c/o PO BOX 481
Tel: 02380 674255
Dear Mr Munce FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NUMBER: 000182/12
Thank you for your request for information regarding Freemasonry which has now been considered. Applicant Question:
Has ACPO issued any guidelines to any of its members concerning any matters involving the subject of
Has ACPO at any time attempted to establish how many of its members and particularly how many serving
Chief Constables are currently members of the Freemasons?
Does ACPO currently hold any information that establishes which members of the ACPO are currently
members of the Freemasons? ACPO Response:
Further to my email to you on 07/12/2012, I can confirm that ACPO do not hold information captured by your
ACPO hold no register of Freemasons employed by the Police. ACPO hold no National Policy regarding the
recording of Police Officers affiliated with Freemasonry.
There is no requirement for Police Officer’s to declare their membership with the Freemasons although
individual forces may have their own local policy.
The reason for the delay in response to you is because I had been made aware of documentation, that although
isn’t captured or within scope of your request, related to the subject matter and I’m able to assist you further by
providing you with additional information:
There has been significant debate in recent years surrounding the issue of freemasonry in the police and the
wider criminal justice system. This culminated in a Report by the Home Affairs select committee, “Freemasonry
in the Police and the Judiciary”, published 25 March 1997.
The Government published its response in February 1998, with three key proposals:
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1. All new appointments to the police would have as a condition of appointment a requirement to declare
membership of the freemasons.
2. Existing personnel would be invited to declare membership, or otherwise, of the freemasons, and
registers would be opened for the purposes.
The Government would consult on where these registers should be available, but stated that they were
intended to be publicly available.
The Government said that the “better solution” lay in the hands of freemasonry volunteering information, but
since they have been unable to achieve satisfaction, the alternative approach of registration is now pursued
across the criminal justice system.
To start that process, a scoping meeting was hosted by the Home Office in 1998 with representatives from
across the criminal justice system. ACPO was represented at this meeting by ACPO Chairman of Personnel
and Training Committee who then sought views from Chief Constables on whether they would be prepared
voluntarily to establish a register in the format proposed, and on what level of public availability they would
support. ACPO do not hold the returns from this scoping exercise.
For your information, the conduct of serving police officers is governed by the Police Regulations 1995.
Schedule 2 refers to the abstention of any activity that is likely to interfere with the impartial discharge of their
duties. It does preclude political activity but there is no specific reference to Freemasonry.
In addition, there currently exists no code of conduct that specifically proscribes or requires the mandatory
registration of membership.
A voluntary register was proposed by the Home Office but its very definition implies that this would not result in
an accurate membership list and were it to be subject to public scrutiny, the requirements of the Human Rights
Act and any data protection legislation would demand due consideration.
Sherry Traquair Freedom of Information Officer & Decision Maker
COMPLAINT RIGHTS Internal Review
If you are dissatisfied with the response you have been provided with, in compliance with the Freedom of
Information legislation, you can lodge a complaint with ACPO to have the decision reviewed within 2 months of
the date of this response. The handling of your request will be looked at by someone independent of the original
decision, and a fresh response provided.
It would be helpful, if requesting a review, for you to articulate in detail the reasons you are not satisfied with
If you would like to request a review, please write or send an email to ACPO Freedom of Information, c/o PO
Box 481, Fareham, Hampshire, PO14 9FS.
If, after lodging a complaint with ACPO, you are still unhappy with the outcome, you may make an application
to the Information Commissioner at the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland