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Cops' quango to come under freedom of information laws

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The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the publicly-funded private company that wields heavy influence over policing policy, will be included in the Freedom of Information Act from October next year.

The Ministry of Justice's announcement today follows criticism of ACPO's lack of accountability despite its powerful role.

The firm sets national policy and practice, acts as a lobbying organisation for senior officers, and coordinates cross-force investigations and intelligence operations.

Justice minister Michael Wills said: "ACPO's functions are concerned with providing leadership for the police force, improving policing, acting as a voice for the force, encouraging high standards of performance and development, providing the strategic police response in times of national need and other ancillary and related functions.

"Policing is clearly recognised as a function of a public nature. For these reasons it is appropriate to include ACPO... for all of their functions."

Sir Hugh Orde, the former chief constable of Northern Ireland who took over as ACPO president last year, has backed the change.

Wills also said the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service and the Financial Ombudsman Service will be added to the Freedom of Information Act next year. ®

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