ACRO Criminal Records Office is a national police unit working for safer communities.
A leader in the field of criminal records and biometric information, we provide a range of services that deliver operational benefits to law enforcement and public protection teams, help bring offenders to justice and meet the legitimate information access and management needs of the public.
ACRO was founded in 2006 as the ACPO Criminal Records Office following a decision by the then Association of Chief Police Officers. The aim was to establish an operationally focussed unit to organise the management of criminal records information and improve the links between criminal records and biometric information.
The unit has grown considerably since then and now employs more than 300 people. ACRO was recognised by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in 2017 as providing an ‘excellent’ and ‘vital’ service to UK police forces and our work is considered fundamental to community safety.
Purpose and strategic objectives
To support UK and international law enforcement by processing criminal records for the purposes of public protection, safeguarding and worldwide community safety.
We do this by:
- Being global leaders in the provision of criminal records and bio-metric information to enable safeguarding and offender management
- Coordinating a centralised and cost effective national resource that supports the fight against crime and minimises the financial burden on police forces
- Working with international law enforcement partners to further enhance our criminal record exchange capability
- Delivering continual improvement in our expert service to partners, customers and the wider public
- Creating a culture of inclusion, development and progression for our staff
Part of the UK police service
ACRO is hosted by Hampshire Constabulary. Our policing powers derive from having a chief superintendent from the constabulary in position as the Head of ACRO. All ACRO staff are employees of the force.
We work closely with partners here and abroad including the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), the National Crime Agency (NCA), the Home Office, immigration enforcement, border services and other government departments as well as agencies overseas.
Overview of services
ACRO manages the United Kingdom's Criminal Record Information System (UK-CRIS), which exchanges conviction information with EU Member States. This responsibility is designated by the Home Secretary to the chief constable of our host force, who delegates it to ACRO.
Outside the EU, we exchange information records with all non-EU Interpol countries via Interpol channels.
ACRO delivers services to members of the public including Police Certificates, ICPCs and the co-ordination of Subject Access and record deletion requests.
To non-police agencies, we provide Police National Computer (PNC) services that support investigations and prosecutions.
In all our work, we help ensure the PNC is updated with current criminal records information that can be accessed and used by police forces to investigate crime and protect the public.
Read more about our services.
ACRO’s operational work is overseen by the ACRO governance board, which is independent of ACRO and chaired by the chair of the NPCC. This board comprises stakeholder representatives from government, policing and expert members, as well as representatives from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
As employees of Hampshire Constabulary, ACRO staff take ultimate direction and control from the chief constable. However, ACRO’s operational focus is different and distinct from that of the force.
The Police & Crime Commissioner for Hampshire agreed to host ACRO, has a stake in our financial governance and oversees our estate strategy.
Policies and procedures
ACRO’s operational business processes are underpinned by bespoke policies and procedures.
As with all organisations that manage sensitive data, we adhere to data protection legislation and the data protection principles of the Information Commissioner.
As a national police unit in the UK, ACRO adheres to the national policing Code of Ethics.
We adhere to Hampshire Constabulary policies and procedures relating to finance, personnel and professional standards.
ACRO is a public sector organisation that receives funding from various sources including the police service.
Income after expenditure generated from Police Certificate applications is reinvested, in accordance with HMG Treasury Rules, into other community safety services we provide. These include the exchange of international criminal conviction information, the dissemination of intelligence and managing sexual offender records. This funding model helps to reduce the financial burden on the police service.
The income generated from International Child Protection Certificate applications funds the delivery and development of the service. As agreed with the NCA-CEOP Command, income after expenditure is donated to causes that support international child protection.
ACRO’s funding position and budgets are subject to change on a yearly basis. Please see the annual reports for details.
Please see the quarterly profile for statistical information about volume of services and the workforce profile.
The annual reports provide analysis on how we’ve performed against our objectives over the previous year.
Freedom of Information
ACRO is committed to being open, accountable and transparent. As a national police unit, our work is subject to Freedom of Information legislation.
Requests for information held within ACRO under the legislation are managed by the NPCC via the National Police Freedom of Information and Data Protection Unit.
Responses to Freedom of Information requests concerning ACRO are published in the NPCC's disclosure log.
We proactively publish information relating to operational business and reports on our spending and expenses.
If you do not find the information you are looking for, you can make a request for information to firstname.lastname@example.org.