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A thorough and effective vetting process is a key component in assessing an individual’s integrity.

Avon and Somerset Police are committed to safeguarding and operate safer recruitment processes, to ensure a police service that employees are proud to work for because they feel safe, valued and part of a happy and supportive work environment. This means all employees and volunteers will go through background checks including vetting and references.

Vetting 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.

On occasions we may request a vetting interview to have a face to face conversation with an applicant about any areas of concern.

Vetting tips

  • Ensure any previous surnames, dates of birth and addresses are provided for individuals on your vetting forms.
  • Where you cannot establish specific details, include a rationale detailing why, but 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.
  • If you email us with a vetting enquiry, check your ‘junk/spam’ folders as often an applicant’s lack of response to a communication from us is because the email has been diverted to another email folder.

The vetting process

How long does vetting take?

Vetting can take four weeks or longer, but this depends on the level of vetting required and can vary dependent on the role.

National Security Vetting (NSV) will take longer.

What background checks take place during vetting?

Convictions and cautions
You may still be eligible to join the police service if you have minor convictions/cautions/reprimands. However, there are certain offences and conditions that will make you ineligible.

Each vetting case will be considered on its own individual merits in relation to the role being undertaken and assets being accessed. Therefore it is not appropriate to identify a prescriptive list of convictions and cautions that should lead to a vetting rejection.

Particular care should be taken where an individual has been convicted of (or cautioned for) offences of dishonesty, corrupt practice or violence.

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.

If you are unsure if an incident or involvement is required to be disclosed when requested on a vetting form, please contact the Vetting Office for advice and guidance.

Financial checks
All applicants applying for a Vetting clearance, with the exception of Non Police Personnel Vetting Level 1 and Non Police Personnel Vetting Level 2 Abbreviated clearances, will have their financial status verified through a credit reference check.

These 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. Each case will be considered on its individual merits.

Criminal associations
You are required to inform us of anyone that you associate with that you know or have reason to believe has criminal convictions or is engaged with criminal activities.

We will check whether any close family or co-residents are involved in criminal activity and will search for any criminal convictions or cautions recorded against them. It is the applicant’s responsibility to advise people that these enquiries will be made and that their details will be provided to the Constabulary for this purpose.

Placement on the barred and advisory list
Individuals placed on the Police Barred and Advisory lists will not be considered for employment by the police for a minimum of 5 years from the date of listing in the case of gross misconduct, or 3 years from the date of listing in the case of poor performance.

Membership of BNP or similar
The Police Regulations 2003 prohibit any of their staff from becoming members of organisations whose aims and objectives may contradict the duty to promote race equality (including the British National Party (BNP), Combat 18, National Front or similar).

Live disciplinary warnings in employment
Applicants who have received a disciplinary warning within the past that are still live may not be able to apply, including those asked to resign from employment.

I am not a UK resident, can I still be vetted?

Vetting clearance cannot be granted if the applicant has not been resident in the UK for the minimum period. See below residency requirements:

  • Recruitment Vetting (RV) – three years
  • Management Vetting (MV) – five years
  • Non-Police Personnel Vetting (NPPV) – three years
  • Counter-Terrorist check (CTC) – three years
  • Security Check (SC) – five years
  • Developed Vetting (DV) – ten years
I am serving in the armed forces but am living outside of the UK, is that ok?

If you have been living outside the UK while serving with the armed forces or on government service, you are classed as being resident in the UK. Therefore the above criteria for non-UK residents does not apply.

What happens if I provide false information on my vetting form?

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
  • Any inappropriate behaviour which impinges on a person’s suitability to serve in the role. This includes social media activity. All current or unused social media accounts should comply with the Police Code of Ethics.
Do I have to declare other business interests and other potential conflicts?

You are required to declare any business interests and the extent of your involvement, which you intend to continue should you be successful in applying for the role.

Please see our guidance on business interests (PDF).

What happens if I pass/fail vetting?

When vetting clearance is granted or refused both you and the Talent Acquisition team will be updated via our eRecruitment portal and this information will be available to you via the candidate portal. If you have passed vetting your application will proceed to the next stage of recruitment.

When vetting clearance is declined, you can request feedback via the candidate portal. We will inform you 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

Vetting clearances can be refused or withdrawn at any level.

Appealing the decision
If vetting clearance is declined, you 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

If you wish to appeal, email our Vetting Team: VettingOffice@avonandsomerset.police.uk

The appeal decision is final.

Privacy Notice

The privacy notice for police vetting explains how we intend to store and handle your personal data and that of third parties in the course of conducting police vetting checks.

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