Sunday, 15 February 2009

ACPO and NPIA: Stop this rot

The Mail leads this morning with an expose of the shadowy activities of ACPO, a private body beyond the reach of public disclosure law run by senior serving police officers with the encouragement of the Home Office. The piece neglects to include the activities of the NPIA, which 'owns' the national DNA database. Together, these two organisations are developing a covert and unauthorised national police command structure with the connivance of senior civil servants in the Home Office.

Unsurprisingly, Shami Chakrabati pops her head up for a quote after having been silent on this until now. As she has been conspiciously silent on Geert Wilder's removal from the UK. I'm beginning to wonder if she's little more than a media popsie after all.

I blogged recently about the Chief Inspector of Constabulary's most recent 'evaluation' of our police forces, which assessed their response capabilities to national strategic threats and of course found them less than adequate, pointing towards a national police command structure as being needed to secure competence in this area. It's a bit like assessing the police's competence to tackle a beach landing by a Russian armoured division, and concluding on the basis of the assessment that what the police really need are tanks, heavy machine guns and ground attack aircraft.

Senior Home Office civil servants, HM Inspector and the senior police officers who make up ACPO and the NPIA are all working towards something that there's no evidence is needed or wanted - a national police force. ACPO's statement to the Mail is quite explicit on this point:

In times of national need ACPO, on behalf of all chief officers, co-ordinates the strategic policing response. ACPO is funded in part by the Government in order to collectively develop advice for them. Project work which ACPO undertakes on behalf of the police service is at the request of the Home Office and goes towards public protection against serious and strategic threats that can only be tackled above force level.
At a time when the public mood is seeking greater local direction and responsibility for the police, when Cameron has put elected police chiefs on his party's political agenda, and when there is involved public debate on the future role of the police, this stealth manipulation and shadowy growth of bodies far removed from public accountability must cease forthwith.

Again, I call for an urgently needed Royal Commission on policing. I would urge readers to do the same.


Anonymous said...

Been down this one before I think.

The argument ACPO/Home Office are putting forward are perfectly valid within a particular scope (which they do not choose to clearly define)

That scope - terrorism, and serious "organisied" crime would indeed be best addressed on a national basis.

However, in terms of what the police do for (or is it to) us these things have little relevance.

Most people's contact with the police is on a much more mundane level and requires a very different approach from the police.

These two requirements will never be successfully fulfilled by a single organisation.

I would be happy to see a national FBI type of organisation to work in a clearly defined range of duties and excluded from everyday "local" policing, which would be left under much smaller local forces, whose chief officer would be subject to local elections.

Very much on the US model, but none the worse for that

Anonymous said...

Shami, you may notice, has plenty to say on the fashionable civil liberties issues. But when race rears its head, she's either absent or tacitly backing more restrictions.

Liberty, as an organisation, has failed becaused it has abandoned its commitment to the defence of absolute liberty in favour of defending the bland mores of the liberal-left chattering classes. They'll defend to the death your right to call Thatcher a cunt but they're conspicuous by their absence when you want to say that Islam sucks ass.

TheFatBigot said...

Liberty has not "abandoned" even-handedness, it has always been the same. It was founded (as the National Council for Civil Liberties) to ensure the voice of the left was not suppressed by the police preventing union-led protests in the 1930s. Fair enough, they had a case to put and feared not being able to put it. A group to protect the right of free speech and demonstration was entirely appropriate.

But, it has always been a campaigning group to protect and promote free speech only insofar as that speech supports political causes and objectives of which it approves.

it's either banned or compulsory said...

What do you suppose ACPO will do with all their spare cash ?
I was just thinking about how America financed its undelared wars in Central America some years ago.