Force compliance with National Vetting Policy for the Police Community

J Alexander made this Freedom of Information request to The Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland

The request was successful.

From: J Alexander

Dear Association of Chief Police Officers,

I refer to the ACPO & ACPOS National Vetting Policy for the Police
Community (NVP), dated August 2010.

I would be grateful if you could please answer the following
questions regarding the policy:

1. How and when was this policy communicated to the police forces?

2. Are police forces expected to comply with the Standard Operating
Procedures (SOPs) set out by the NVP?

Where police work has been contracted out by a police force to
third-party service providers, and the nature of the work requires
a degree of security vetting for all staff on the premises (eg.
Counter Terrorism Clearance):

3. Does the ACPO expect that the third-party service provider is
made aware aware of the NVP in whole or part (for instance, either
by the force involved or the ACPO itself)?

3. Is the third-party service provider exempt from complying with
SOP2 (Authentication)?

4. Is the third-party service provider exempt from complying with
point 4.2 of SOP2 that states that "it is the responsibility of the
Recruitment Manager, employer or other internal sponsor to ensure
Authentication takes place and is fully audited prior to vetting
forms being forwarded to the Force Vetting Unit"?

5. If the third-party service provider was made aware of
information that meant that a candidate for employment could not
fulfil the requirements of Authentication (ie. failed one or more
of the four basic 'stages' of the process - Identity Check;
Nationality Check; Employment Eligibility check and/or Residency
Qualification), and the provider subsequently made an offer of
employment to that candidate and sent vetting forms to the Force
Vetting Unit, would the service provider be considered to have
failed to comply with the NVP?

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

J Alexander

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From: info acpo

J Alexander,

We apologise for the delay in responding to your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in relation to ACPO and ACPOS National Vetting Policy for the Police Community (NVP), dated August 2010.

There is a need at this point to draw your attention to the fact that ACPO is not yet a designated body covered by the terms of the Freedom of Information legislation. Although it was announced that ACPO would be included, the part V order has yet to be implemented by Parliament. For these reasons it is important that you clearly understand that not being bound by the legislation means that ACPO cannot apply exemptions to disclosure, engage the fees regulations and there is also no recourse from the applicant’s perspective to the Information Commissioners Office.

However, it is the intention of ACPO to comply with the spirit of the legislation; hence the format of your response follows what you may be used to receiving under the Act, with the above outlined caveats.

Below are your questions and our response to each.

1. How and when was this policy communicated to the police forces?

ACPO response: Following ratification by the ACPO Chief Constables Council on 5 May 2010 and the ACPOS Chief Constables Council on 5 July 2010, Version 3 of the National Vetting Policy for the Police Community (NVP) was circulated to all forces by e-mail on 5 August 2010. It is worthy of note that all forces were heavily involved in the drafting and consultation processes prior to the ratification of the Policy.

2. Are police forces expected to comply with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) set out by the NVP?

ACPO response: The Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) relating to the NVP are the minimum standards Forces are expected to comply with in relation to vetting issues. There is no legal obligation to do so and Chief Constables have the right to enforce the SOP’s as they see fit. Failing to comply with the SOP’s may result in that Forces vetting not being accepted by other Forces.

Where police work has been contracted out by a police force to third-party service providers, and the nature of the work requires a degree of security vetting for all staff on the premises (eg.Counter Terrorism Clearance):

3. Does the ACPO expect that the third-party service provider is made aware of the NVP in whole or part (for instance, either by the force involved or the ACPO itself)?

ACPO response: Where a third party service provider is providing a service to a Force that requires those providing the service to be vetted, the third party service provider will be notified of the related requirements of the NVP. This vetting is referred to as Non Police Personnel Vetting (NPPV) and such requirements are usually written into contracts.

4. Is the third-party service provider exempt from complying with point 4.2 of SOP2 that states that "it is the responsibility of the Recruitment Manager, employer or other internal sponsor to ensure Authentication takes place and is fully audited prior to vetting forms being forwarded to the Force Vetting Unit"?

ACPO response: The Authentication SOP (SOP2) is mainly designed to ensure that those persons being employed by a Force comply with the legal guidelines for such employment. In relation to NPPV, the vetting form is designed in such a way that the third party service provider must provide proof of identity to accompany the application form. In addition, details of residency are captured in the vetting form. It is assumed that the Nationality check as well as the Employment Eligibility check would be carried out by any prospective employer prior to an offer of employment.

5. If the third-party service provider was made aware of information that meant that a candidate for employment could not fulfil the requirements of Authentication (i.e. failed one or more of the four basic 'stages' of the process - Identity Check; Nationality Check; Employment Eligibility check and/or Residency Qualification), and the provider subsequently made an offer of employment to that candidate and sent vetting forms to the Force Vetting Unit, would the service provider be considered to have failed to comply with the NVP?

ACPO response: As per answer 4, SOP2 was designed primarily for Force vetting, in this regard, it is unlikely that third party service providers would be asked to provide details of Nationality or Employment Eligibility checks, however it would be assumed that these checks would be carried out prior to an offer of employment. If there are any ‘triggers’ on an application form the vetting officer would make further enquiries with the firm concerned. If an applicant failed either the Identity or residency checks, vetting checks carried out would highlight this, if following the granting of a vetting clearance subsequent adverse information was received relating to Nationality or Employment Eligibility checks then the vetting clearance would be suspended or withdrawn. Given that SOP2 is a Police vetting procedure it would be difficult to say that the Third party service provider had failed to comply with the NVP.

Regards,

ACPO Office
10 Victoria Street,
London SW1H ONN
Tel: 020-7084 8950/Fax: 020-7084 8951

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