I am today announcing that on 12 March we will commence the provisions in section 5 of the Policing and Crime Act governing collaboration arrangements in the police service and will also be publishing statutory guidance to support those provisions.
Commitments were made in Parliament during the debate of the Policing and Crime Bill that these revised provisions would be fully supported and clarified by the issuing of guidance. That commitment was reinforced in our recent White Paper, “Protecting the Public: Supporting the Police to Succeed”, and I am pleased to confirm our delivery on that promise now.
The revisions to the provisions in the Police Act 1996 governing collaboration arrangements for police forces and police authorities have been welcomed by the service. They provide greater clarity to the complex questions of how the service should make formal arrangements to work more closely together in order to deliver better, more efficient services for the public, while ensuring appropriate governance mechanisms are maintained and the responsibilities and duties of individual participants are upheld. These new provisions also include the new ability for collaboration agreements between police forces to transfer direction and control between chief officers, as appropriate for individual arrangements, as specified by the agreement.
The new statutory guidance supporting this legislation has been developed through extensive consultation throughout the service and has been endorsed by the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Police Authorities, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, the National Policing Improvement Agency and the Police Advisory Board of England and Wales, all of whom have made a significant contribution to its content. This statutory guidance is further supported by an electronic toolkit providing both statutory and more practical advice to police practitioners embarking on new collaboration plans.
Both the statutory guidance and its supporting toolkit will be copied to all police force chief officers, police authority chairs and chief executives and other key stakeholder organisations and individuals. The statutory guidance will also be made available from the Home Office website.