Theresa May to create new policing body


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The Independent Online

A new professional body for policing which will represent the entire service will be created, the Home Secretary said today.

Theresa May said the body "will develop policing as a single profession" and "act only in the public interest", adding that she also saw the need for a chiefs' council.

The announcement, made in a written statement to MPs, follows this summer's review of policing by Peter Neyroud, the former head of the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA).

But Mrs May said Mr Neyroud's recommendation that the new body should hold chartered status "will be an issue for the professional body itself to pursue when it has developed a body of evidence demonstrating it reaches the rigorous criteria required".

Mrs May said: "The Government is transforming policing for the modern age with the most radical programme of change for more than 50 years.

"At its core is a new professional body that will develop skills and leadership, enabling the drive to reduce bureaucracy and with greater accountability to the public.

"Together with directly-elected police and crime commissioners and the new National Crime Agency, this is a strong and coherent agenda for reform which will free the police to fight crime at the national and local level, deliver better value for the taxpayer and give the public a stronger voice."

In his review, Mr Neyroud said police officers should have to pay an annual membership fee to do their job.

Constables should pay a £50 annual fee while chief constables should pay £250 a year to be part of a national professional body for policing which would oversee standards.

He called for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) to be merged into the "head and heart" of the new body under the plans.

Entry-level qualifications should also be brought in for all police constables and, while qualifying, "many will provide visible patrol as special constables, reinforcing the public service ethos", the former chief constable of the Thames Valley force said.

The proposals would bring policing into line with other professions, such as medicine, by ensuring continuing annual licensing and minimum standards, the report said.

Speaking at the time, Acpo president Sir Hugh Orde said that "raising the status of policing to that of a profession, supported by a Royal Chartered Institute, will represent a step change for the service".

Mrs May also announced that the break-up of the NPIA will see its specialist operations centre and the National Missing Persons Bureau move to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and then to the National Crime Agency (NCA) once it is set up in 2013.

Work on forensics, crime-mapping and pathology currently carried out by the NPIA will move to the Home Office, she added.

As previously announced, a Government information and communications technology company will also be set up to take on responsibility for the "procurement, implementation and management of complex contracts for information technology" for both national and local services for police.