Written statement to Parliament

The future of the National Policing Improvement Agency

This written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons on 15 December 2011 by Theresa May and the House of Lords by Lord Henley

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons on 15 December 2011 by Theresa May, and in the House of Lords by Lord Henley.

As part of the wider reform of policing, I wish to update the House on plans to phase out the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), to transfer its critical national functions and to establish a police professional body and a new IT company. I am also, today, placing in the Library, a summary of the responses that were received in relation to Peter Neyroud’s report, Review of Police Leadership and Training.

I am committed to a methodical and careful phase out of the NPIA in 2012. Good progress is being made. The NPIA’s headcount has reduced by 25 per cent. The NPIA has announced its departure from its site at Harrogate. Some of NPIA’s procurement functions have already transferred to the Home Office, and important detailed work has been done to identify successor bodies for the NPIA’s critical national functions and services that are required to support an effective and modern police service.

In response to the policing leadership challenge set out by Peter Neyroud’s review (which I placed in the House Library in April 2011) I intend to create a new police professional body. This is a unique opportunity to further professionalise policing,
creating a body that directly supports police officers at all ranks and civilian policing professionals. It will also create opportunities to open up the closed system of leadership within the police service, to harness greater diversity and experience at a senior level, and to equip the service with the skills it needs to deliver effective crime fighting in a changing, leaner and more accountable environment.

Peter Neyroud, in his review, outlined a policing professional body which held chartered status. This will be an issue for the professional body itself to pursue when it has developed a body of evidence demonstrating it reaches the rigorous criteria required.

Whilst the police professional body will focus on policing in England and Wales, it will be important that it takes into account, and works closely with, forces in Scotland and Northern Ireland, particularly on cross-border issues.

The police professional body will develop policing as a single profession; it will represent the entire service and will act only in the public interest. Chief Constables also need to come together for discussion, focusing on key operational issues, when it is in the public interest for them to do so. I envisage a need for a Chiefs’ Council, and I am working with ACPO and key partners to consider the precise remit of the Chiefs’ Council and its relationship with the police professional body.

As announced in July, the Government also intends to establish an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) company. The company will be responsible for the procurement, implementation and management of complex contracts for information technology, related business change and outsourcing services, supplying both national and local services for police. The company will be owned by police authorities and subsequently Police and Crime Commissioners, with the police service as its customer. It will provide:

  • better value to forces for their ICT spend;
  • greater innovation in police ICT, so that operational officers have better systems;
  • freedom for chief constables to focus on fighting crime rather than managing ICT;
  • services and products that support forces and other customers in their drive for interoperability.

We are discussing the key design elements of the new company with representatives of forces and authorities to ensure that it meets their needs first and foremost. It will operate in such a way that forces can more quickly, easily and efficiently collaborate and procure IT solutions which meet local requirements.

Turning to plans for other NPIA functions, not in scope for either the Police Professional Body or the ICT company, I intend to:

  • transfer key national critical operational functions to the National Crime Agency (NCA), which naturally fit with its new national crime fighting remit. Those areas already identified include the Central Witness Bureau, Crime Operational Support, the National Missing Persons Bureau, the Serious Crime Analysis team, and the Specialist Operations centre. In the short term, these important functions will move to the Serious Organised Crime Agency, one of the major precursor bodies to the NCA;
  • transfer responsibility for the 101 non-emergency phone service, crime mapping, pathology services, forensic and other non-ICT procurement and the programme for implementing Schengen Information System (II) (SIS II), to the Home Office. These moves follow the non-ICT procurement transfers that were completed in October 2011;
  • hand over, to a lead force, the hosting of the new National Police Air Service;
  • end the work NPIA currently does advising on Value for Money by November 2012. In its place, Police and Crime Commissioners will drive value for money in the police service, with further support where necessary.

All other NPIA functions are the subject of further detailed analysis and consultation with the wider police service. I expect to be able to make an announcement about the future of the NPIA’s estate in the Spring of 2012.

Of particular note will be reviews into the future viability of Bramshill House and the utilisation of Hendon Data Centre (HDC), which provides vital IT services at the very heart of policing. The HDC review will consider how services should be delivered in the future, by whom and any transitional arrangements that will be necessary to ensure public safety is protected.

Date: Thu Dec 15 12:57:29 GMT 2011

Published 15 December 2011