Part of Science, Technology and Engineering (Careers Information in Schools) – in the House of Commons at 1:26 pm on 13th February 2013.

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Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Home Department 1:26 pm, 13th February 2013

The right hon. Gentleman makes a fair point, which we considered at length during the Committee stage of the Crime and Courts Bill. The crucial point is that only a small proportion of the NPIA’s budget is being transferred to the NCA. From memory—I do not have the paper to hand—I think the figure is £12 million or £13 million. The functions covered by the vast majority of the NPIA’s budget will not be transferred to the NCA. It is not accurate, therefore, to conflate SOCA’s budget and the NPIA’s budget and say that between them their budgets were bigger than the NCA’s budget, because quite a lot of the NPIA features will not be transferring to the NCA.

Few things could be more directly relevant to public confidence and the British model of policing by consent than the integrity of our police officers. Police officers are citizens in uniform and their fellow citizens must be able to have confidence that they exercise their powers without fear or favour. That is why my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced a range of measures to enhance police integrity in the House yesterday. Greater independent investigation of the most serious and sensitive complaints against the police will be made possible by rebalancing resource between the Independent Police Complaints Commission and force professional standards directorates. A publicly available list of struck-off officers will ensure that those who are dismissed for misconduct cannot re-enter the police by the back door. We will significantly strengthen vetting of all officers, particularly the most senior officers, and we will introduce national registers of pay and perks, gifts and hospitality, contact with the media and outside interests.

All that will be underpinned by a code of ethics for the police—a single set of ethical standards by which officers and staff will work. The college will own and develop this and PCCs and chief officers will ensure that it runs right through policing and the careers of police officers and police staff. Accountability, professionalism and integrity—these are the areas where our reforms are focused and on which we are making a substantial difference.

We also rely, however, on being able to continue to attract the very best people into policing. For the avoidance of doubt, outstanding people are already attracted to some of the most difficult and demanding jobs available in our police forces. We need to ensure that we continue to attract the people with the right skills and expertise to forge a force fit for the 21st century. That means opening up policing. We are consulting on three direct entry schemes that will open up the police to a wider pool of talent, so that forces will be able to bring in people with diverse backgrounds and new perspectives. Combined with the strong leaders already working in forces and the improved nurturing of internal talent through the College of Policing, we will have a police force that is even better equipped to fight crime.