ACRO Awarded "Excellent" Grading by HMIC

Friday, 14 January, 2011

THE ACPO Criminal Records Office (ACRO) has been awarded a rare "Excellent" grading by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

The accolade, which is the first "Excellent" to have been bestowed on an organisation immediately after inspection, is testament to the work that goes into ensuring that conviction data is securely handled and managed at ACRO.

The grading was awarded in a report which recognises the efforts made by management and staff to ensure outstanding Police National Computer (PNC) Compliance.

The report praises ACRO's "quality ethic", "timeliness objectives" and efforts to "improve quality and timeliness standards nationally and internationally."

ACRO accesses the PNC in order to provide services to police forces, other agencies and the public.

The inspection looked at accuracy, timeliness, completeness and relevancy of the information added, transferred and updated by ACRO staff.

Inspectors noted that the training and quality of ACRO staff is "clearly of a high standard" as "to date all attendees have passed with a mark of 90% or greater".

Annie Fursey, Bureau Deputy Manager, said: "Having worked closely with HMIC during the inspection process, I am delighted by the "excellent" grading awarded to ACRO.

"The rating is indicative of the high standards that we set and often exceed within ACRO.

"The inspection recognised the high level of skill, enthusiasm and commitment of our staff, who play a crucial role in making sure the services we provide to police forces throughout the UK and further afield continue to be excellent.

"We are continually looking for new ways to improve our systems and will be working to implement the recommendations made within the report.

"I am excited to be part of such a progressive organisation which is delivering operational benefits to the police service."

PNC staff operate in a number of ACRO's work areas including in the production of Police Certificates for those wishing to emigrate to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States of America.

Staff also access the database to add the results of Non Police Prosecuting Agency prosecutions, provide Subject Access disclosures to those applying to find out what information the police have about them, and to locate sex offenders and ensure they are properly monitored when they enter the UK.

Additionally ACRO incorporates the UK Central Authority for the Exchange of Criminal Records (UKCA-ECR) and has a Non European Union Exchange of Criminal Records desk, which work to obtain the convictions of UK nationals who offend overseas and in return notifies them when offences are committed by foreign nationals in the UK.

As a result of this work it has established a database of foreign offences (many of which do not easily translate to English offences) to assist in the correct maintenance of criminal records.

The HMIC report says that the database is a "valuable asset and at some time in the future ACRO should be encouraged to share this with the wider police community"

It states: "The working practices detailed above require an expertise far beyond that normally found in most police forces.

"ACRO have, primarily by experience, developed business processes to manage complex international procedures exacerbated by a multitude of foreign languages, penal codes and complex cultural differences.

"There are many examples of good practice."

The report identifies 10 areas of good practice in total and praises the commitment of staff to their work.

Referring to the work of ACRO's Violent and Sexual Offences Register analysts, the report concludes it "must impact positively upon public safety."

It adds: "The further development of the ACRO Intelligence Unit can only develop this excellent work further and is considered to be good practice."

It states that Detective Superintendent Gary Linton, Head of ACRO, encourages "a casual yet business-focussed ambience within the organisation, which has resulted in a motivated and productive workforce."

ACRO, which won the Sunday Times Best Place to Work in the Public Sector Award 2010, hopes to build on the success of the report by implementing the recommendations made by HMIC.

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