We are currently experiencing network problems with the desktop version of Police Oracle. We hope to have these resolved as soon as possible.

PCC says vetting departments are 'massively overwhelmed'

Festus Akinbusoye has told the Home Affairs select committee that the resources required to vet the new Uplift officers is 'presenting some challenges' with the re-vetting of those already in post.

HMICFRS' recent assessment that it is "too easy for the wrong people to both join and stay in the police" has shone a spotlight on the service's vetting process, which the APCC Prevention Lead has admitted is burdened by the Uplift programme.

Bedfordshire PCC Festus Akinbusoye told the Home Affairs Committee: “Already the vetting departments across all of policing are massively, massively overwhelmed with the vetting of the very much welcomed intake of new officers, and that, as far as I’m aware is presenting some challenges with the re-vetting of current officers."

Appearing alongside National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) Chair Martin Hewitt and the CEO of the College of Policing, Andy Marsh, Mr Akinbusoye said this is creating a situation whereby Chief Constables are having to "prioritize their resources".

This prompted committee Chair MP Diana Johnson to ask Mr Hewitt whether the Uplift programme was obstructing the re-vetting of serving officers.

The NPCC Chair said that there "always has been, and is, a pressure" on vetting departments, and that the issues are not simply about the programme. 

He admitted that a better use of the appraisal process to "identify changes" would be beneficial, as would getting to a place where vetting becomes a "much more automated process”. 

Mr Hewitt also referenced the merits of continuous vetting, an approach currently being trialed in a number of places whereby a flag is automatically raised "if someone pops up on certain systems".

After reviewing 725 vetting files relating to new recruits and transferees, the HMICFRS report was critical of both the initial and re-vetting process.

On the issue of capacity, it read: "Not all the forces we inspected had enough staff within their vetting units to cope with current demands.

"Personnel in some vetting units told us that increasing vetting demand from the PUP (Police Uplift Programme) was creating pressure and that their workload was no longer manageable."

The problem of vetting was also raised in the House of Lords yesterday. Former Met Commander Lord Paddick said that history had shown that when the police service goes through a significant recruitment drive problems emerge. 

He said: “Every single time there is mass recruitment in the police service, more of the wrong people slip through the vetting net and police misconduct, corruption and criminality increases.

“It happened in the 70s, it happened in the mid-2000s and it’s happening again now.

“Will the Government tell the police, quality is more important than quantity and will the Government give police chiefs the legislation they need to enable them to effectively deal with corrupt officers?”

In response Home Office minister Lord Sharpe of Epsom said there is “no evidence to suggest that [the Uplift] is responsible for any adverse decision in vetting”.

The minister added that he did not agree with Lord Paddick’s assessment of the “quality problem”.

He said: “There’s been an introduction of a new online application process, which has replaced an old system called Search, it was an assessment centre, it operates according to national guidelines and it’s been reasonably successful so far.

“Of course, it’s not all online, all the candidates still have to pass each stage of the recruitment process, which includes assessment centre, vetting, medical assessment and fitness test."

Leave a Comment
View Comments 10
In Other News
HMICFRS publishes vetting and corruption reports for forces
Sadiq Khan backs calls for change in dismissal rules
Officers given final written warnings over prior contact with murder victim
More News