Sunday, 23 January 2011


There has been little comment from ACPO regarding the debacle of undercover police officers going native and being outed in the press. There is a bland release on the ACPO website from the President of ACPO, Sir Hugh Orde (pictured above.) All this says is that ACPO support a reform of the current system.

ACPO PLC is not a staff association. It is largely funded by the Home Office and the Police Authorities and its main functions are to develop policy and provide advice to the Government on policing matters. ACPO also  makes significant amounts of money from private enterprise. For example, they made £18 million last year from CRB checks. One has to question why ACPO were allowed to take on this money making enterprise while other loss making functions, such as Airwave, PNC etc. have been dumped on the NPIA.

It would appear that ACPO have failed dismally with the national co-ordination of specialist and high level undercover officers. The poisoned chalice is now being passed to the Met and will undoubtedly move to the National Crime Agency, when that organisation is set up from the ashes of the NPIA etc.

It will leave ACPO with the police national information and co-ordination centre, national community tension team, and the vehicle crime intelligence service known as Truckpol. I think we should have a good look at all these other functions and consider whether or not ACPO PLC is the best place for them. Moving the lot to the National Crime Agency, including the profit making CRB checks, would seem to be sensible. We can then stop the £15 million Home Office grant to ACPO and it can disappear into the ether, never to be missed.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Civilianisation at its best

It's been a while and I have been meaning to post a few comments regarding some current issues. I may get around to it yet.

I have previously criticised police forces for the apparent ambition to attain a 50/50 balance of police officers and police staff. Some forces have exceeded 50% staff. The argument has always been that police staff are cheaper and therefore we get more for our buck.  My argument has been that whenever we replace officers with staff we always have to employ more staff than officers and so there are no savings. I also argue that police staff don't understand the business of policing and cause inefficiencies because of this. I wanted to relate a couple of stories, in a light hearted way, to emphasise some of the problems. These are true stories from my force.

A former police officer, who is now running his own business, was fed up with the milk being delivered to his office being stolen. He got up early one day and waited and caught the offender. He marched them round to the police station which was only 200 yards away. The civilian at the front desk has been trained that if anyone comes to the police station to report a crime they are to be told to go to the phone in the front office put there for this purpose. The phone is a direct line to the crime recording bureau who take the details and give the victim a crime number, offer them victim support etc. The victim in this case repeatedly made the point that he wasn't just reporting a crime, he had the offender in custody. He got nowhere with the person on the desk and eventually rang the crime recording bureau. An hour after he first arrived at the police station, a police staff manager eventually realised that perhaps this was an exceptional case and a police officer would have to be dispatched to deal with the offender. The trouble was that there wasn't one at the police station and the victim had to wait another 20 minutes for a police officer to arrive from another town.

The second story is about a motorist who rang the police (rightly or wrongly) to report a problem in the road.

Motorist. "Hello, I have found a large hole in the road. It is dangerous and might cause an accident."
Operator "Hold on caller. I will put you through to someone who can help you."
The phone is transferred and answered. "Hello, lost and found property. How can I help you?"