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Friday, 14 May 2010

The battle to come with ACPO

Nick Herbert (Magdalene), the new Justice Minister with responsibility for police reform, will have to hit the ground running to counter a determined campaign masterminded by ACPO's capo dei capi Hugh Orde to oppose the introduction of accountability for the police force.

ACPO itself operates in a shadowy and unaccountable world away from the daylight of public scrutiny and democratic control, moving its own levers of power to secure the creation of a national police force in the teeth of a public who want their police forces to be both local and accountable.

Herbert must take the bit between his teeth and tackle ACPO directly, either abolishing it or putting it on a statutory footing with control through Parliament. Leaving ACPO intact will be leaving a powerful and well-equipped enemy in his rear as he tries to realise democratic accountability amongst the nation's police forces.

We wish Mr Herbert well. In his jazz-loving Secretary of State he has an ex-Home Secretary and a QC with substantial gravitas and experience enough to counter Orde's coming accusation that Cameron's government is dealing with matters they don't understand.


Chuckles said...

Abolish them immediately. And investigate them to the hilt. I'm sure there are a LOT of ahem interesting titbits just waiting to be uncovered.

Mrs Rigby said...

If sites such as Insp Gadget indicate a true picture of feelings within the force, they'd be delighted to see things rolled back and would support a dilution of ACPO authority. It is, after all, only a 'company'.

Percival Pelican said...

An excellent test case for the 42 days detention without trial for the lot of them while officers with integrity (yes, they do exist) go through their activities with a fine-tooth comb.

Crime Analyst said...

Sir Hugh Orde, the President of ACPO, complains that the police would become "politicised", when the elected commissioner proposals come to fruition. Yet ACPO has spent years behaving in a quasi-political way, making statements intended to support this government policy or undermine that one.

ACPO – a private company funded by the Home Office together with contributions from police authorities – yet it is totally unaccountable for what it does.

ACPO - rank officers can be found at Home Office press conferences and they are up to their necks in politics. Sir Hugh's intervention is itself overtly political. So it is a bit rich for him to complain about the politicisation of the police.

ACPO is a self-perpetuating oligarchy where all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few that allows different people absolute power over certain aspects of the machine.

Members of an oligarchy achieve their leadership through selection from within the already established members. Therefore, an oligarchy is actually a form of shared dictatorship in which the people have a limited role in its government.

Even though it gets a state subsidy, ACPO is run as a private business with an annual income of around £18 million. Sir Hugh has £140,000 a year plus a police pension.

ACPO'S growth has taken place without any parliamentary debate and without being subject to public scrutiny, and its decisions are largely taken in secret.

ACPO has also been involved in blatant party politics, has enforced excessive “multi-cultural and diversity” programmes amongst
police forces across the country - all funded of course by the British taxpayer. The time has come for this unelected, unsupervised and powerful body to be brought to heel and replaced with a legislatively-controlled organisation which can be called to account for its activities.


Sir Hugh Orde criticises the lack of leadership over this issue, saying: "There is no political enthusiasm whatsoever to even raise this at a discussion level"

Perhaps they are suspicious of his motives. More accountability would throw the spotlight on ACPO, it's value and its function.

Would ACPO and Sir Hugh stand up to scrutiny?

There are 349 members in ACPO, perhaps he feels insecure in his position? Could this have an influence on his decision for fewer
forces? Would local authority accountability render ACPO and the invisible police authorities as obsolete and expensive mechanisms that have outlived their usefulness?

There would be obvious benefits in fewer forces, but clearly there would be downsides too. Centrally accountable organisations
have not worked in practice. There are cost saving benefits, but these would be offset by the imposition of national policies that do not always transfer well on a local level.

ACPO is a company limited by guarantee with no shareholders to answer to. Examination of the most recently posted accounts at
companies house make interesting reading. They show surplus funds of £2,813,167. If ACPO have almost 3million in reserve, surely
the best investment of those funds would be on equipment that will help protect the lives of the front line officers.

We have just completed an in depth report "TOO MANY CHIEFS?" that looks critically at the ACPO/Senior Officers mis management and profligacy within the service.

Feel free to drop by, your insightful commnents would be most welcome!

Steve @ The Thin Blue Line