Planned Vetting Changes Would Need Huge Investment

OFFICERS would be happy to be vetted annually, but there are not enough people to actually carry out the process.

Hampshire Police Federation has said the Government would need to invest heavily in paying for more staff to carry out vetting checks.

Chair Zoe Wakefield was responding to reports that annual integrity checks are to be part of a new code of practice drawn up by the College of Policing

She said: “Obviously it’s a huge undertaking to complete vetting for every officer. At the moment, officers are vetted when they join the service, and then everyone’s vetted every 10 years or when applying for a role that has a higher level of vetting.

“For Hampshire, with over 3,000 officers, it would take more than a year to vet every single officer. On the current staffing levels, I’d suggest they probably would struggle to do every officer in maybe five years.

“So if that’s what the Government wants, they’re going to have to invest heavily in it. They’re going to have to allow forces to employ a lot more people if they want that vetting done annually.

“I think most officers don’t have a problem with it, it’s just filing in a form. Most officers’ integrity is of the highest standard and they have absolutely nothing to hide. It’s just filling out a form, it’s not an onerous process. It’s all the checks that the vetting department have to do that takes the time.”

Zoe did say that forces generally could offer more support to officers who bring up concerns about the behaviour of colleauges.

She explained: “I have dealt with cases where a female has reported behaviour by a male officer and said she is worried about how it would affect the rest of her career. That’s the problem, that’s why people don’t report stuff, because they are fearful of what will be the impact on them.

“Forces need to really show that they will support officers. To give evidence against one of your colleagues, knowing that maybe other colleagues might believe them, not you – the impact on you, on your working environment is huge.”

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