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.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.
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.
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.