Why do we vet people?

Everyone in the police service must maintain high ethical and professional standards and act with the utmost integrity. They must maintain and promote such standards. A thorough and effective vetting regime is a key component in assessing an individual’s integrity. It helps to reassure the public that appropriate checks are conducted on individuals in positions of trust. Vetting also identifies areas of vulnerability which could damage public confidence in a Force or the wider police service.

We conduct vetting checks in accordance with the College of Policing’s Vetting Code of Practice and Authorised Professional Practice (APP) Compliance with the APP ensures that consistency is applied throughout the police service across England and Wales.

Who is affected?

The vetting requirement applies to employed staff, volunteers and other non-police personnel who are engaged in support of Kent Police or who work in associated partnerships, categories include:

  • police officers
  • police staff
  • police community support officers
  • special constables
  • volunteers
  • contractors
  • temporary or agency staff
  • partner agencies.

The extent to which vetting is undertaken is balanced against the level of access required to police premises, sensitive information and computer systems. This is necessary to achieve safeguards required within the Human Rights and Data Protection legislation. Information provided during the vetting process will be processed in strict confidence and will only be used for vetting purposes. Completed questionnaires will be retained securely within the Central Vetting Unit.

How does the vetting system work?

You will be asked to complete an online vetting form and provide personal information and confirm your identity and place of residence. For roles requiring enhanced vetting, additional forms may be supplied requesting further information and / or details for national security checks to be completed.

If you are applying for the roles of police staff employee, police constable or special constable, it is mandatory to include the following persons on your vetting form and failure to include the relevant details may lead to a vetting refusal on the grounds of omission of relevant information;

  • parents (full, step, adoptive and parents’ partner)
  • children (full, step, adopted, fostered, partner’s children) over the age of 10 years
  • siblings (full, step, adopted, fostered, half)
  • spouse/partner (includes boyfriend, girlfriend whether living together or not)
  • house mates/lodgers (including shared accommodation with communal areas)
  • criminal associates (associations who you know are, or think may be, involved in criminal activities, or has a conviction or caution).

Please ensure you include all

  • full names
  • maiden and previous names
  • dates of birth
  • place of birth and
  • addresses.

If you do not know their details, please ensure you ask family members or anyone who may be able to help you obtain this information. If you are unable to provide any of these details, you must provide us with a full rationale as to why this information cannot be provided.

Details are checked against criminal, intelligence and national security records, other public records such as the electoral role and, in some cases, credit reference agencies. We also check content on publicly available social media sites for the purposes of service reputational reassurance and compatibility with the Code of Ethics.

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

There is not a prescriptive list of convictions and cautions that lead to a vetting rejection. Each case is considered on its own individual merits in relation to the role being undertaken and assets being accessed. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exemptions) Order 1975 does not apply to any police officer posts, but it does apply to all police staff employee posts, including PCSOs, and non-police personnel, in respect of protected cautions and protected convictions only. These do not need to be disclosed by you for police staff employee and non-police personnel roles, and, if they are, they are not considered as part of the vetting process if they are not relevant.

Applications for a position as a police officer; a special constable; or as a member of police staff where that member of staff may be in the evidential chain are rejected in all cases where:

  • offences were committed as an adult or juvenile which resulted in a prison sentence (including custodial, suspended or deferred sentence and sentences served at a young offenders’ institution or community home); or
  • the applicant is a registered sex offender or is subject to a registration requirement in respect of any other conviction.

What is the purpose of financial enquiries?

Financial checks are used to assess whether applicants have been, are currently, or are likely to be in financial difficulty, or show signs of financial irresponsibility to the extent that they could become vulnerable to financial inducement.

There is no need to be concerned about mortgage and credit card commitments that are in line with your income, providing you meet these commitments. Debts only become a problem where they are substantial and individuals fail to take remedial action or where they are caused by compulsive behaviour, such as gambling.

When we identify anomalies between your declarations and the information provided by the credit check, or where there is a need to clarify an issue, you will be contacted in an attempt to resolve the matter, or in exceptional cases you may be requested to attend an interview to discuss these anomalies.

You will not qualify for vetting clearance if you:

  • have existing county court judgments outstanding
  • have been registered bankrupt and have not discharged your bankruptcy. Applicants will not be considered until 3 years after the discharge of the debt. Debt Relief Orders (DRO) are treated in the same way as bankruptcy
  • if you refuse to discuss a relevant matter or engage with the vetting process.

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

Knowingly providing false information, deliberately misleading information or concealing information on a vetting form or at any subsequent interview could be regarded as evidence of unreliability and / or dishonesty. 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 later if the facts subsequently come to light.

The vetting process requires scrutiny to be applied to the following factors:

  • past infringement of security or vetting policy or procedures
  • significant or repeated breaches of discipline
  • providing false or deliberately misleading information, or omitting significant information from the vetting questionnaires
  • unauthorised association with people with previous convictions or reasonably suspected of being involved in crime.

Other identified areas of concerns include:

  • drug and alcohol misuse
  • abuse of position/inappropriate sexual behaviour
  • previous breaches of the Code of Ethics
  • professional standards intelligence
  • financial vulnerability
  • identified conflict of interest
  • other inappropriate behaviour (including social media activity) which impinges on a person’s suitability to serve in the role.

What else can I do to ensure my vetting application is not delayed unnecessarily?

  • ensure maiden names, dates of birth and addresses are provided for all listed people on your vetting forms
  • where you cannot establish specific details, include a rationale detailing why, but please note that failure to submit details which you cannot reasonably account for, could lead to a vetting refusal
  • ensure all County Court Judgements (CCJs) are satisfied
  • have up to date Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) documents demonstrating you are not defaulting on any payment plans in place
  • if you are applying for a police officer or special constable role you must declare all police contact, arrest history and reprimands, warnings, cautions and convictions (this list is not exhaustive). Failure to declare police contact is highly likely to lead to a vetting refusal
  • please ensure you check your emails and your ‘junk/spam’ folder as often an applicant’s lack of response to a communication from us is because the email has been diverted to another email folder.