Association of Police Authorities

August 23, 2011 1:38 PM

The Association of Police Authorities (APA) is not a well known organisation, although it does swallow-up over £1.5 million of our money from subscriptions from police authorities around the country, and an additional £282K in Home Office grants. In total over £1.8 million.

It has a council which consists of 80 members, drawn from the 49 member authorities, and it also has a board, which consists of 17 members. Hardly surprising then that in 2009/10 members' allowances were a total of £294,150 - an increase from the previous year's total of £253,426.


A supporter (who serves on a police authority) sent me a press release from the APA, which calls for the government to re-think its policy on elected police and crime commissioners. It states that 'the Government’s proposals risk putting the police under partial, inappropriate political control, diverting time and resources and creating disruption at a time of unprecedented pressure and upheaval just before the Olympics– who knows what impact this ‘perfect storm’ will have on public safety.'

So once again we have an organisation paid for by taxpayers whose prime motivation is to protect its members: police authorities. It then uses our money to lobby ministers to preserve the status quo, arguing the introduction of police and crime commissioners before the Olympic Games will have an impact on public safely. It doesn't know if there will be an impact, so it leaves those words hanging in the air, when we know its main objections have nothing to do with public safety. It is using our money (which could pay for dozens of police officers) to preserve a system of police accountability that has failed because it is in its members' interests.

Very few know who serve on police authorities. I would wager that the majority of people couldn't name their chief constable. Elected commissioners will give the public a direct say in the say they want to be policed. There will be safeguards in the system, such as the Police and Crime Panels. As Blair Gibbs, Head of Crime and Justice at Policy Exchange, pointed out last year, they sound suspiciously like police authorities, but if their numbers are kept low, and they do not receive funding from central government, the panels should not override the commissioners democratic mandate.

Trade unions receive millions of pounds of our money each year, which is then used to help organise marches and demonstrations against the necessary cuts in public spending. The APA also receives our money, and just like trade unions, campaigns against government policy, albeit in a much subtler way. No doubt we will see representatives on our television screens, and will hear them on the radio making the same suggestions as they have done in their press release. As we can see, it is not done for altruistic reasons; it is done out of self-interest and self-preservation. One thing is for certain though: we pick up the bill!

UPDATE: The Association of Police Authorities have been in touch with a number of criticisms of this blog, see the comment below.  Two members of their board are apparently advisers and not board members, so we have corrected the size of the board from 19 to 17.  However all of the other information is drawn from their annual review or website and, as far as we are aware, accurate so those facts they have challenged stand.The Association of Police Authorities (APA) is not a well known organisation, although it does swallow-up over £1.5 million of our money from subscriptions from police authorities around the country, and an additional £282K in Home Office grants. In total over £1.8 million.

It has a council which consists of 80 members, drawn from the 49 member authorities, and it also has a board, which consists of 17 members. Hardly surprising then that in 2009/10 members' allowances were a total of £294,150 - an increase from the previous year's total of £253,426.


A supporter (who serves on a police authority) sent me a press release from the APA, which calls for the government to re-think its policy on elected police and crime commissioners. It states that 'the Government’s proposals risk putting the police under partial, inappropriate political control, diverting time and resources and creating disruption at a time of unprecedented pressure and upheaval just before the Olympics– who knows what impact this ‘perfect storm’ will have on public safety.'

So once again we have an organisation paid for by taxpayers whose prime motivation is to protect its members: police authorities. It then uses our money to lobby ministers to preserve the status quo, arguing the introduction of police and crime commissioners before the Olympic Games will have an impact on public safely. It doesn't know if there will be an impact, so it leaves those words hanging in the air, when we know its main objections have nothing to do with public safety. It is using our money (which could pay for dozens of police officers) to preserve a system of police accountability that has failed because it is in its members' interests.

Very few know who serve on police authorities. I would wager that the majority of people couldn't name their chief constable. Elected commissioners will give the public a direct say in the say they want to be policed. There will be safeguards in the system, such as the Police and Crime Panels. As Blair Gibbs, Head of Crime and Justice at Policy Exchange, pointed out last year, they sound suspiciously like police authorities, but if their numbers are kept low, and they do not receive funding from central government, the panels should not override the commissioners democratic mandate.

Trade unions receive millions of pounds of our money each year, which is then used to help organise marches and demonstrations against the necessary cuts in public spending. The APA also receives our money, and just like trade unions, campaigns against government policy, albeit in a much subtler way. No doubt we will see representatives on our television screens, and will hear them on the radio making the same suggestions as they have done in their press release. As we can see, it is not done for altruistic reasons; it is done out of self-interest and self-preservation. One thing is for certain though: we pick up the bill!

UPDATE: The Association of Police Authorities have been in touch with a number of criticisms of this blog, see the comment below.  Two members of their board are apparently advisers and not board members, so we have corrected the size of the board from 19 to 17.  However all of the other information is drawn from their annual review or website and, as far as we are aware, accurate so those facts they have challenged stand.

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