• Monday, December 11, 2023


UK bolsters police vetting after damaging scandals

Under the changes, officers will face dismissal if they fail to hold minimum vetting clearance

Home secretary Suella Braverman (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

THE UK on Thursday (20) announced new vetting standards for police officers, after a string of scandals rocked confidence in British policing.

Police chiefs are being given additional tools to “root out officers unfit to serve the public”, the Home Office said as it unveiled an update to the College of Policing’s Vetting Code of Practice.

It follows of number of highly damaging episodes for UK forces, in particular the Metropolitan Police Service, the country’s largest.

In March, a review found it to be institutionally racist, sexist and homophobic.

The report, written by government official Louise Casey, was commissioned after the kidnap, rape and murder two years ago of a London woman, Sarah Everard, by serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens.

Since then another officer, David Carrick, has also been jailed for life for dozens of rapes and sexual assaults stretching back two decades.

The Met revealed in January that 1,071 of its own officers had been or were under investigation for domestic abuse and violence against women and girls.

Under the changes, officers will face dismissal if they fail to hold minimum vetting clearance, and an officer’s vetting should be reviewed following the conclusion of misconduct proceedings that do not end in a dismissal.

The revised code also now mandates vetting checks to ensure any officers who have previously been dismissed cannot re-join the police.

“The sickening cases of David Carrick and Wayne Couzens made clear the need for vetting practices that are effective and consistent in identifying those not fit to serve,” home secretary Suella Braverman said in a statement.

“Improving the standards of our officers is key to the common sense policing the public expect, and that is why I asked the College of Policing to urgently strengthen police vetting.”

Braverman said enforcing the new standards would trigger “top-down culture change that is crucial to rebuilding public confidence”.


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