre.

Sir Nick’s report says these costs are “necessary” but there is “scope for change to increase efficiency and effectiveness”.

Sir Nick said that ACPO should be scaled down to a Chief Constables’ Council, with a full-time chair, to act as a focus for leadership in the service.

He said the new organisation had to identify alternative governance and funding arrangements as it moved forward. Unlike ACPO, Gen Parker stressed that it should not be a company limited by guarantee.

ACPO Vice-President Chief Constable Sara Thornton welcomed Gen Parker’s recommendations, adding that chief officers would also now be studying them in detail.

She said: “We note the value he places on Chief Constables’ Council as the focus for command and leadership, his proposals for strengthening governance and that he finds current arrangements offer value for money.

“Chief officers agree that the role played by the Association of Chief Police Officers in bringing together police leaders at the national level, to coordinate and support the operation of local police forces is an important and valuable part of policing.”

Date posted: November 25, 2013

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