Legal and Professional Standards Department - Residency criteria procedure (P04k)
1. Summary of changes
1.1. This standard operating procedure (SOP) was reviewed in November 2021 – terminology updated in paragraph 3.9.
2. What this procedure is about
2.1. This SOP provides details of the residency criteria to be applied to individuals in respect of recruitment to the force, and to those working in partnership with Kent Police and therefore requiring force vetting (FV).
Compliance with this SOP and any governing policy is mandatory.
3. Detail the procedure
3.1. The residency criteria contained in the Vetting Code of Practice and APP Vetting applies equally to all applicants, regardless of nationality. Where the applicant has resided abroad due to the fact that they have been serving in the British armed forces or on UK government service, they are considered to have been resident in the UK. Where an individual has been overseas as the spouse, partner or dependent of a member of the armed forces posted overseas, they can be considered to have been resident in the UK if their place of residence was within the confines of the establishment, e.g. a military base. If they were residing outside this, they are considered to have been resident overseas. For such individuals, in addition to the checks outlined in APP vetting, enquiries should also be made with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) or relevant departmental security officer.
3.2 The purpose of the residency rule arises from the requirement to vet all applicants in an equitable manner. This is due to the fact that the UK police service does not currently have any means of facilitating vetting enquiries overseas to the extent required for those who have been resident in the UK. College of Policing circular 02/2011 clearly states that applicants who cannot be vetted cannot be appointed.
3.3 The purpose of the residency criteria is to ensure that applicants have a “checkable history” in the UK in order to assist chief constables in discharging their obligation to run an efficient and effective force. This duty cannot be fulfilled if the chief constable is incapable of assessing the honesty, integrity and reliability of their appointees against the information, or lack of information, available.
3.4 For force vetting, the following minimum periods for UK residency apply:
recruitment vetting - three years
management vetting - five years
non-police personnel vetting - three years
3.5 Whilst discretion can be exercised in extreme cases, the overriding principle must be to adhere to the minimum periods set out in paragraph 3.4 above.
3.6 For national security vetting (NSV), the Security Policy Framework (SPF) published by His Majesty's Government Cabinet Office sets out the minimum periods of residence in the UK required before meaningful checks at the various national security vetting levels can be completed. Departments and agencies are advised to exercise discretion when individuals have not resided in the UK for the following periods:
counter terrorist check (CTC) three years
security check (SC) five years
developed vetting (DV) ten years
3.7 The calculation of the periods of time shown above refer to the period immediately before an application is made, and not any other three, five, or ten year period, or any other accumulation of time spent in the UK.
3.8. Where a UK citizen has resided outside of the UK for a period not exceeding 12 months, the vetting criteria may be met provided a full account can be obtained from the applicant regarding the time spent abroad, including countries visited and any employment or voluntary work undertaken. It will be necessary to verify the account provided with requests for references. This concession was introduced by the Home Office who were concerned that those on ‘gap-year’ travels would be excluded from joining the police service for three or five years from the date of their return to the UK.
3.9 Where it is possible to make vetting enquiries in overseas jurisdictions some flexibility may be exercised in relation to the minimum residency period at the discretion of the force vetting manager. However, this can only be done where it is possible to make checks in the relevant jurisdictions with local law enforcement and national security bodies, which are equivalent to the enquiries which would be made in the UK, on both the applicant and family members and associates, as detailed within the APP vetting. This is in relation to force vetting only and does not apply to national security vetting.
3.10 It is recognised that in the wider policing arena, outside of the vetting community, there is an expectation that the composition of the police service reflects the communities it serves. Therefore, in exceptional circumstances, the chief officer of a force may elect to depart from strict application of the residency criteria. Such departure requires the authority of the chief officer of the relevant force and must follow the submission of both a business case and full risk assessment conducted on an individual case by case basis, i.e. no blanket appointments will be permissible.
3.11 Despite the appointment being made with recruitment vetting clearance having been granted, the individual’s subsequent ability to transfer between forces could be jeopardised as the decision to appoint will have been made according to local need and based on the risk appetite of the initially appointing force. It is also unlikely that any higher levels of vetting clearance under either the force vetting or national security vetting regimes will be attainable until the individual is able to satisfy the residency criteria.
4. Equality Impact Assessment (EIA)
4.1 An EIA has been carried out and shows the proposals in this policy would have no potential or actual differential impact on grounds of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, transgender, disability, age, religion or belief or sexual orientation.
5. Risk assessment
5.1 This SOP has been assessed as medium risk.
Central Vetting Unit
Health and Safety
Freedom of Information
7. Other source documents
8.1 Kent Police have measures in place to protect the security of your data in accordance with our Information Management policy (Policy W1000 – Information Management).