Posts Tagged ‘Association of Chief Police Officer’

I’m not talking or writing here about cruelty to children or even some sub-branch of the said society.

What NPCC stands for is the National Police Chiefs’ Council.  It belongs in the United Kingdom and whilst the name is new and the Council not yet operational, it is coming on 1st April 2015.

The NPCC is the body being created to take the place of the Association of Chief Police Officers or ACPO which has been around since 1948.

“Why should I care,” you may ask?

Well, every police officer of and above the rank of Assistant Chief Constable/Commander was a member of ACPO, which not only represented its members when it came to their roles and responsibilities but also directed the way the police should operate in this country and advise the government on the way it should tackle issue of national significance.

If you are wanting to cast an ACPO ranked officer in one of your stories, such as a corrupt or heroic Chief Constable (this IS NOT aimed at Sara Thornton or Hugh Orde- see below), you may wish to demonstrate your knowledge through reference to their role within ACPO e.g. the Lead on Organised Crime. This would be ok if your story was to be set in the past.  If however, it is due to be set post 31st March 2015, ACPO will be replaced by the NPCC and will need referring to as such.

Sir Hugh Orde stepped down as the President of ACPO and (the current) Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton has taken over as the lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council.  She was formerly the Vice-President of ACPO.  Sara ThorntonThe new President of the NPCC is elected for two years with a maximum appointment of four years, subject to satisfactory performance.

The ACPO press release assures us that:

“The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) will help police cut crime and keep the public safe, by joining up the operational response to the most serious and strategic threats. Focussing on operational delivery and developing national approaches on issues such as finance, technology and human resources, it will work closely with the College of Policing, which is responsible for developing professional standards.

ACPO’s core role of bringing together the expertise of police leadership to coordinate operational policing and agree national approaches in the public interest will be transferred into the NPCC. The aim is to develop a modernised and improved coordinating body that will be sustainable and effective in supporting policing in delivering at the national level for the public.”

According to the Police Federation, nothing but the name has changed, oh and the fact that the Metropolitan Police will “host” the new body, which will remain independent of the Force.  Parliament by contrast are pleased that there will now become a clear distinction as to the NPCC’s role of coordinating operational policing, whilst the College of Policing is now solely responsible for policy-making and best practice.

However, be careful not to confuse the NPCC with the NPoCC which is the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC).  This is a unit opened last year to coordinate police officers and staff from across UK policing to support forces during large scale events and operations and in times of national crisis.

So, will you be using ACPO, NPCC or will you not bother?

Coming very soon – the most comprehensive policing directory for writers and researchers in the world.

You read the other week about the Bobby Tax in London, now we have the Welsh Police Apprentices but what are they?

Skills for Justice, in partnership with the College of Policing, Association of Chief Police Officers, Welsh and UK Government departments and four Welsh police forces developed a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Home Office Policing for newly recruited Police Constables.  The qualification is also known as  ‘The Bridge.’

Skills for Justice

   The initiative is embedded within the pre-existing Initial Police Learning   Development Programme (IPLDP) that all new officers undergo.  It includes supervised and independent patrol and the apprentices have warranted powers, in line with any other newly recruited PC.

The Bridge includes work-based mentoring and classroom work towards Essential Skills Wales (ESW) qualifications and study towards employee rights and responsibilities.  The apprentices complete ESW qualifications in communications at Level 3, Information and Communication Technology at Level 2 and application of numbers at Level 2.

Justine Burgess, Programme Lead at Skills for Justice, said: “These qualifications recognise that the apprentices have the skills needed to help them perform competently and effectively in their roles as police officers in today’s society.”

Eighty-four new police officers from across Wales have now completed their initial training under the apprenticeship programme. There are 16 officers from Dyfed-Powys Police, 44 officers from South Wales Police and a further 24 officers from Gwent Police.

There are currently 231 apprentices enrolled on the programme across Wales and they are due to complete their apprenticeships between 2014 and 2015.

The big question is how on earth will this affect us, policing and the public at large?  Well now you/we will know that in Wales at least, cops know how to write, spell and count.  Believe it or not, this has been a problem in the service over at least the last ten years especially since text speak became the norm for many youngsters.

Cases have even been lost because of these basic incompetencies.

Don’t forget your copy of Writers, Researchers and the Police at an introductory price to the first 50 purchasers. For more information follow the image belowWriters, Researchers and the Police 2014 Cover

There are often reports in the media of police officers not maintaining the standards expected of them by both the public and the Police’s own Code of Conduct.  In the main, these are lower ranking officers from Constable up to Inspector ranks.  Their failings can centre around theft, assault, drug use and supply, perjury and a variety of road traffic offences.

To deal with such individuals, each force had units that investigated such officers.  The units were called Discipline and Complaints or Complaints and Discipline Departments or other derivatives of those words.  These have been replaced by the standardised term of Professional Standards Departments (PSD).  They tend to investigate or supervise investigations into complaints against the police, generally made by members of the public.  They can also investigate officers whom they suspect may be involved in any form of corruption or organise crime (regardless of whether or not a complaint about that officer has been received).  Some forces have now built Anti-Corruption Units to deal solely with this aspect, leaving the more “minor” matters to PSD or even local senior or middle ranking officers to deal with.

However, over recent years there seem to have been more and more police officers above the rank of Chief Superintendant dismissed and/or prosecuted for being involved in corrupt activities such as fraud and perjury.

A glance at the news relating to Chief Constables, Assistant Chief Constables and Commanders of the Metropolitan Police Service, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Cleveland Police will provide a few examples worthy of the crime fiction writer exploring.

What if your protagonist became aware of or embroiled with a senior chief officer of your chosen police force?  How could they have come across them?  Were they on the periphery of “unlinked” crime investigations such as organised drug or people trafficking or a paedophile ring?  Were they found to be “associating” with undesirable persons/suspects? What brought them to this place; did they feel owed, invincible, above the law or just downright cleverer than their staff?  Had they become indebted to the wrong type of person and that debt had been recalled?

How would their relationship develop?  Would the hero find themselves bullied and ostracised or the victim of some “random” attack?  Would the protagonist gain the support of colleagues or specialist investigators or will they have to seek help outside either the force or outside the police organisation all together?

What would the outcome be?  Who would survive to fight another day and who would profit or gain in the end? What would the role of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) be or would they somehow become implicit?

As a matter of historical fact, the IPCC reveal that between their inception in 2004 and 30/6/2010, they have received 55 complaints against senior chief officers.  Follow this link for more information.

See the following media reports for more ideas and information –

Don’t forget to get your copy of Writers, Researchers and the Police for an introductory price to the first 50 purchasers. For more information follow the image below

Writers, Researchers and the Police 2014 Cover

The policing family already includes police officers, police support staff, Police Community Support Officers, Special Constables and volunteers.  It appears that family is soon to grow a little larger once West Midland and Surrey Police have completed their procurement process to find someone to outsource services to by 2013.

Brought to the public attention by the Guardian on 4th March 2012 is the news that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) approves of this move to bring in outsiders to conduct criminal investigations, patrol neighbourhood and detain suspects.  They also suggest that all other forces in the country will follow to some degree in the coming years of tight budgets.

They report Greater Manchester Chief Constable (CC) Peter Fahy, who is also the ACPO Lead on Workforce Development, as saying that only “radical and fundamental” change would allow forces to cope with the “enormous challenge of the financial cuts” and maintain the protection of the public.  There were elements in a criminal investigation that did not need to be done by a police officer. (There is no reason why) others could not help protect the public and bring offenders to justice.”

They add the support of former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Lord Blair, who says that “swaths of police tasks’ do not need to be carried out by fully trained officers. These include guarding prisoners, searching woodlands, preparing routine witness statements and providing intelligence analysis to murder inquiries.  “Many forces have employed their own non-police staff to undertake this sort of task but have been unable to do so in sufficient numbers because of the need to employ a fixed and ever increasing number of officers within a fixed budget.”

He also points out that the outsourcing “would allow the private sector to provide staff who can carry out routine and repetitive tasks at cheaper rates and, perhaps most intriguingly, to provide temporary access to skilled staff – such as murder inquiry teams – which can be hired for incidents that are rare in most forces but for which all forces must permanently retain a group of very expensive staff. This would then allow the chief constable, satisfied that he or she has commissioned these kind of services at a cheaper rate, to spend more of the budget on those parts of the service that require, because of their complexity, their impact on public safety or their centrality to the police mission, to be carried out by fully warranted officers,”

Scientologists peer out of the Church of Scien...

Image via Wikipedia

In an attempt to calm public concern, CC Fahy pointed out that private security staff were already patrolling public spaces and managing major public events, licensed by local authorities: “Private staff monitor CCTV covering public space, private companies transport prisoners to and from court and store detectives detain shoplifters.”

The intention is to ensure that highly trained and professional police officers were spending time on activities which require their skills, expertise and values. He added “While there are a number of tasks in a criminal investigation, such as gathering CCTV evidence or checking phone records, which do not necessarily need to be done by a police officer, the investigation itself would be overseen by a police officer in much the same way as a doctor oversees treatment of a patient although other healthcare professionals carry out particular tasks.”

However, not everyone is so agreeable to the proposals.

Bob Jones, Chair of the Finance Committee of the West Midlands Police Authority, was one of five members of the police authority who voted against the (privatisation) trial.

Lynne Owens, the Surrey Chief Constable ruled out the use of private firms to patrol neighbourhoods: “Any suggestion that a private sector company will patrol the streets of Surrey is simply nonsense. It would be no more acceptable to the public than it would be to me.”

The Police Federation warned that it was “an extremely dangerous road to take”.

But on the other hand, a Home Office spokesman said: “We are determined to do anything that will help the police to become more efficient and better able to fight crime. We have been very open in our support for the police in taking these decisions.”  So it will probably happen regardless of any fears people may have.

The question is, how will this affect your novel.  It could in theory get some private individual, with no current police training or authority to get deeply involved in some complex and/or nasty crime and investigation.  Could that someone be another Miss Marples?

If the doctor analogy quoted by CC Fahy were to follow along the same lines though, would nurses be involved in the more complex issues that supposedly remain the responsibility of the GP and save a village or small town from some life threatening virus?

Just as the Crime Writing Association’s “Murder Squad”

tour the country providing advice to aspiring writers of crime fiction, could there be a private Murder Squad brought in by the local police force to handle their first murder in 30 years (I’m not sure where that may be as every force has them more frequently than that)?

The choice is yours. You may well manage to get one of your novice/private detectives into real policing activities in the not so distant future.  How come they don’t feature in science fiction or do they?

Don’t forget to book your place on the Crime Fiction – Making it Real weekend workshop March 2012

English: Picture of Bramshill House (now a pol...

Image via Wikipedia

Only 40% of Chief Superintendents that apply to go on the National Strategic Command course at the National Policing Improvement Agency‘s (NPIA), National College of Police Leadership at Bramshill, Hampshire manage to get through the pre-selection process and onto the course.


Successful completion of the course is a pre-requisite of them gaining promotion to Assistant Chief Constable (ACC and the Association of Chief Police Officer (ACPO) ranks).


In the old days, much of the 9 week course was spent looking at the management of a Force and its operational issues from a strategic point of view.  This year however, the changing economy, harsh cuts in public spending and a reducing workforce has led to the course being adapted to help equip the chief officers of the future with the skills they’ll need to manage their Force through further hard and lean times to come.


The current 34 delegates from around the country spend two-weeks on Exercise Willow and are posed difficult and complex questions by others including forces such as Hertfordshire, Northumbria, Warwickshire and West Mercia along with all of the Welsh forces.


In some cases, these are real-life problems being faced by those forces.  The delegates are supported in their problem solving by representatives from the superintendents Association, Police Federation, Unison, Black Police Association, Gay Police Association and the Association of Special Constabulary Chief Officers.


The four-candidate syndicates then have to provide an explanation for their decisions and thinking around issues such as outsourcing and collaboration to a panel that consists of a Chief Constable, members of their command team, a member of the Police Authority and a HM Inspector of Constabularies HMIC).


Each of the delegates quickly realises there is a significant difference between running their own department or Basic Command Unit and managing a whole force.  In addition, when they do reach the ACPO ranks, they also have a national ACPO portfolio to manage.


So it’s no surprise really that a Chief superintendent with a “good old coppers” background should be seen as a different animal when they get back from their Strategic Command course.  Once they were down the pub with the lads, bumping their gums about the Police Authority and politicians and the next, they seem to be in bed with them, sharing their views and aspirations; turning their backs on “good, hard-working coppers”.


No wonder conflict can manifest between the gritty operational investigator and the desk bound political “puppet” they once considered a good egg.   The trick is to use it in your novels and have a reason for its existence.  Hope this provides an idea of where it can come from.

Don’t forget to book your place on the Crime Fiction – Making it Real weekend workshop March 2012

English: Picture of Bramshill House (now a pol...

Image via Wikipedia

Bramshill is the name of the police college in Hampshire, owned by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA).  It is there that top cops (those of and above Superintendent level) get their training on how to run major investigations that span force boundaries and how to manage their own policing command unit or force.

The centre also provide training to senior cops from all over the world so you could always manage to create links between top British cops and their counterparts overseas.  This will aid an international element to your stories.

Don’t forget to book your place on the Crime Fiction – Making it Real weekend workshop March 2012

National Policing Improvement Agency

Image via Wikipedia

Many, many years ago there was no standardised approach to the training of police officer recruits.  The shortcomings of such became more evident when there was a greater need for officers to be able to work in other force areas.  A constable in an English or Welsh force has the authority to use any of their powers throughout England and Wales at anytime of day or night; on duty or off-duty.


There have been many reviews of police training and in the early 2000s it was decided to introduce a new standardised training programme called the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP).  The outline of the programme was devised and owned by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) but the content was written and owned by the individual police forces.  As a consequence, whilst there is a national programme, not all of it is mandatory and not all of it is designed and delivered to the same standard.   This means that officers in London, may actually receive different training or emphasis on training than some of their colleagues in other parts of the country.  Hence, some criminals that are prepared to travel across county boundaries are likely to come across inconsistencies in the way the police enforce certain laws.


In the 1980s, one Chief Constable declared that in his county there was no problem with illegal drugs whilst his peers were suffering considerably through the availability of them.


When asked how he had managed to suppress their existence in his county he stated that he had no idea.  His underlings knew all to well, it was because he had disbanded the force drug squad and chosen not to focus any of his resources on illegal drugs. Hence, there was no intelligence gathering so no idea as to what was out there and no enforcement to prosecute those responsible.  Thankfully, he retired many years ago.


To compound matters further, in line with government policies, most forces award their new officers with some kind of qualification in recognition of the work they have undertaken to learn how to do the job.  The level of this qualification has varied across the country with some officers gaining National Vocational Qualifications at Level 3 or 4, others being awarded foundation or full degrees.


This is about to change in the future once there has been widespread agreement at the Association of Chief Police Officer (ACPO) level as to what are the minimum requirements of any initial training course for recruits to the service.  This is in itself compounded as each force adopts various entry routes into the job.  In some forces, candidates for recruitment have to have gained a qualification first of all before they can even apply to join the police.  In other areas, potential recruits must have served as a Special Constable for at least 2 years.  Thankfully in most areas, theer has been a freeze on recruitment due to budget cuts.  This was anticipated to last for around 4 years – enough time to develop and implement a standardised approach.  However, some forces have actually started to recruit officers once again and so have had to go down their own programme route.


Even though one cop may well look just like any other across the country, they may not have been taught the same things or trained to the same level.  It may even be their first day on the streets, fresh out of the training school.