National Police Chiefs’ Council

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), replacing the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in April 2015, is a private company that leads development of policing in the UK (excepting Scotland).

Freedom of Information

Since it was a private company ACPO was not subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 prior to November 2011, when it voluntarily placed itself under the act.[1][2] The replacement, NPCC, is not formally under FOIA, but is "committed to being open and accountable."[3]

The NPCC state in their FOI replies;

Following the dissolution of the Association of Police Chief Officers (ACPO), designation under the Freedom of Information Act did not automatically transfer across to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC). The NPCC, as the new coordinating body, should clearly be open to the same level of scrutiny and transparency as its predecessor and it is anticipated that an Order to bring the NPCC under the auspices of FOIA will be forthcoming. This is currently the responsibility of the Cabinet Office and the NPCC is supporting the Cabinet Office in bringing forward the Order.[4]

The main weakness with this approach is that the ICO is not obliged to consider complaints relating to the NPCC’s handling of FoI requests:

until the formal designation is in place and the legislation is amended to include the NPCC, the Internal Review process will remain in place but there is no legal basis to pursue complaints to the Information Commissioner’s Office.[5]

The Home Office confirmed to Simon Hughes that they were expecting the NPCC to be made subject to the FoI Act during the 2015-20 Parliament.[6] Nevertheless, the last set of new authorities brought forward by the Cabinet Office to be made subject to the Act, in February 2018, did not include the NPCC.[7]

After being challenged[8] by Liberty and Privacy International, a new Statutory Instrument has been drafted in July 2018 that would incorporate NPCC into the act.[9]

Disclosure logs

The NPCC runs an FoI disclosure log,[10] as well as keeping the ACPO historical log, but the link for the latter is currently broken.[11]

Role in counter-terrorism

The NPCC has a co-ordination and strategy role in counter-terrorism policy. It convenes a counter-terrorism coordination committee for UK police.[12]

Unlike many other coordination committee, the counter-terrorism coordination committee includes a small number of chief police officers dedicated full-time to the business area. These officers provide strategic direction and co-ordination relating to particular policing themes. In addition, the counter-terrorism coordination committee Vice Chairs have also assumed complementary roles as senior sponsors of policing themes that largely reflect the Protect, Prepare and Prevent strands of the government's counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST .[12]

The Committee has also helped develop a “counter-terrorism network”:

a series of dedicated CT policing units that have been established across England and Wales, working in collaboration with the (pre-existing) Counter Terrorism Command (CTC), within the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). These units are regionally based and resourced by police forces. Their role includes gathering intelligence and evidence to help prevent, disrupt and prosecute terrorist activities. As a whole, the CT policing network has a wide range of experts including, but not limited to, skilled detectives, financial investigators, community contact teams, intelligence analysts, forensic specialists and high-tech investigators.[12]



  1. Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests, ACPO
  2. The Freedom of Information (Designation as Public Authorities) Order 2011
  3. “We are committed to being open and accountable. We publish a range of information including responses to Freedom of Information Requests and expenditure by the senior team.” Publications,
  4. See for instance Statistics for takedown requests for online terrorist content, 13 March 2018
  5. Publications,
  6. Letter, Mike Penning on hebalf of the Home Office to Simon Hughes, 24 March 2015, hosted on
  7. The Freedom of Information (Additional Public Authorities) Order 2018,
  8. Press statement: National police co-ordinating body to be opened up to public scrutiny following Liberty and Privacy International campaign, 2018-07-23
  9. The Freedom of Information (Designation as Public Authority and Amendment) Order 2018 (draft),]
  10. Disclosure logs,
  11. Log, linked from FOI and Subject Access Requests,
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 The work of the NPCC: Counter-terrorism,