Theresa May tells conference that the Association of Chief Police Officers was not accountable enough to decide the future of policing.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is an unaccountable body and its â€œmonopolyâ€ on policing is rightly at an end, the Home Secretary has said.
Theresa May (pictured) told the College of Policingâ€™s inaugural conference that the new professional body would have to be visible across the law enforcement landscape.
She said it had not been right that ACPO had held a â€œmonopolyâ€ on deciding the future of policing â€“ when it did not have the authority to speak on behalf of the entire service.
Mrs May told the Setting the Standard conference at Bramshill: â€œI expect to see the College providing dynamic leadership in the face of a wide range of challenges, including reducing bureaucracy, increasing officer discretion and driving the modernisation of the police.
â€œAnd to achieve this the College will need to be visible, not just to the few at the top of the police, not even just for the thousands working in policing but most importantly of all, to the general public, without whom the police could not be effective.
â€œSome of the Collegeâ€™s work used to fall to ACPO.
â€œBut ACPO was neither accountable to the public nor able to speak authoritatively on behalf of the whole of policing.
â€œSo it is right that the creation of the College ends ACPOâ€™s monopoly on deciding the future of policing.â€
Mrs May said by its very nature â€“ and eventual accountability to Parliament once legislated for â€“ the College would be far more transparent than ACPO had ever been.
She added: â€œThe College is accountable. Itâ€™s accountable through its board, with a far greater range of people from right across policing responsible for taking decisions about the way the College works.
â€œAnd it will be accountable to Parliament for the standards it sets
â€œThe College is inclusive. I have always been clear that the College is for the whole of policing: officers, staff, special constables and volunteers.
â€œThatâ€™s why some of you have seats on the Board â€“ giving you a direct say in the way in which the College is run. I know that Alex (Marshall â€“ CEO) and Shirley (Pearce â€“ Chair) believe passionately about your role in helping the College deliver its ambitious agenda.â€
Mrs May told the conference that the recent announcement on direct entry to the service for inspectors, superintendents and chief constables was necessary â€“ as quick promotions for bright candidates were â€œfew and far betweenâ€.
The Home Secretary said the service had suffered by imposing â€œheavy restrictionsâ€ through the rank-structure.
She added: â€œNo organisation benefits from placing heavy restrictions on the way in which individuals join, or the speed with which they are promoted.
â€œPolicing needs to be able to attract the brightest and best â€“ regardless of their background. It should not place artificial barriers in their way, preventing them from gaining rapid promotion or skipping ranks.
â€œI know that there are examples of people being promoted quickly within policing â€“ but they are few and far between. I know too that opportunities for promotion have in recent years been limited.
â€œBut the police need to be better at recruiting talented people and, when they are recruited, allowing those with the talent to gain promotion to leadership roles.â€
Meanwhile, Mrs May added that perspective was needed from police and crime commissioners on why resources were being moved from forces to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
She said the Hillsborough scandal clearly demonstrated the IPCC needed greater powers and resources to investigate. Mrs May plans to take investigators from Professional Standardsâ€™ departments and second them to the IPCC. However, the watchdog says its position remains that it would prefer financial help to extra personnel.
Mrs May said: â€œOne of the measures I announced was the expansion of the IPCC so that it is equipped to handle all of the serious and sensitive cases which require independent investigation.
â€œI know that some forces and PCCs are resisting the transfer of resources necessary for the IPCC to take on this bigger role.
â€œI want to say to them very clearly that the events of last year prove overwhelmingly the case for a beefed up IPCC and that is what Iâ€™m determined to deliver.
â€œThe expansion of the IPCC is on track and the IPCC will begin to take on additional cases from next year.â€
Home Sec: ACPOâ€™s â€˜policing monopolyâ€™ finished