Police authority

Police authority

A police authority in the United Kingdom, is a body charged with securing efficient and effective policing of an area served by a territorial police force or the area and/or activity policed by a special police force. Separate arrangements exist for England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and for any force not created under one of those countries' national Police Acts (or equivalent for Northern Ireland) which has had a matching police authority created.

England and Wales

In England and Wales, the police authority is a committee with representatives nominated by the local authority(ies), independent members, and magistrates. A typical arrangement is nine councillors, three magistrates and five independent members though these numbers vary according to the size of the force they are regulating. A significant variation is the Metropolitan Police Authority, which has 23 members, twelve of whom are members of the London Assembly.

Before the advent of police authorities, the regulatory bodies for police forces confined to a single borough were known as Watch Committees, whilst those for counties from 1889 had been Standing Joint Committees (after 1889 some control passed to the elected county council; the joint committee also had magistrates). The Police Act 1964 reconstituted these as police authorities with two-thirds elected members of county or borough councils, and one-third magistrates. Under the Local Government Act 1972 the remaining borough police forces were abolished, and police authorities consisted of county councillors and magistrates in a ratio of two to one. The Police and Magistrates' Courts Act 1994 altered the composition of the authorities with independent members being added. A long list, from applications received, is submitted by a committee of elected members and magistrates to the Home Office. That committee then appoints the independent members from a shortlist returned by the Home Office.

Police authorities receive some funding from the Home Office and, in addition, set a precept on the Council Tax.

Northern Ireland

The Police Authority for Northern Ireland was dissolved on 4 November 2001 and replaced by the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is supervised by the Northern Ireland Policing Board, of which ten are members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and nine are independent.



In Scotland, supervision of the territorial police forces is the responsibility of the elected local authority which either directly supervises the local police force where its border is conterminous with the force, or works through joint boards with neighbouring local authorities. The SCDEA is a special police force and is subject to supervision by the Scottish Police Services Authority whose Board consists of police force members, police authority members and lay members [http://www.spsa.police.uk/foi/about_spsa] .

ingle authority

The following police forces are supervised by one single local authority:

Joint police boards

The following police forces are supervised by a joint board:

pecial Police Forces

Arrangements for Special Police Force authorities vary by legislative body within the UK.

*British Transport Police Authority - The authority [http://www.bt-police.co.uk/AboutUs.asp] was created in 2004 by the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003, it is made up of approximately 12-15 members, each of whom represents groups concerned with the control, operation or use of the railways. They include representatives of the railway operators, railway users (freight and passenger), employees and the appropriate government departments dealing with transport in England, Scotland and Wales.

:The British Transport Police (BTP) is responsible for policing railways in Great Britain. It was not created by any of the various Police Acts in Great Britain and consequently was not subject to the same requirements as a territorial police force.

*Civil Nuclear Police Authority - The authority [http://www.cnpa.police.uk/] was created in 2004 by the Energy Act 2004; it is made up of seven members; four are nominated by the nuclear industry, while the remaining three are the Chairman, the Police adviser and an independent member.

:The CNC is responsible for protecting civil nuclear installations and substances and was also created by legislation other than the national Police Acts. The CNC operates in Great Britain.

*The Scottish Police Services Authority [http://www.spsa.police.uk/] (which also deals with other police and criminal justice services in Scotland) is the police authority for the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency [http://www.scdea.police.uk/] (SCDEA).

:The SCDEA is responsible for preventing and detecting serious organised crime (including drug trafficking) in Scotland.

External links

* [http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1994/Ukpga_19940029_en_1.htm Police and Magistrates' Courts Act 1994]
* [http://www.apa.police.uk/APA/About+Police+Authorities/National+Map/ Contact details for all England and Wales police authorities]

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