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«Thames Valley Police Central Vetting Unit A Vetting – Frequently Asked Questions What is the vetting policy within Thames Valley Police? As part of ...»

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RESTRICTED – Staff (when completed)

Thames Valley Police

Central Vetting Unit

A Vetting – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the vetting policy within Thames Valley Police?

As part of the recruiting process for employment, internal appointment, contractual work or

volunteering, Thames Valley Police completes a vetting review that includes criminal records and

national security checks.

The extent to which a vetting review is undertaken depends upon the role for which an individual is being considered. Roles have been assessed and the vetting level required is influenced by the location, nature of the work, and extent to which access is required to sensitive information or computer systems.

This policy is applied to protect employed staff and non-police personnel who occupy vulnerable posts within the force, and to provide Thames Valley Police with a degree of assurance as to an individual’s reliability and trustworthiness.

Why is a vetting system necessary?

Recent investigations at national and international level have provided evidence that criminals actively target police staff or others connected with the service who could be used to assist them in furtherance of their criminal activities. Members of the press and employees of private detective agencies also target police staff to obtain confidential information. Another security risk is the potential for criminals or their associates to infiltrate the work force.

In addition, the Police Service is required to carry out National Security Checks for those in certain sensitive posts to counter threats which may stem from foreign intelligence services and terrorist groups.

Who is affected?

The vetting requirement applies to employed staff, volunteers and other non-police personnel who are engaged in support of Thames Valley Police or who work in associated partnerships. The staff

categories include:

¾ Police Officers ¾ Police Staff ¾ Police Community Support Officers ¾ Special Constables ¾ Volunteers ¾ Contractors ¾ Temporary or Agency Staff ¾ Partnership Staff The extent to which vetting is undertaken is balanced against the level of access required to police premises, sensitive information and computer systems.

The aim is to ensure that vetting enquiries are carried out only as far as necessary to achieve the required safeguards within the provisions of Human Rights and Data Protection legislation.

RESTRICTED – Staff (when completed) RESTRICTED – Staff (when completed) How does the vetting system work?

You will be asked to complete a number of forms to provide personal information and confirm your identity and place of residence. For roles requiring enhanced vetting, additional forms will be supplied for you to provide financial information and / or details for national security checks to be completed.

Details are checked against criminal and national security records, other public records such as the electoral role and, in some cases, credit reference agencies.

The results are assessed taking account of any references, and suitability considered against the role, access required to premises, information and systems, and the degree of supervision. A decision will be made regarding your suitability and, prior to appointment, a review will be undertaken to ensure that no changes have occurred since completion of the forms.

You will also be required to sign a confidentiality declaration.

Can checks be carried out if I have not been resident in the United Kingdom?

Because of the vetting requirements necessary before employment or access to premises or assets within Thames Valley Police, it is difficult to complete thorough checks on individuals who have not been resident in the United Kingdom for the previous three years.

Therefore, except in very exceptional circumstances, three year residency is an essential requirement.

Do I have to complete the procedure?

Should you decide, for whatever reason, that you are unable to complete any particular sections of the questionnaires, or do not wish to do so, you should discuss the matter with your line manager, the Thames Valley Police Personnel Officer or Vetting Officer. This should be done before submitting forms to the Central Vetting Unit.

In some cases it may be necessary for you to be interviewed by the Vetting Officer prior to any decision as to vetting clearance. The objective of the interview is to obtain sufficient information to allow vetting clearance and to discuss any difficulties which may arise.

It must be remembered that persons not vetted under this procedure will be denied unrestricted access to force premises, information or systems. For contractors this could affect the ability to meet their obligations and such risk remains with the contractor; no liability is assumed by the force.

Can I work within the police service if I have criminal convictions or cautions?

It depends upon the nature of the conviction or caution, and the role to be undertaken. In summary, the more access required to sensitive information or systems, then the more stringent the vetting requirement.

In general terms, if you require access to sensitive information or systems to fulfil your role then it is unlikely that vetting clearance will be given if you have convictions or recent cautions for serious offences involving dishonesty, drugs, violence or sexual offences. In addition, some motoring offences such as drinking and driving, or where a number of offences have been committed, will also be unacceptable until a period of time has elapsed. For drinking and driving the period is ten years.

These issues are considered against other factors including involvement with the police (other than as a victim or witness), or other criminal contact or associations.

If you need further advice, please contact the Central Vetting Unit.

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What is meant by the term ‘criminal association’?

Criminal association relates to the association with persons who may not have a criminal record, but who are engaged in criminal activities, or those who associate with such persons.

It is possible that some individuals belong to clubs, associations and organisations where fellow members fall into the above-mentioned category. If this information is known to the applicant it should be included. In addition, if you have friends or relatives who fall into this category, their details must also be included.

Under no circumstances should you, or anyone at your request, carry out checks to ascertain whether or not any of your associates have criminal convictions, or are recorded as being actively engaged in crime.

Why have I been asked to indicate any medical condition?

For some more sensitive roles, you will be asked to identify whether your suitability could be affected by a medical or psychological issue. In these circumstances the matter will be referred to the Force Medical Officer for assessment.

The details of any condition will not be disclosed to the Vetting Officer or any other person without your consent. However, if the Force Medical Officer is of the opinion that it would not be appropriate for you to be employed or continue to serve in a particular post, the Vetting Officer will be notified and you will be informed.

It should be borne in mind that such decisions are exceptional and it will only be in the most serious cases that clearance will be refused.

What is the purpose of financial enquiries?

Financial checks are not completed for all posts but, when applicable, their purpose is to assess whether you have direct or indirect access to sufficient funds to minimise the risk of vulnerability to financial inducement.

It is in this context that details of an individual's and partner’s finances are required. However, if you are not aware of the extent of your partner’s finances and your partner will not disclose this information to you, you must indicate this in the questionnaire and include as much information as possible.

Individuals are most vulnerable when they have debts or other relevant factors which have not been disclosed. When the information has been provided ‘in confidence’ the risk of compromise is significantly reduced.

There is no need to worry about mortgage and credit commitments that are in line with your income, providing you are normally able to manage the repayments. Debts only become a problem where they are substantial and individuals fail to take remedial action.

Why do I have to provide details of my identity?

Identity checks are an essential part of the vetting process, including national security clearance checks, and for this reason you will be asked to present original documents such as passport or birth certificate to your manager or recruiting officer. These will be examined and copies taken for retention by the Central Vetting Unit.

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What if I keep quiet about something in my past and hope no-one finds out?

Knowingly providing false information or concealing information on a vetting form or at any subsequent interview could be regarded as evidence of unreliability and / or dishonesty. Indeed your clearance could be refused because of this, even though what you were seeking to conceal would not itself have caused a problem. Furthermore, your clearance could be removed at a later date if the facts subsequently come to light.

Remember – it is only in the most serious cases that consideration will be given to refusing vetting clearance. The main objective of the vetting procedure is to ensure that members of staff cannot be compromised because they have ‘secrets’ they do not wish to be disclosed.

Do I have to notify changes to my personal circumstances?

Any significant changes in personal circumstances such as permanent partner, new residents at your home, change of address, arrests, cautions or convictions, or association with criminals should be notified to the Vetting Officer.

How long does the vetting procedure take?

Provided the vetting forms have been completed fully and accurately, vetting checks can be completed within a few days. However, where checks have to be completed in other police force areas or in other countries, there can be a delay of several weeks or months.

How long will my vetting last?

Depending upon the level of vetting and sensitivity of role, your vetting clearance will last for between three and ten years. For some roles an annual review will be undertaken and this will involve you and your line manager completing a short assessment form for return to the Vetting Officer.

If vetting clearance is refused can I appeal?

Vetting will not commence until short listing has been completed. If vetting clearance is then refused you will be advised, although specific reasons will not normally be given to protect the confidentiality

of others and the security of Thames Valley Police. However, you can take the following action:

¾ External applicants – may request a review of the vetting decision and this will be undertaken by an independent manager.

¾ Internal applicants – may appeal and this will be reviewed in stages finishing with the Deputy Chief Constable.

In cases relating to national security checks, a separate appeal process is available. Information will be supplied by the Vetting Officer upon request.

What safeguards are there?

Information provided during the vetting process will be processed in strict confidence and will only be used for security purposes. Completed questionnaires will be retained in files, securely stored within the Central Vetting Unit. The information will not be disclosed to any outside agency.

Who do I contact for advice?

Write to: Thames Valley Police, PO Box 319, Kidlington, OX5 2WY Email: HUvetting@thamesvalley.pnn.police.ukU Telephone: 01865 846730

–  –  –

D Personal Information

Before starting to complete this form:

x Please read Explanatory Notes on back page x Remember to enter information in BLACK INK and BLOCK LETTERS x Ensure you answer all questions in full x If a question does not apply, clearly mark as N/A

–  –  –

Section 6 – Previous Convictions and Cautions In answering these questions, please include ‘spent convictions’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, and traffic convictions (other than parking fines).

–  –  –

Section 11 – Reference (Please tick … if you want us to delay contact and explain in Section 14) Please supply details of two referees. At least one should include your most recent line manager from your current employer – or if not employed, from another reputable person.

Employer Name of Line Manager (or other) Contact Address

–  –  –

If you have been through a previous vetting process please provide brief details of level, force and date of clearance Section 14 – Additional Information Section Number Section 15 – Declaration ¾ I declare that I have read and understood the explanatory notes provided and that the information I have provided is true and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief.

¾ I undertake to notify my family and co-residents that their details have been supplied as part of the vetting process.

¾ I understand that I may be required to see the Force Medical Officer if this is considered necessary.

¾ I undertake to notify any material changes or additions in the information I have provided in this form, to the Central Vetting Unit.

¾ I understand that if I have knowingly made a false statement or deliberate omission in the information I have provided in this form, I may be disqualified from access to Thames Valley Police premises, systems or information and, in respect of employees, may be liable to disciplinary action.

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