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HMICFRS publishes vetting and corruption reports for forces

HMICFRS has published individual inspection reports for 12 forces, after making changes last year to the way it reports on how effectively police forces manage vetting and counter-corruption.

HMICFRS has published separate reports assessing the effectiveness of vetting and counter-corruption arrangements within forces for the first time. 

This signals a change in approach by the inspecting body, which previously assessed this area during PEEL inspections, though its methods of assessment remain the same.

Ratings have been given for five of the 12 forces whose reports have been published today (November 17), with the remaining seven given no graded judgment owing to their inspections being carried out less recently. 

Of the five, Nottinghamshire and South Wales Police (SWP) were both rated as 'good', while Dorset and Cumbria were both given a 'requires improvement' rating. Kent was assessed as 'adequate'.

HMICFRS found that both Nottinghamshire and South Wales Police had effective vetting procedures, but recommended that both introduce a system to monitor and respond to disproportionality in vetting decisions.

In terms of counter-corruption, Nottinghamshire was praised for having expanded its dedicated unit which has been responsible for 'some examples of proactive intelligence development using IT monitoring and proactive system audits'. 

HMICFRS reviewed 60 of SWP's corruption intelligence case files, with the force found to have responded effectively in most instances. 

The Chief Constable for SWP, Jeremy Vaughan, welcomed the report: "I am reassured by the positive feedback we have received from the independent, external assessment of how we promote an ethical culture and challenge unprofessional behaviour."

HMICFRS found that Cumbria Constabulary's 'overall understanding of the workforce’s vetting status is not effective', and identified further improvements to be made with its recording of corruption-related intelligence.

A spokesperson for Cumbria Constabulary said: "Since the inspection in [December] 2021, the Constabulary has purchased the national vetting system Corevet, as well as also purchasing a national counter corruption auditing system.

"The introduction of these new systems have improved both vetting and counter-corruption system, whilst bringing the force in-line with national standards."

While acknowledged for having made strides with its vetting procedures, Dorset Police was urged to further improve its management to make sure all personnel have valid vetting clearance for their role.

Meanwhile, for counter-corruption, HMICFRS identified resourcing as an area for improvement for the force alongside developing better relationships with organisations which support vulnerable people.

Dorset's Deputy Chief Constable, Sam de Reya, said the force has "already made significant improvements" to the key issues identified since the inspection was carried out in March.

The other seven forces assessed in reports published today are: Thames Valley Police, Leicestershire Police, West Mercia Police, Greater Manchester Police, Bedfordshire Police, Hertfordshire Police and Cambridgeshire Police.

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