The Government have established the College of Policing to protect the public and support the fight against crime by ensuring professionalism in policing. The college is a core element of the police reform agenda. It began providing services on 1 December 2012 and has already begun training the next generation of police leaders.
With the new college now in place, surely the Association of Chief Police Officers is now well past its sell-by date. It seems to spend more time protecting its members than helping the Government with their reform programme. Should taxpayers still be funding this organisation?
Most of the ACPO business area work has been integrated into the College of Policing. I pay tribute to ACPO’s work in ensuring a smooth transition towards the establishment of the college, which is very important. ACPO is a private limited company; it is not owned or controlled by the Home Office. It is therefore for ACPO itself to determine its future as a company. Home Office grant-in-aid funding to ACPO headquarters ceased at the end of 2012 when the College of Policing was established.
Undercover policing is extremely important. Does the Minister think that it would be improved, and public confidence in it maintained, by investigating the allegations that have been made about the identities of dead children in London being used as passports for police undercover names? Does he agree that improving standards in undercover training is one of the key elements of the College of Policing?
On the right hon. Gentleman’s last point, I absolutely agree. The College of Policing is there precisely so that we can improve professionalism in all areas of policing, and clearly that applies to undercover policing, which is, as he and the House will know, a particularly sensitive area at the moment. On his previous point, if he can be patient for just a few minutes my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is about to say something about that.