New vetting standards for forces in England and Wales

A new code for police vetting was given the authority of Parliament today to improve consistency across 43 police forces.

Police vetting is used by forces in England and Wales to ensure the service is not exposed to potential risks and that only suitable people are employed as officers and staff.

Today a new Vetting Code of Practice was laid in Parliament meaning chief constables must have regard to it.

It will bring greater consistency to police vetting and mean the same standards will be applied to an applicant regardless of what force they apply to in England and Wales.

Recruitment vetting includes checks on an applicant’s criminal history, police intelligence, residency checks and financial position. Ongoing vetting will ensure that officers and staff business interests do not create a conflict with the role of policing.

The code includes a clear appeals process for applicants if they are rejected for a job in policing due to vetting.

The College has created training for vetting staff and published Authorised Professional Practice (APP), which is national police guidance, outlining the levels of vetting required depending on the job you apply for.

This is the second Code that the College has laid in Parliament since 2014.

Jackie Alexander, from the College of Policing, said:

“The public expects everyone in policing - from volunteers to staff to constables to its leaders – to act with integrity, and to be the most suitable people to be entrusted with the responsibly that policing holds.

“Helping forces implement, achieve and maintain appropriate standards in vetting is integral to assessing a person’s integrity and suitability to policing, while also ensuring the process is proportionate.

“The new Vetting Code of Practice sets the standards that will bring greater consistency across the police service, and as a code laid in parliament, it will carry more weight than guidance alone.

“The code is something that those involved in vetting have wanted and I am pleased that it has now been provided to them.” 

Home Secretary Amber Rudd, said:

“It is absolutely right that the public have high expectations of the police given the very special position of trust they hold in our society, keeping us safe and protecting vulnerable people.

“Confidence in the police remains high, but our officers must be beyond reproach. This is why it is right that a custodial sentence is a barrier to joining the police and there is consistent guidance about when discretion for minor offences should be used.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Vetting, Chief Constable Martin Jelley said:

“Vetting is an integral part of a police force’s framework of ethics and professional standards and is one part of protective security policies designed to assist in the identification and assessment of potential threat, risk and vulnerability.

“It assists with identifying individuals who are unsuitable to work within the police service, which in turn assists in safeguarding the public.

"The vetting code now puts these policies on a statutory footing, while the accompanying Approved Professional Practice has been developed to help implement and maintain consistent national standards across all UK forces.”

Contact Information

College Press Office

College of Policing

020 3837 0435

Notes to editors