Saturday, 12 September 2009

ACPO, Crapita, ACRO, NPIA, the CRB and the ISA - do they own us?

Disentangling the shadowy relationships between this series of non-accountable semi-private or private bodies is not easy. You have identified in your comments below that both Crapita and ACPO are set to benefit by the new bonanza of fees from the new compulsory PaedoChek® laws - but getting the information is another thing. All information on this topic has previously been blanked by government departments under an FOI exemption, such as this below;
It would not be in the public interest to disclose information that could prejudice the commercial interests of Capita, the CRB’s private partner. The current contract with Capita is due to expire in 2012 and work is now taking place to ensure that the necessary supplier partnerships are in place leading up to this time. Capita consider that release of this information may prejudice their interests when looking to re-tender for the contract.
And don't look to ACPO for any information - it claims FOI immunity on everything. ACPO in fact has its own 'Cabinet' as well as a full 'Council' that makes decisions about criminal records without any reference to our democratic representatives. And did you know that the government recognise that ACPO actually 'own' all the criminal records in the UK? I bet you thought since these had been paid for by our taxes that we, the public, owned them. Wrong. New key players on the scene are ACRO - the ACPO Criminal Records Office, and the ISA - the Independent Safeguarding Authority, who will collect tens of millions in fees for the others. The 'Independent' ISA is run by, erm, an ex-member of ACPO - Chief Executive Adrian McAllister. Here's a summary of how things work;
ACRO was created following an agreement by the ACPO Cabinet. Once ACPO Cabinet had agreed to ACRO’s creation the ACPO Council then agreed that all 43 forces would fund ACRO. Ministers were not consulted on the setting up of ACRO. When set up, ACRO’s purpose was to fill a gap in the ability of the police service overall to resource a range of police activities particularly the need to provide operational support and guidance to all police forces in England and Wales on matters relating to police records on the PNC and the linkages between such records, DNA and fingerprint information.

Your third questions concerned “permission” given by the Home Office for ACRO to use PNC data. Each force Chief Constable owns the information they put onto PNC for their force area. ACPO as a body represents all 44 individual forces in England & Wales and Northern Ireland, and therefore is the representative owner of all PNC records. The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) manages the PNC equipment and makes this information available, but does not own the actual data. ACRO, as part of ACPO can, and does, have access to all PNC records for the policing work that it provides to forces and other agencies. Its Police Certificates business is charged in a similar manner to other agencies that use PNC data for vetting purposes. This was done to ensure no unfair advantage was provided to any one agency or department.

The Criminal Records Bureau was set up under Part V of the Police Act 1997. This defined its role as the provision of criminal record certificates for individuals seeking employment in the United Kingdom. This remains the CRB’s purpose. The CRB was not consulted on the setting up of the ACRO Police Certificates service.
So you thought you could escape it all by leaving the country, eh? Well, not without a Police Certificate, you can't - issued by, er, ACRO.

King Charles I thought he could subvert Parliament by such mechanisms as 'ship tax' - taxes that could be levied without any democratic accountability. It cost him his head. If you're as disturbed as I am by the words "the ACPO Council then agreed that all 43 forces would fund ACRO. Ministers were not consulted on the setting up of ACRO" - and ask where was the debate in the House, where was the consent of our elected representatives in Parliament to all this, then you are asking the same questions that our forebears asked about three hundred and seventy years ago. It took a civil war to put that one right.

10 comments:

Blue Eyes said...

Mr R you are becoming increasingly paranoid and hysterical. Perhaps I should knit you a tin-foil hat?

Suppose for a minute that we had the kind of localism you campaign for. Do you think that the police chiefs would not collaborate on setting up systems to benefit from cross-compatability and economies of scale? Do you not think that the authorities would be mad not to outsource their projects to companies which know what they are doing and have a track record of doing things?

Or do you simply think that nobody should be allowed to cross the road without parliamentary approval?

Raedwald said...

BE - Please spare me your jejune and simplistic cod-analysis; you'd be better off spending your time studying for the exams you keep failing.

There's a concept with which you may like to become better acquainted - democratic accountability. That doesn't mean that police forces shouldn't share information, just that they should be democratically accountable in the way it's done. Neither ACPO, ACRO, the NPIA, the CRB or Crapita are democratically accountable. Yet they exercise powers that affect us all.

I really don't understand your crossing the road comment - it's delusional.

Witterings From Witney said...

Mr. R, you beat me to it. What is it about 'directly elected' and 'directly accountable' that some seem unable to comprehend?

Blue Eyes, you exhibit all the characteristics of someone from LaLa Land!

Blue Eyes said...

Ouch!

Raedwald said...

Ooops .... lol

Raedwald said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yokel said...

It is ACPO's claim to be "in equal ... partnership with government"+ that has worried me for a long time.

+ see http://www.acpo.police.uk

Anonymous said...

You were not at all harsh on the puerile BlueEyes, Raedwald.

A. Discerning-Blogreader said...

Blue Eyes has demonstrated once again why I stopped reading is blog several months ago.

Henry Crun said...

ACPO may well be able to claim immunity from FOI requests. However, as a limited company they do have to submit annual accounts to Companies House.

It doesn't cost much to get access to those accounts.