Before recruiting anyone to work for North Wales Police, thorough checks must be undertaken to ascertain whether anything is known to the detriment of the applicant, his/her spouse, partner or civil partner, or close relatives including parents and siblings, wherever they live. It also includes any other person living or associating with the applicant.
All applicants, if successful in the recruitment process will be required to complete vetting forms to enable these checks to be made. Applicants must provide the requested details and advise those whose details are provided that these enquiries will be made.
North Wales Police cannot disclose the results of enquiries about third parties due to legislative constraints.
North Wales Police apply the criminal convictions guidance contained in the College of Policing Vetting Code of Practice and associated Authorised Professional Practice (APP) in relation to all Police Officer and Special Constable applications.
It is not appropriate to identify a prescriptive list of convictions and cautions that should lead to a vetting rejection. Each case should be considered on its own individual merits in relation to the role being undertaken and assets being accessed, subject to the rejection criteria highlighted below.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exemptions) Order 1975 does not apply to any Police Officer and Special Constable posts.
Applications for a position as a Police Officer or a Special Constable are to be 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.
For all other convictions or cautions there is a rebuttable presumption that applications should be rejected. In particular, the following should result in rejection:
- offences where vulnerable people were targeted
- offences motivated by hate or discrimination
- offences of domestic abuse
Convictions or cautions will not necessarily preclude you from appointment into police staff posts. It will depend on the role applied for and the nature of the offending behaviour.
Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 all police staff applicants have to declare previous convictions and cautions which would ordinarily be considered ‘spent’.
However, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exemptions) Order 1975 provides that applicants for police staff roles do NOT have to declare any information in relation to a PROTECTED caution or a PROTECTED conviction.
A conviction is considered to be PROTECTED if ALL the following criteria apply:
- It is not for a ‘listed offence’* under Article 2A(5) of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975
- No custodial sentence was imposed
- The individual has not been convicted of any other offence at any time
- 11 years or more have passed since the conviction, if the individual was aged 18 or over at the time of conviction, or 5 1/2 years or more have passed since the conviction, if the individual was under 18 at the time of the conviction
A caution is considered to be protected if ALL the following criteria apply:
- It is not for a ‘listed offence’* under Article 2A(5) of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975
- 6 years or more have passed since the caution, if the individual was aged 18 years or over at the time the caution was given, or 2 years or more have passed since the caution, if the individual was under 18 at the time the caution was given
*Listed offences include serious, violent and sexual offences and offences which are of specific relevance to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults, and will never be filtered or protected. The specified list of offences which will never be filtered or protected can be found on Gov.uk or is available from the Vetting Unit.
Applicants are responsible for understanding if they have a protected caution or conviction and to ensure the correct completion of the vetting form. If in doubt contact the Vetting Unit for advice.
North Wales Police apply the criminal convictions guidance contained in the College of Policing Vetting Code of Practice and associated Authorised Professional Practice (APP) in relation to all police staff applications. As a result applications will be rejected 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)
- the applicant is a registered sex offender or is subject to a registration requirement in respect of any other conviction
For all other convictions or cautions there is a rebuttable presumption that they should be rejected and, in particular, offences where vulnerable people were targeted, offences motivated by hate or discrimination and offences of domestic abuse should result in rejection.
We will take particular care where an individual has been convicted of (or cautioned for) offences of dishonesty, corrupt practice or violence.
Each case will be considered on its merits and, whilst the rebuttable presumption is that convictions, cautions or other sanctions should lead to rejection, there may be cases where this may be disproportionate in the circumstances.
There may be circumstances where an applicant does not fall within the criteria, but whose suspected involvement in crime, or criminal associations make an offer of employment inappropriate.
All applicants will have their financial status verified through a credit reference check. These checks are carried out because police staff have access to privileged and highly sensitive information, which may make them vulnerable to corruption. Applicants to the police service should normally be free from un-discharged debt or liability and be able to manage existing loans. The emphasis should be on the sensible management of debt.
Applicants who have existing County Court Judgements outstanding against them or have been registered as bankrupt and have not discharged their bankruptcy will not be considered. Applicants who have been registered as bankrupt and have discharged their bankruptcy debts will not be considered until three years after the discharge of the debt. Debt Relief orders (DRO) will be treated in the same way as a bankruptcy.
Careful consideration is given where a credit reference check reveals that an applicant has a current individual voluntary arrangement (IVA). Clearance decisions will not be made until there is evidence that the applicant has maintained regular IVA repayments over a number of months and then each case will be considered on its individual merits. The same principle applies where the applicant has defaulted accounts.
Applicants who can show they have and are adhering to debt management arrangements may be considered. Documentary evidence will be required to demonstrate their commitment and adherence to any such debt management arrangements. Each case will be considered on its individual merits.
Vetting decisions and appeals
When vetting clearance is granted the Vetting Unit will notify the Recruiting Department and not the applicant direct.
When vetting clearance is declined we will inform the applicant of the reason, unless there is a valid reason not to, for example if doing so would:
- damage national security
- result in the force breaking any law
- frustrate the prevention or detection of crime
- impede the apprehension or prosecution of offenders
- result in the disclosure of sensitive information
- breach the confidentiality of any information provided in confidence
Where vetting clearance is declined applicants will have the right of appeal when 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 has been given for the decision
The appeal decision is final.
Frequently asked questions
- To provide clear standards in relation to the vetting procedures required for every person recruited to NWP, whether or not the individual provides a paid or unpaid service and all non-police personnel contracted to work for or provide a service to NWP.
- To minimise the risk of employing, engaging or contracting an individual who does pose, or may in the future pose a security threat to NWP personnel, systems, information or assets, whilst ensuring that no individual is employed, engaged or contracted without prior vetting clearance from the Force Vetting Unit.
- To ensure that a fair, consistent and appropriate standard of vetting is applied throughout NWP.
NWP is committed to the maintenance of the highest levels of honesty and integrity and to the prevention of corrupt, dishonest, unethical or unprofessional behaviour. Security vetting procedures support this commitment by ensuring that only those who demonstrate the highest standards of conduct, honesty and integrity are recruited to NWP and thereafter to ensure that these standards are maintained and supported by a periodic review process.
Applies to all members and prospective members of NWP including police officers, special constables, police community support officers, police staff, volunteers, contractors, sub-contractors and any other persons who require access to NWP premises, systems or assets.
As an applicant you will be asked to complete a vetting form which is relevant to your role. It will ask for personal information.
Depending on the role the vetting form also may ask you to complete a financial section in a tick box format with a provision to expand on your response should you feel the need to, or you may be asked to complete a vetting financial questionnaire, all of which requires your signature and it to be dated.
Details are checked against criminal and national security records and in some cases depending on level of vetting required for the role, checks are made with a Credit Reference Agency.
You will also be required to sign a confidentiality declaration.
Due to necessary vetting requirements prior to employment or access to police premises or assets within NWP, the residency criteria applies equally to all applicants. The residency rule is to ensure that applicants have a ‘checkable history’ in the UK to assist the Chief Constable in discharging his/her obligation to run an efficient and effective force.
The minimum periods of residency must refer to the period of time immediately before an application is made and not for any other periods of time accumulated in the UK.
Those who have been serving in the British Armed Forces or on UK Government Service are considered to have been resident in the UK.
Should you decide, for whatever reason, that you are unable to complete any particular sections of the vetting forms, or do not wish to do so, you should discuss the matter with your Line Manager or NWP point of contact. This should be done prior to submitting the forms.
In some cases it may be necessary for you to be interviewed by the Vetting Unit prior to any decision as to Vetting clearance. The objective of the interview is to obtain sufficient information to permit the Vetting Unit to conclude the vetting process, and to discuss any difficulties which may have arisen during the Vetting procedure.
It must be remembered that persons who have not engaged in the Vetting 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.
Each case is dealt with on its own merits. The NPCC National Vetting Policy minimum guidance criterion applies. When the newly proposed Code of Practice is introduced (this will replace the current National Policy), again similar principles will be applied.
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 further advice is required, please contact the Vetting Unit.
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.
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 unit 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 unit 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.
The force conducts its financial checks via a credit reference agency, normally Experian, and financial checks are required for all levels of vetting with the exception of Non-Police Personnel Vetting level 1 (NPPV level 1). This specific level of vetting applies to individuals having unsupervised access to police premises on an ad hoc and irregular basis but no access to any protectively marked information or electronic systems or assets.
The purpose is to assess whether you have direct or indirect access to sufficient funds to minimise the risk of vulnerability to financial inducement.
There is no need to be concerned or 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 when they are substantial and individuals fail to take remedial action. When information has been provided ‘in confidence’ the risk of compromise is significantly reduced.
Identity checks are an essential part of the vetting process, including National Security 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 documents will be examined, checked and verified, copies taken for retention and married with your vetting application. The documents are endorsed as a true copy, signed and dated.
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. 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.
It is only 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.
Any significant changes in personal circumstances such as a permanent partner, new residents at your home, change of address, arrest, caution or conviction or association with criminals should be notified to the Vetting Unit.
Provided the vetting forms have been accurately and fully completed, in an ideal world vetting checks can be concluded within a few days. However, where checks have to be completed in other force areas or in other countries, there can be a delay of several weeks or months.
This element all depends on the level of vetting required, validity can range from minimum of 3 years to a maximum of 10 years. Some levels of vetting attract an annual review vetting process, involving the completion of a combination form for you and your line manager to complete and then return to the vetting unit.
Vetting will not commence until the applicant has been successful at their interview. If vetting clearance is then refused you will be advised, and confirmed in writing from the Vetting Unit with a reason where possible. Specific reasons will not normally be given to protect the confidentiality of others and the security of NWP. Requests for an appeal or a review must be made in writing and must be from the applicant themselves, or endorsed by the applicant. This must be carried out within 28 days of the vetting decision being made.
There is no right to a review for any applicant; however it is suggested as best practice that a review is made available to the applicant opens to the following –
‘External Applicant’ – Recruitment Vetting (RV)/ Management Vetting (MV)/ Non-Police Personnel Vetting (NPPV) (Levels 1, 2 & 3)/ Transferees & Re-joiners.
Reviews are conducted by an independent Senior Police Officer with a full working knowledge of the NPCC National Vetting Policy, responding to the applicant within 28 days of receipt of the letter.
‘Internal Applicant’ – Recruitment Vetting (RV) and Management Vetting (MV).
Appeals are conducted by a nominated Officer of NPCC rank or other nominated individual who has not been involved in the original decision within 14 days of receipt of a written notification of the decision. Responding to the applicant within 28 days of receipt of the letter.
In cases relating to National Security checks, a separate appeal process is available. Information can be supplied by the vetting unit upon request.
All information provided during the vetting process will be processed in strict confidence and will only be used for security purposes. Completed vetting forms, vetting questionnaires and supporting documentation will be retained in electronic files, securely stored within the vetting unit, and the information is not disclosed to any outside agency.
Your nominated individual police contact, recruitment department, or write to:
Colwyn Bay Police HQ
Glan y Don