Why is vetting necessary?
Nationally we police with the consent of our communities, and it is only right that the public expect that the police service only employs people with the highest levels of integrity. The public also expect those that work in the Police Service to act and behave professionally at all times, as evidence will show that the media will focus on instances where this is not the case, leading to reputational damage to individual officers and the organisation.
On occasions, individuals employed by the police service or who have access to police premises, information or other assets, can be targeted by criminals, terrorist organisations or professionals (e.g. the media, loss adjusters, private detectives) seeking some type of gain by accessing those members of staff , information or premises. Although quite rare, this kind of infiltration usually has serious consequences for police and national security.
Who do we vet?
Vetting checks are conducted on the applicant, family members and co-residents.
What if I refuse to complete the procedure?
Without vetting clearance you will not be allowed access to West Yorkshire Police premises or assets. If there are any sections of the vetting documentation that cause you concern and that you feel you will be unable to complete you should contact the Force Vetting Officer to discuss your concerns prior to submitting the documentation to the Force Vetting Unit.
What do we look for?
The checks we conduct look for any previous behaviour on behalf of the applicant or their family which may present a risk to the Force. We look at previous arrests, investigations, cautions, convictions, penalty notices, intelligence reports, motoring offences and open source material.
West Yorkshire Police will not accept applications from people with cautions or convictions unless there are exceptionally compelling circumstances surrounding the original incident AND that conduct in the intervening period does not leave the force with any doubts about that person’s honesty and integrity.
What if I fail to declare something on the vetting forms?
The police service is entitled to expect that those who work for or with us are of the highest integrity, and that they are a person in whom we have absolute and unqualified trust. Where relevant information is not declared the presumption is that the applicants honesty and integrity are in question and this may lead to them being refused clearance. Many people later claim they were told by the police officer that dealt with them that there would not be a record of the event. You should presume that EVERYTHING is recorded and failure to mention it will have an adverse effect on your application. If you declare something which is not relevant, the Force Vetting Unit will discount it.
What is meant by Criminal Association?
A criminal associate is a person who has been or is currently involved in criminality (whether or not that has led to a conviction) with whom you have a connection. This is often a family member, in-law or friend. You should declare any such person and explain what your association is with that person, how often you see them, what your relationship with them is like and what steps you have taken to disassociate yourself from their criminal actions.
It is widely accepted that spouses or partners, immediate family members and those with whom a person shares a home can influence an individual, whether intentionally or unintentionally, by applying pressure or creating circumstances that can lead to vulnerability to coercion or inducement.
Although this may not be a product of the lifestyle or actions of the applicant, it remains the case that they may be affected by the lifestyle or actions of those closest to them. It is therefore necessary to consider the stability, circumstances and background of individuals with whom the applicant has relationships and who are within their immediate sphere of influence.
What is the purpose of financial enquiries?
Applicants to the police service should normally be free from undischarged debt or liability and be able to manage existing loans. Where this is not the case they become a vulnerable person who may be targeted by unscrupulous individuals or groups with something to gain. Consequently financial checks are conducted on the applicant to ensure they are managing any existing debt and not living a lifestyle which they cannot afford.
How long does the vetting procedure take?
Each case is treated on its merits and therefore it depends on what information is found during the checks. Sometimes it is necessary to call the applicant to interview so that concerns may be discussed and sometimes it is necessary to make enquiries in other forces or with other bodies. Therefore we do not give a set time to complete a vetting file but deal with them as expeditiously as possible.
If I am refused, is there an appeal?
The applicant may appeal a vetting decision where they believe one or more of the following factors apply.
- Further information is available that was not considered by the decision maker
- The vetting rejection was disproportionate considering the circumstances or details of the case
- The decision was perverse or unreasonable
- No explanation was given for the decision
Any appeal must be in writing and must clearly set out the grounds for appeal. Appeals are dealt with by a senior officer who is independent of the original decision making process and has not been previously involved in the case. Applicants should address their appeal to the Force Vetting Officer in the first instance, who will pass the appeal, along with his rationale for the decision, to a senior officer who will look into the case and respond directly to the applicant.
Will I be told the reasons for a refusal?
There are many reasons why an applicant can be refused and where possible the applicant will be told the reasons. However there are a number of situations where they cannot be told because the information held may relate to a family member, criminal associate or may be subject of an exemption from disclosure under the Data Protection Act.
What are the most common errors on the vetting forms?
- Failure to provide full address history
- Failure to list all family members including step parents, step siblings, half siblings
- Failure to include details of boyfriend/girlfriend under the spouse/partner section (we require details of those with whom you are co-residing as partners, or with whom you are in a steady relationship.
- Failure to declare previous involvement with the police. You should assume that if you have come into contact with the police during your life that it will be recorded on our systems, so if you fail to declare it, we will probably find out and you would be refused due to honesty and integrity issues
How do I let you know there has been a change in my personal circumstances?
- It is important that the Force Vetting Unit are made aware of any changes in your personal circumstances both during and after the vetting process. You are responsible for communicating these changes.
- You should make the Force Vetting Unit aware of:
- Any change in your personal or financial circumstances (e.g. new spouse/partner, dependent or co-resident, new loans or mortgages etc)
- Any significant change to your role which might be sufficient to require a different level of vetting
- Any convictions or cautions for criminal offences or involvement in criminal investigations relating to either yourself or anyone included on your original vetting or application forms
Page last reviewed January 2021