Frequently asked questions about Special's vetting

Why is vetting necessary?

Investigations have shown that individuals employed by the Police Service or who have access to Police premises, information or other assets are often targeted by both criminals, terrorist organisations and professionals (e.g. the media, loss adjusters, private detectives) who have something to gain from access to these Police resources.  Although quite rare, this kind of infiltration usually has serious consequences for Police and National Security, damaging the reputation of the Police Service in general.

What if I refuse to complete the procedure?

If there are any sections of the vetting documentation that cause you concern and that you feel you will be unable to complete you should discuss the matter with your Sponsor prior to submitting the documentation to the Force Vetting Unit.

Why do I have to prove my identity? (To the sponsor of your vetting)

It would be ill advised to assume that those wishing to infiltrate the Police Service for personal gain would always do so using their real identity.  If false details are provided and accepted without question, this could lead to vetting enquiries being undertaken against the wrong records.

Why do I have to provide information about my spouse/partner, co-residents & family members?

It is widely accepted that spouses or partners, immediate family members and those with whom a person shares a home can influence an individual, whether intentionally or unintentionally, by applying pressure or creating circumstances that can lead to vulnerability to coercion or inducement.

Although this may not be a product of the lifestyle or actions of the applicant, it remains that they may be affected by the lifestyle or actions of those closest to them.  It is therefore necessary to consider the stability, circumstances and background of individuals with whom the applicant has close relationships and who are within the immediate sphere of influence for those who operate in roles where access unrestricted access is afforded to police premises, information or other assets.

If I don’t tell you everything, how will you know?

Honesty and Integrity is of great importance in vetting decision-making.  Deliberately omitting information that you are required to declare if known to you has serious consequences in vetting cases, even after clearance has initially been granted.

Where the Force Vetting Unit concludes that information has been intentionally omitted or misrepresented by the Applicant in an attempt to influence the vetting decision, this can lead to refusal of vetting clearance or the withdrawal of clearance where it has already been granted and the disqualification from working in sensitive posts on any future occasion.

How can I be sure the information I provide is being treated confidentially?

Every precaution possible has been taken to ensure the confidentiality of the data provided as part of the vetting process.   The Force Vetting Unit offices are sited in a secure location accessible only to those who are members of the Force Vetting Unit staff.

What are the most common errors?

  • Personal Information Form
  • Failure to provide full address history
  • Failure to list all family members (often the descriptor that sets out that biological, adoptive marital (in-law and step relations) and legal dependency relations is not adhered to)
  • Failure to include details of boyfriend/girlfriend under the spouse/partner section (we do not only require details of those with whom you are co-residing as partners, or with whom you are in a legally recognised relationship such as a marriage or civil partnership)
  • Failure to provide partner’s occupation
  • Failure to sign and date the continuation pages where you have used them
  • Financial Information Form (where applicable)
  • Failure to provide  details of income sources not arising from paid employment e.g. student loan instalments
  • Failure to provide monthly income (often weekly or annual income is provided and this cannot be accepted)
  • Failure to provide details of ‘other regular financial commitments’ at question 16.  These are often items such as mobile telephone contracts, car insurance payments, petrol or other transportation, gym memberships, satellite TV subscriptions etc, all of which need to be calculated and included for this question

How do I let you know there has been a change in my personal circumstances?

It is important that the Force Vetting Unit are made aware of any changes in you personal circumstances as vetting decisions are partly based on this information.  You are responsible for communicating these changes.

You should make the Force Vetting Unit aware of:

  • Any change in your personal or financial circumstances (e.g. new spouse/partner, dependant or co-resident, new loans or mortgages etc)
  • Any significant change to your role which might be sufficient to require a different level of vetting
  • Any convictions or cautions for criminal offences or involvement in criminal investigations (not as part of your duty with SYP) relating to either yourself or anyone included on your original vetting application forms
  • This can be done by phone initially, particularly if you want guidance on whether or not you need to declare something, or find out how much detail we need.  Generally, however, changes should be communicated in writing so that they can be formally recorded on your file.

How long will you keep my information?

We will hold vetting information for in accordance with Management of Police Information (MoPI) guidance