After years pounding the beat when they first started out in the force, Britain’s most senior police chiefs might have been expected to manage a walk from one reception to another of just over half a mile.
Instead, they were ushered on to an executive coach and escorted by two officers on horseback and others – in a marked patrol car – carrying guns.
Once they reached their destination, the chief constables and their spouses enjoyed champagne and a feast of chocolate-dipped strawberries, Aberdeen steak and salt marsh lamb.
The bizarre journey took place in Manchester last week at the annual conference of the Association of Chief Police Officers. The country’s most powerful policing organisation, which trades as the private company ACPO Limited, is funded with £10 million from the taxpayer.
£500,000 of OUR money was being spent on the three-day junket. ACPO went ahead with the lavish event despite predictions in an internal document that 28,000 frontline police officers could be replaced by cheaper civilian staff as part of a savage cost-cutting programme.
In his speech to delegates, President Sir Hugh Orde referred to our report last week. He said: ‘It is important that the private sector and the public sector work seamlessly to deliver the best service we can to the public.
At another event later in the week, delegates were protected by a private security company.
Controlled Event Solutions were hired by the Lowry Hotel for the officers’ £98-a-head black-tie dinner.
One of ACPO’s money making schemes is selling information from the Police National Computer for up to £70 a time – even though it pays just 60p to access details.
It also markets ‘police approval’ logos to firms selling anti-theft devices and operates a separate firm offering training to speed-camera operators.
The conference was funded from ACPO’s coffers and by the 44 police forces which sent representatives. It cost £771 per person – a bill of more than £269,000 to the taxpayer. The association booked hundreds of hotel rooms at £150 a night, adding an estimated £157,000.
Acpo a ‘private company that runs OUR public police force (how does that work?) organizes a jolly at OUR expense at the same time that we are told that the level cop cops on the beat cannot be sustained due to financial cut-backs?
These cops/company directors are taking the Michael on this one, they are laughing in the face of the victims of violence as they struggle, in fact beg a cop to attend their home post a robbery or assault. Ask yourself when did you last see a cop on the beat and I don’t mean a plastic plod/PCSO uniformed curtain twitcher either.
I say that ACPO must be done away with as private police forces are supposed to be illegal within the UK; I wonder how they are getting away with this anyway, who is covering this up and allowing it to happen? And why?
Perhaps elected top cops responsible to local people only would solve this problem, but something needs to be done as it cannot be right for a private company to dictate how OUR police are run.