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POLICE AUTHORITIES DEFEND LOCAL POLICING

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Elected members of police authorities have today agreed a statement of common principles on policing, in the light ...
Elected members of police authorities have today agreed a statement of common principles on policing, in the light of Home Secretary Kenneth Clarke's review.

Nearly 200 members met at the Commons today to discuss the review. Mr Clarke is believed to be considering 100% Home Office funding of the police and giving government appointees a majority on police authorities.

The chairmen of the police committees of the Association of County Councils, Simon Day and the Association of Metropolitan Authorities, George Bundred, said after the meeting: 'None of us are complacent about the existing structure, but those who would demolish it have to prove that real local accountability can be secured more effectively through an alternative system.

'We believe that it would be wrong - and less effective - to reduce local accountability and totally centralise police funding'.

These views were echoed by John Smith, first vice president of the Association of Chief Police Officers. He said ACPO believed policing was local in character and should be determined as close to the ground as possible.

The statement of common principles says: 'Policing must be carried out with the involvement and consent of the community and be responsive to its needs'.

Among the seven points it says: - local government must continue to make a significant contribution to the funding of the police - there must be local and democratically elected oversight of the police's activities - no major structural or constitutional change relating to the police should be undertaken without a royal commission or an independent enquiry.

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