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National Policing Improvement Agency

Volume 542: debated on Monday 26 March 2012

I undertook to update the House on the transfer of the National Policing Improvement Agency’s (NPIA) critical functions to successor bodies.

On 1 April, the Central Witness Bureau, Crime Operational Support Unit, the National Missing Persons Bureau, Serious Crime Analysis Section and Specialist Operations Centre will transfer from the NPIA to the Serious Organised Crime Agency, an important pre-cursor organisation to the National Crime Agency, which will become operational in 2013. These are the first operational areas to move to a successor body; a signal of their national importance in this special year.

Work is continuing on the development of the police professional body and the new police ICT company. I will update the House as plans for these bodies are confirmed.

I envisage that the NPIA functions transferring to the professional body would include, among others: learning, development, strategy and curriculum; authorised professional practice; exams and assessments; the international academy; the National College of Police Leadership; uniformed operational support; some specialist training; and the Criminal Justice and Local Policing Unit. I see the police professional body as being the holder of a body of knowledge for the police service and the transfer of key aspects of the NPIA’s research, analysis and information unit will help to establish this ambition.

Turning to plans for other NPIA functions, I intend:

To transfer to the Home Office responsibility for the NPIA’s Police Science and Forensics services; policy for police special constables; the NPIA’s Automotive Equipment Section; management of the contract for the Airwave radio system and its replacement (including associated staff); some policy responsibility for police work force strategy (though some will also sit with the new professional body and will have an important role to play in relation to the work force); the secretariat for the reducing bureaucracy programme; and the National Police Air Service project team (which will continue to report to Chief Constable Alex Marshall) These functions, together with those I outlined in my written ministerial statement of 15 December 2011, will transfer into the Home Office in autumn 2012.

To transfer to the Home Office, as an interim measure, Hendon data centre services (HDS) in autumn 2012. This temporary move will provide continuity for many of the police service’s critical national identity systems.

To transfer the NPIA’s Proceeds of Crime Centre to the National Crime Agency when it is established in 2013. The NPIA’s statutory powers to train, accredit and monitor financial investigators remain priorities, and, in due course, I intend to bring forward legislation to amend the Proceeds of Crime Act to allow for these responsibilities to be passed to the NCA. In the interim, I will ensure the important work of the centre is preserved until the NCA is fully operational.

For the police professional body, once established, to continue the NPIA’s existing and important relationship with the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism and the Home Office-funded Police National Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Centre. The Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism will continue to provide management support and oversee the CBRN centre budget after the creation of the new body.

I will continue to update Parliament as we make further decisions on remaining functions, the future of the NPIA estate and the creation of its successor bodies.