More than 100 Thames Valley Police workers have not been properly vetted
Thames Valley Police has 125 workers that have not been properly vetted a Freedom of Information request has revealed.
This includes general staff and frontline officers working on investigations, emergency response and neighbourhood patrols. The figures were correct in September 2019 but the force says it is still working to rectify the situation fully.
According to Thames Valley Police, a risk assessment has been carried out around these individuals and eased by the fact that they are long term employees of 15 years and more.
For a number of years, Thames Valley Police has agreed to carry a certain level of risk around vetting and have not invested staff wise within the Central Vetting Unit due to limited budgets and prioritising public safety.
The force says is investing in the unit now to ensure that all staff can be properly vetted.
And our police service is not the only force in the country with this issue.
A police watchdog report has found that an estimated 35,000 people working for police forces across England and Wales have not been properly vetted.
On average 13% of people in each police force have not been vetted.
The report found that:
Inspectors believe 37% of the Metropolitan Police are not correctly vetted.
Roughly half of those employed by the West Midlands Police, the second biggest force in the country, are not properly vetted(52%).
This is followed by 42% of Thames Valley Police staff not being vetted properly.
Stuart Gibbon, former police DCI, said: “It’s all about budgets and cuts. Not just the police, but other organisations, particularly the police have been stripped fairly bare in a lot of areas in relation to the number of staff they have and officers and what they are expected to do.
He added: “Chief constables of these forces have had pretty difficult decisions to make on what they have to cut because they inevitably have to cut something. They have agreed to carry a certain level of risk around vetting.”
The report also says that the police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct has received 415 complaints under the category of abuse of position for sexual purposes in the three years to the end of March.
Another report published at the same time found pressures on the police workforce have led to delays in answering calls, investigations taking far too long and officers and staff lacking the necessary training and supervision required for their jobs.
Although the report says that “most forces are performing well”, it also notes that “a workforce under pressure cannot give the public its best level of service”.