Review finds police vetting failures
A review by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has found hundreds of police vetting failures, resulting in instances where people should not have been permitted to join police forces. Some cases showed evidence that the officers concerned may pose a risk to the public.
There was also no evidence that officers that were improperly permitted to join the police force were subsequently subject to risk mitigation, such as enhanced supervision.
In addition, the review found instances of individuals transferring between police forces despite a history of concerning intelligence, complaints or misconduct allegations. In one example, an applicant for a community support officer position was found to have been cautioned in a domestic violence case. In another, a special constable applicant had been convicted of indecent exposure.
Matt Parr, His Majesty’s inspector constabulary, noted the impact that police vetting failures would have on efforts to rebuild public trust in the police. Despite repeated warnings, he said, “not enough has been done to improve standards and stamp out misogyny and predatory behaviour in policing.” Police forces must do more to prevent unsuitable police from being hired, and to quickly dismiss unfit officers and staff.
The review is just the latest in a string of horrifying stories coming to light from investigations into the police following the murder of Sarah Everard. In June, for instance, HMICFRS announced it had found the vast majority of police officers accused of domestic violence were being allowed to remain in their job unpunished.
While the first step to solving a problem is naming it, it is not clear what systematic steps the police are taking to ensure unsuitable individuals are not hired, or removed from the force once they are. A year and a half after Sarah Everard’s murder, a steady stream of examples of police misconduct continue to bubble to the surface. Not enough is being done.
This blog was written by Kendal Youngblood, Solicitor at didlaw.