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Police Vetting - What is it, What is Considered and Will I Get Clearance?

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When applying for a role within any police force, it is important to understand that any offer of employment will be subject to satisfactory vetting checks. Often candidates think that having a DBS/CRB certificate will be enough, but this is not the case.

The police conduct these checks to ensure that employees have the highest levels of integrity. Working within a station means you could have access to highly sensitive information, and it must be shown that you are not in a position where you could be influenced to give this information away. With access to software such as the Police National Computer (PNC) which stores millions of pieces of data, it is essential those with access are trustworthy. If you were to be targeted by a criminal organisation or private detective, can the force be sure that you are not going to give away that information?

Vetting checks are not only criminal convictions on the applicant, but also on their family and co-residents.

They also look at the financial status of applicants, as this determines whether you have been, are currently, or are likely to be in financial difficulty, or show signs of financial irresponsibility to the extent that you could become vulnerable to financial inducement.

As part of the checks, the vetting team will need to be able to check your residence, and therefore a requirement is that you have at least 5 years “checkable history” in the UK. If they cannot check this, they cannot grant vetting. Of course, if you have resided in another country as you were employed by the British Forces or on official duty for Her Majesty’s Government, this will not affect your application.

What should you declare?

The easy answer for this is everything. Having a conviction does not automatically mean you will fail the vetting checks, but failing to declare it will bring integrity into question. Of course, if you declare something and it is not relevant, this will not affect your application and the vetting team will discount it. The same applies for family members, if you’re not sure whether it should be declared, then declare it anyway. The term “better safe than sorry” definitely applies. The primary reason people fail vetting is because they fail to declare relevant information.

There are some convictions that will lead to automatic failure of vetting. These include but are not limited to murder, firearms offences, domestic violence offences, any dishonesty related offence, for example fraud, and offences with a hate aggravation such as race. When it comes to the financial check, the rules are just as strict. If you have an outstanding County Court Judgment against you, or have been registered bankrupt and have not discharged your bankruptcy, you will not be considered until 3 years after the discharge of the debt. If you have a current individual voluntary arrangement (IVA), this has to be given careful consideration. Evidence may be required to show that you have maintained payments over a period of months.

It is also important to declare any other business interests, whether these are paid or voluntary. This allows checks to be done to ensure that they will not conflict with the role you have applied for. Having a historic caution or conviction does not mean your application will be automatically rejected, and every case is looked at individually. This means that factors such as your age at the time of the offence, any repeat offences and how long ago the offence took place will be taken into consideration.

We have many roles within the fields of policing and criminal justice - if you are looking for a job or looking to recruit, please contact us here or call us on 01772 208962.

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