Yorkshire police authorities scrap chiefs’ group funding

THREE of Yorkshire’s four police authorities have withdrawn their funding to an influential organisation which helps to set national police policy in a move which one chief constable has described as “disappointing”.

There is growing uncertainty over the future of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), because other police authorities in different parts of the country have made the same decision and the association itself accepts that its funding arrangements are “unsatisfactory”, although it has the finances in place to continue unaffected until the end of the year.

Its role within the policing of the country is already under review.

The South, West and North Yorkshire police authorities all blame the financial cuts they are having to make for withdrawing their subscriptions towards running ACPO’s London headquarters and administrative costs.

They insist the decisions will not affect the role of their senior officers who have roles within ACPO, or the way policing is carried out in this region.

But ACPO has acknowledged the withdrawal of funding will have a long term impact, but its role is already being examined as part of a review of policing and it is possible it could eventually be amalgamated into a more broad reaching national policing body.

However, South Yorkshire Police said in a statement that Chief Constable Meredydd Hughes was “disappointed at the police authority’s decision” but said he respected the right for them to make it.

Authority chairman Charles Perryman said: “South Yorkshire Police Authority made a number of difficult decisions around affordability when setting both the authority and force budgets for 2011-12.

“The chief constable has asked the authority to reconsider this position and the authority is awaiting the results of national review before any further deliberation.”

West Yorkshire Police Authority paid subscriptions of £33,000 previously, with £19,000 from South Yorkshire and North Yorkshire contributed around £10,000.

ACPO is an independent organisation for the most senior officers from the country’s 43 forces and they are responsible for setting national policing policies and other important work.

The organisation is regarded by some as being aloof and it has been suggested that police authorities in other parts of the country may have withdrawn their funding after becoming disillusioned with the way ACPO operates.

A spokeswoman for ACPO said: “All public bodies are rightly looking very closely at their spending in the current financial climate.

“Resourcing of national work, through ACPO, is vital to development of national policing practice and good leadership of our police forces, but the current funding arrangements for ACPO are unsatisfactory and we hope to see them re-examined as part of the overall review into the future of police leadership and training.”