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North Yorkshire vetting pilot to inform future integrity screening

Since July 2022, North Yorkshire has been conducting a pilot to ensure officers and staff are updating its vetting department on relevant changes.

North Yorkshire are conducting monthly PND checks on officers and staff to ensure its workforce is compliant with vetting procedures.

The checks will flag anything on the PND that has not been highlighted to the force by the individual concerned.

This would include if someone had been reported for offences or their conduct results in a police intelligence record being created in another force area.

It also includes personal data updates, as well as information related to an associate or family member at their address.

To date, no vetting issues have been flagged for over 3,000 officers and staff that the force was not already aware of.

Less than 20 records have required further attention for matters such as personal data – but no risks to the workforce or public were identified.

DCC Mabs Hussain told Police Oracle that this was a “way to ensure that [officers and staff] have done what we expect them to.”

“We realise and recognise the importance for us as a workforce but also it's what the public expect of us.

“It gives trust and confidence to our own workforce and gives officers the confidence to speak up too.”

He explained that the initiative lies within the Professional Standards Department, and while the initial check involved a lot of information as it necessitated going through 3,000 records, the latter checks have been automated and are carried out by a computer programme which flags any changes month-on-month.

Previously, the force followed the national guidance and would conduct these checks periodically – with the onus being on the individual to provide relevant information to the vetting departments. DCC Hussain has called this initiative a “failsafe”.

The force had volunteered to lead on the pilot following work done for a previous pilot on non-molestation orders. The latter, Project Shield, sees a multi-agency approach ensuring the transfer of information between courts and forces.

DCC Hussain explained that this approach was also relevant for the vetting pilot, such as cases when a Local Authority was required after a child had come into contact with the police, or in instances where officers needed to be signposted to support.

Last month, the IOPC released statistics on the number of complaints made against each force. At 90 complaint cases per 1,000 employees, North Yorkshire had the lowest complaint rate.

For DCC Hussain, this is a reflection of a culture within the force.

"What we do is installed in our officers and staff. We do a lot of work across the organisation on ethics and values," he said.

He added that this is not designed to paint a picture where the force is exempt from some of the problems others face.

DCC Hussain admitted that there are occasions where misconduct happens, with those found liable dealt with robustly.

He said: “The findings of the pilot so far, support our belief that the overwhelming majority are trustworthy and honest, with no areas of concern found.

"However, we are not complacent and we see this pilot as a major step in continuing to build public trust and reassurance, and we intend to continue the checks beyond the pilot.

“It will ensure we have the most up-to-date information possible about our workforce, not just when they join us or when their vetting is renewed, but on a continuing basis.”

The pilot will officially end in December but the force has said it will continue to implement the initiative.

Data from the pilot scheme will be evaluated and the findings shared nationally with the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the College of Policing, the Home Office, and His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Service.

The results will help to inform future integrity screening processes for all police forces across England and Wales.

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