Thousands of police lacking up-to-date background checks, FoI reveals

Thousands of police officers across the UK have not had up-to-date background checks to ensure they are suitable to serve, a freedom of information (FoI) request submitted by the BBC has revealed.

Figures collated via the FoI, which received responses from 17 police forces, identified 90 per cent of officers employed by one force have not been vetted in line with current policy. About 14,000 police officers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland had not undergone up-to-date checks.

One of the forces which responded, Northumbria Police, admitted almost 3,000 or nine out of ten of its officers still had not been vetted in line with the most recent policy.

Responding to a request from the BBC under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, Northumbria Police admitted almost 3,000 or nine out of ten of its officers still had not been vetted in line with the most recent policy.

Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary Mike Cunningham said forces ‘need to address this matter urgently’ and that the ‘unacceptable’ backlog was down to a lack of resources and needed to be given ‘higher priority’.

Cunningham said: "I think it is simply a question of volume outstripping the supply of people to do the tasks.

"There is no doubt that forces who have not vetted or re-vetted large numbers of their staff are subject to a vulnerability."

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