ACPO makes £18m from criminal records checks

Until this moment, I had naively assumed that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) was an official body, funded by the Home Office to co-ordinate policing policy. Well, guess what? It’s a nice little privatised earner, as this Telegraph report suggests.

Concerns have been raised that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is being run as a private company and as such escapes many of the rules that ensure public bodies are accountable.

Nevertheless it has been taking on an increasing role in advising the government on strategies to fight terrorism and organised crime.

The ‘not for profit’ company does not pay dividends to shareholders but its accounts show ACPO has built up £15.8m in assets, including £9.2m cash in the bank on a turnover of £18m.

It has emerged that the association is charging between £35 and £70 for criminal record checks for US visas which used to cost £10.

It also markets a service to endorse crime prevention measures which made £225,000 profit.

The money comes on top of £15m received from the Home Office for the “co-ordination of the national police response to terrorism, organised crime [and] large operations such as the Suffolk prostitute murders” according to its accounts and payments for its involvement in arranging the “use of police cells across the country to house prisoners”.

Its president, Sir Ken Jones, the former Sussex Chief Constable, earns £138,702 a year along with £30,000 pension contributions on top of his police pensions.

Other former chief constables head up different subsidiaries and the overall wage bill comes to £1.4m for 21 employees, although that also includes outside consultants.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil liberties group Liberty, has called for a “fundamental review”, claiming that the functions of ACPO need to be determined by Parliament.

She said: “ACPO is many things. It advises Government, it sets policing policy, it campaigns for increased police powers, and now we learn it is engaged in commercial activities – all with a lack of accountability”.