Police officers who 'corrupt the reputation' of Scotland Yard to face renewed background checks

13 March 2023, 14:28

Police officers who ‘corrupt the reputation’ of Scotland Yard will face enhanced vetting
Police officers who ‘corrupt the reputation’ of Scotland Yard will face enhanced vetting. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Enhanced background checks will be carried out on police officers who ‘corrupt the reputation’ of Scotland Yard, the force announced today.

Officers who have had ‘adverse information’ reported about them to the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) and those who have been through a criminal investigation will face new vetting, police chiefs said.

Police who have been through a misconduct hearing where they were given a written warning, final written warning or a reduction in rank will also be put through the new vetting.

The Met’s plan - a first for a police force in the UK - comes as part of its efforts to remove officers who damage the reputation of the police.

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The initiative, dubbed Operation Assure, will involve a review of a police officer’s vetting status if their behaviour is ‘of concern’ and focuses on cases where public trust might be affected.

Commander James Harman of DPS said: "The Commissioner has been clear that there are many officers who should not be part of this organisation. They have lost his confidence and the public would rightly expect there to be a process which would allow us to review their continued employment.

“When a member of the public asks a police officer for help, they should be confident that the Met has vetted that person to an appropriate level, and kept that vetting under review. We should all recognise that vetting is not an administrative exercise – it is an expression of public trust, and the Met's Referencing and Vetting Unit works hard on a daily basis to perform this critical function for London.

"We are determined to show the public our seriousness about rooting out corruption and abuse. We will take decisive action where new information leads us to conclude that clearance may no longer be appropriate - and we are pleased to be in the forefront of implementing these important recommendations."

Once the new vetting process is triggered, senior vetting officers will make a decision and it could lead to officers being denied access to police premises and systems, which can then lead to dismissal.

Individual officers will be given the opportunity to appeal.

It follows a report in November which revealed hundreds if not thousands of corrupt officers may be serving in England and Wales.

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