back to article Cops' quango to come under freedom of information laws

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the publicly-funded private company that wields heavy influence over policing policy, will be included in the Freedom of Information Act from October next year. The Ministry of Justice's announcement today follows criticism of ACPO's lack of accountability despite its powerful …

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  1. Britt Johnston
    Grenade

    real progress?

    That will drive up GMP a couple of notches, then. We need things like this to keep the nation going in hard times.

  2. asiaseen

    How many requests

    will be denied by ACPO on the grounds of national security or compromising current operations?

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Not too many...

      They have a year to shred anything juicy. After that, they will be careful. They also have a year for a culture change to not write anything down, or to use personal email instead of company email...

      Me a cynic? What caused that to happen?

    2. ElFatbob

      about...

      99%?

      "The post is required, and must contain letters."

  3. Sergie Kaponitovicz
    Megaphone

    Much a I approve this...

    .... was it debated in Parliament, or is this yet another ministerial rubber stamp (invented by Liebour) job? In other words, another pre-election gimmick? Such as the £billions investments announced in the past days for projects in Liebour marginals?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better late than never

    ACPO is an unaccountable, unelected, private members club and yet it issues "guidelines" time and time again which police forces simply follow.

    It is time this old boys' club is brought into line and is made accountable to parliament.

  5. My Alter Ego

    Not that I'm a supporter of the ACPO

    Especially since they sent me a flyer telling me that I should be scared of terrorist handymen & pest controllers:

    http://www.met.police.uk/campaigns/national_counter_terrorism/counter_terrorism_leaflet.pdf

    According to Sir Hugh Orde:

    "We are more than happy to be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Of course, most of our information is owned by chief constables anyway so it is absolutely retrievable..."

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmhaff/uc1006-i/uc100602.htm

    Of course, it possible (probable) that Sir Hugh Orde was telling MPs what they wanted to hear, and would then make up every reason under the sun to ignore the requests.

    1. asiaseen

      No, Mr Orde

      "most of our information is owned by chief constables anyway"

      It's owned by the taxpayers.

  6. Luther Blissett

    Function creep in reverse gear

    > Justice minister Michael Wills said: "ACPO's functions are concerned with providing leadership for the police force, improving policing, acting as a voice for the force, encouraging high standards of performance and development, providing the strategic police response in times of national need and other ancillary and related functions."

    And the functions of the ministers in charge of the Home Office and MiniJust are....? Right: to ply for trade as metaphorical hackney carriages.

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Subject to Labour still being in power of course.

    Election bribe, what election bribe?

    I hope whoever wins does implement it. Thumbs up (in principle).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    why

    october next year?

    what are the reasons for the long period of time?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is actually very sensible...

    Sure, they have a year to shred stuff. I'm sure they will. The point is that after that year, activities on issues like public photography, inappropriate stop 'n' search, DNA databases etc will open to examination. That transparency will force a change in ongoing police behaviour. No, it won't cause the past transgressors to be punished. If you required that, then this step would not have possible politically. Kudos the senior cops; they are trying to get an accountable structure in place which will force the politicians (government and police) who insist, behind the scenes, in all this invasive policing to become visible.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    18 months?

    Does it really need to take that long to bring them under a system they should have been included in from the beginning? Cue the leisurely sound of many brooms sweeping inconvenient debris under carpets.

  11. Neur0mancer
    Big Brother

    It doesn't take a genius

    to guess that they are going to get enron style on their records

  12. Alan Brown Silver badge
    WTF?

    Meantime.....

    ... The secretary of state has yet to make a SINGLE decision on non-gov org coverage in FOI.

    This is despite the FOI laws explicitly allowing such coverage for any organisation performing govt work under contract, where the govt would be expected to do the job if they didn't exist or if they claim to perform a regulatory function *AHEM*ASA*AHEM*ICSTIS*AHEM*

    It now comes down to the government having to explicitly add ACPO and others into the FOI because the Home Office won't do their job?

    FWIW I've asked for decisions on several occasions and been completely stonewalled with silence - even after having established a correspondence trail and received replies up to that point.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Why wait until next year ?

    They are public funded, so if they don't start complying with request NOW the pull the funding.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @My Alter Ego

    http://www.met.police.uk/campaigns/national_counter_terrorism/counter_terrorism_leaflet.pdf

    "We don’t believe any call is a waste of time."

    Oh, exploitable!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    nothing to hide....

    If you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear. Isn't that what they want us to believe?

    Now, they can demonstrate just how much they apply that maxim to themselves.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Frankly...

    ...I'll believe the positive effects of this initiative when I see them, and not before. The ACPO are masters of avoidance, delay, and obfuscation on anything that isn't in their own interests.

    A first move under these regulations might be to get the whole crew out of their Freemasons' Lodges and Old Boys' Clubs where so much policy is made - often in company with people whose unsavoury influence has little to do with public interest.

    As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, I don't think it's going to far to say that certain elements of the govt and police forces are now a far bigger threat to our democracy than any number of terrorists.

  17. Mike Street

    Why does it need a law?

    If Sir Hugh Orde is happy for ACPO to be subject to FoI requests, why does he need to wait for the law to change? He can answer them now.

    Why does he need a law to compel him to do what he is happy to do anyway?

    1. Alfred 2
      Thumb Up

      Agreed

      Mike is correct. There is nothing to stop ACPO providing information now. The FOI does not stop organisations giving out information if they are not covered by it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    The public wants to know

    citizen: we'd like to know what size jackboots you wear

    ACPO: hold on a minute, I'll give you a closer look

  19. Sam Therapy
    Alert

    @ Mike Street

    Because he was lying, perhaps?

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