That's right, it is APCO Limited, a private company.
The Association of Chief Police Officers is in fact a private limited company, which for some totally unknown reason is funded with £10million grant from the taxpayer. It also trades, selling a "Police Approved" logo to firms producing security equipment, and trains private organisations in the use of security devices and equipment like speed cameras, etc. It is thus immune from the "Freedom of Information" legislation.
It is this private organisation which seems to govern the way we are policed and has a huge influence over the Home Office which is supposed to be in charge of our policing. More to the point, it is totally unaccountable to anyone other than itself although all those who attend its meetings do so as an official duty and at public expense.
The article in today's Mail on Sunday is well worth reading.
Now I have no objection to people of any walk of life gathering together to discuss mutual interests. As a professional engineer, I used to belong to the Institution of Electrical Engineers and occasionally attended its meetings. But I did so in my own time and at my own expense, and as far as I know the Institution didn't get a grant from the government.
When the new Home Secretary Theresa May addresses APCO this week, she should make it clear that the Home Office is in charge of policing, not APCO. She should also terminate their government grant; they apparently have something like £15 million in their bank account, so they should be able to get by, even with their lavish banquets, for quite a few years without further money from the taxpayer.
And perhaps she should prevent them from trading on the "Police Approved" logo, etc; if there is money to be made out of this, why isn't it being done by the government or individual police forces rather than by a private organisation which seems to have more control over the policing of this country than our elected representatives.
And whilst is is (hopefully) making changes, the government should perhaps amend the freedom of information act in order to bring within its scope not only this organisation, but any other that is supported by a substantial government grant. They are using taxpayers' money - why shouldn't the taxpayer be able to ask about their activities?
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