Recruitment of Officers with Troubling Backgrounds Raises Concerns About Vetting Procedures

Recruitment of Officers with Troubling Backgrounds Raises Concerns About Vetting Procedures

...By Henry George for TDPel Media.

A recent review conducted by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has revealed that despite efforts to tighten vetting procedures, police forces in England and Wales continue to recruit individuals with problematic backgrounds.


The review uncovered 13 “cases of concern,” including officers associated with organized crime groups, with histories of domestic abuse or dishonesty. These findings raise serious questions about the effectiveness of current vetting processes.

Cases of Concern Uncovered in Urgent Review

The HMICFRS review examined the progress made by police forces following a damning report in November that highlighted issues of vetting, misconduct, and misogyny among staff.

Among the concerning cases discovered was an individual who applied for a police staff firearms licensing role but failed to disclose their association with an organized crime group.

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Despite this omission, the applicant was granted clearance.

Analysis and Commentary:

It underscores the fact that despite previous scrutiny, problematic cases persist, indicating a need for further improvements in the vetting process.

Insufficient Progress in Vetting Procedures

The review analyzed 300 vetting files handled by forces between December 2022 and January 2023.


While notable improvements were observed in vetting decision-making, 13 cases of concern were still identified.

These cases involved applicants with connections to organized crime groups, a history of domestic abuse, previous allegations of dishonesty, unexplained debts, or intentional omissions in their vetting applications.

Analysis and Commentary:

The variety of concerning cases highlights the range of issues that need to be addressed, including associations with criminal elements and instances of dishonesty.

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Inadequate Consideration of Risks

According to the review, all 13 cases of concern revealed disagreements with the vetting decisions made by the forces involved.

The review concluded that these forces had not adequately considered the risks associated with appointing these applicants, leaving substantial questions about the wisdom of their recruitment.

The HMICFRS informed the forces of their concerns, leading to the suspension or withdrawal of vetting clearance in several cases.

Lack of Proper Assessment and Oversight

Specific cases mentioned in the review demonstrate instances where vetting interviews were not conducted or relevant risk factors were overlooked.

For example, an applicant’s connection to a family member involved in serious and organized crime was not appropriately considered.

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As a result of the review’s findings, vetting clearances were either withdrawn or suspended.

The lack of proper assessment and oversight raises concerns about the thoroughness and attention to detail during the recruitment process.

Progress and Recommendations

The HMICFRS review was conducted in response to the Home Secretary’s request to assess the progress made in addressing the recommendations and areas for improvement outlined in the previous year’s report.

While forces provided self-assessments indicating action taken, some responses lacked detail or downplayed or overstated progress.

The HMICFRS conducted inquiries to verify or refute the information provided, leading to a more accurate understanding of the progress made.


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