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North Yorkshire Police has been taking part in a multi-agency pilot scheme to ensure continued confidence in the vetting compliance of its workforce, which sees monthly police checks carried out on its officers and staff via the Police National Database.
The pilot began in July 2022 and the results to date show high levels of vetting compliance and disclosures across its workforce.
Nationally, it has been identified that a gap exists when officers or staff are subject to police contact outside of their home force.
For example, if someone has been reported for offences, or their conduct results in a police intelligence record being created in another force area, there is an expectation that the staff member would inform their own force. While the vast majority act with the utmost integrity and high standards and would do so, the force accepts that a minority may not.
The pilot scheme is designed so that officers or staff cannot withhold the details of any contact with the police in another area. It will also ensure that the welfare of that officer or member of staff can be considered and any support put in place.
The results to date show reassuringly high levels of compliance across North Yorkshire Police’s workforce, reflecting the robust vetting process that is in place across the force.
Out of over 3,000 staff and officers, there were no issues flagged that the force was not already aware of at the time of vetting, and less than 20 records required further attention for less serious matters such as personal data not being updated. For example a change of address or name, or a person was not aware of the information if it related to an associate or family member living at the same address. For the small number that may require further attention, there are no risks to the workforce or public identified.
A recent report by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Service following an inspection of vetting, misconduct, and misogyny in the police service, highlighted the good work by North Yorkshire Police and recommends that all forces to make routine use of the PND as a tool for revealing any unreported adverse information about officers and staff.
North Yorkshire Police volunteered to take the lead in the pilot due to its work with the multi-agency team who helped deliver its ground-breaking non-molestation pilot. The processes and technology are already in place between the force and the relevant organisations including the Police National Database.
The pilot supports both Pillar 1 of the National Police Chiefs’ Council/College of Policing’s Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) framework ‘building trust and confidence’, and the strategic objectives of North Yorkshire Police’s VAWG strategy.
Deputy Chief Constable Mabs Hussain, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “We know that trust in the police service has been severely affected by recent events and we are taking a number of steps to rebuild that trust.
“We also know that the vast majority of our officers and staff act with the utmost honesty and integrity, however, we are not prepared to take the chance that a small minority may not.
“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.
“I am proud to see North Yorkshire Police leading the way in this important piece of work and pleased that our workforce has been shown to have high levels of compliance against our standards. My thanks go to the multi-agency team who have worked to implement it. I look forward to seeing the final evaluation and how the findings will help to influence policing nationally.”
The pilot began on 4 July and is due to conclude on 31 December. However, North Yorkshire Police intends to carry on the process beyond 31 December.
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.