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More than a quarter of UK police forces ‘do not meet officer vetting guidelines’

More than a quarter of UK police forces ‘do not meet officer vetting guidelines’
Mer enn 2,500 long-serving officers and other police staff are working despite not having up-to-date level of vetting, data shows

Around one in four police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have still not vetted all of their staff, an investigation has revealed.

Data released under the Freedom of Information Act showed more than 2,500 long-serving officers and other police staff are working despite not having the correct, up-to-date level of vetting.

The vetting procedures of police forces in London and across the country were put under the spotlight earlier this year following the murder of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens, a serving police officer.

Couzens had passed several rounds of vetting, including enhanced checks for armed roles, at three different forces, but three alleged incidents of indecent exposure in 2015 and in February this year were not fully investigated.

The case led to calls for the urgent revetting of all serving police officers.

Nå, a BBC File on 4 investigation has found that more than a quarter of forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have still not retrospectively vetted all their officers and staff to meet the guidelines introduced in 2006.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), whose job it is to independently assess politiarbeid operations, gave forces a deadline of July last year to revet all officers and staff to the 2006 retningslinjer.

These were introduced to ensure officers and staff were vetted to a basic, recruitment level, regardless of how long they had been serving in their force.

Of England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s 47 police forces, 41 responded to the BBC’s Freedom of Information requests, med 11 saying they still had not completed the revetting. The country’s largest force, the Metropolitan Police, which employed Couzens, was not included in the data.

Chief Constable Debra Tedds, who leads on vetting for the National Police Chiefs Council, said she believed the vetting procedure was “robust” but acknowledged there were a “small number of forces that do still have outstanding action plans that they need to work through”.

derimot, Zoe Billingham, former inspector of constabulary, described the figures as “deeply disappointing”.

Hun sa: “We know that policing attracts predators, a very tiny number, so of all of the professions and all public services, policing really does have to have the state-of-the-art tightest vetting processes and procedures in place.”

An HMICFRS spokesperson said: “To reduce the danger of unsuitable people joining the police service, it is essential that the quality of vetting is consistently high and that professional standards units are staffed by some of the best detectives.

“We are reviewing whether police forces have implemented our previous recommendations on vetting as part of our current round of routine inspections.

“In addition, the home secretary has commissioned us to carry out a thematic inspection of vetting and counter-corruption procedures in policing across England and Wales. We expect to report our findings next year.”