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Police Professional Body

Volume 548: debated on Monday 16 July 2012

In December I set out plans to establish a professional body to increase professionalism in policing. In March I announced which of the National Policing Improvement Agency’s (NPIA) functions would transfer to the new body when the agency closes in December.

I can now update the House with further information about the College of Policing, the professional body for policing.

Its mission will be to safeguard the public and support the fight against crime by ensuring professionalism in policing.

The College of Policing will protect the public interest, enhance policing standards, identify evidence of what works in policing and share best practice. It will support the education and professional development of staff and officers and it will motivate the police and partners to work together to achieve a shared purpose, including taking a major role in shaping the work of the higher education sector to improve the broader body of evidence on which policing professionals rely.

It will place officers and police staff members at the heart of the profession, helping them exercise discretion and solve problems to fight crime, including by stripping away burdensome bureaucracy and trusting the judgment of skilled professionals.

I am seeking to create a body that will operate independently of Government. During the interim, while we prepare the necessary legislation, I am aiming to establish a company with the intention of replacing it with a statutory body.

A board will oversee the work of the new body and will comprise police and non-police representatives. Democratically elected police and crime commissioners will be represented on the board and the non-police service representatives will ensure the body serves the public interest.

My officials will shortly begin the process of appointing an independent chair of the board. The chief executive will be an experienced senior police officer.

Those NPIA functions transferring to the new body later this year will do so with their allocated budgets until 2015. I will consider future funding options with the board of the professional body once it is established.

The current role of all Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) business areas in developing national standards and police practice will come within the responsibility of the College of Policing. In future, the business area leads will form the core of the College of Policing Professional Committee, chaired by the chief executive, and they will work co-operatively with both the College of Policing and with Chief Constables’ Council in the interests of the police service and the public. As the College of Policing develops there will be greater integration with the work of the business areas.

There is no plan to require individual officers and staff to pay to be members of the College of Policing, for their training or to sit exams. These are issues which the statutory college may consider in the future. The college will not issue any licence to practise policing.