Police recruits found to cheat on their partners should be 'dangerous red flag'

15 March 2022, 09:19

The vetting process during recruitment is being reviewed.
The vetting process during recruitment is being reviewed. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Police recruits who cheat on their partners should be flagged during the vetting process, the director-general of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has said.

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Michael Lockwood said police needed to crack down on the toxic culture across its forces, getting rid of the "baddies".

He added that vetting should be "more intrusive and diligent", including social media and background checks on those hoping to join a force.

The move is more important now than ever due to the increasing number of officers, the watchdog head went on to say.

Speaking to The Times, Mr Lockwood explained: "Many individuals are attracted to policing because of the power. Many of the people that are getting in can exhibit what I call 'red flags'.

"And it's important that where there are previous disciplinary issues — prior sexual behaviour, even extramarital affairs — those red flags should indicate, don't progress. They're dangerous."

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However, he added that an extramarital affair as a single factor would not block recruitment, but it should be considered and was an indicator of "something that's not right".

Mr Lockwood went on to say that there needed to be a "zero tolerance" attitude towards behaviour and standards from the moment new recruits join the force.

He said better supervision and leadership was needed, adding that officers should be encouraged to call out colleagues who breach standards.

"Silence is not acceptable," Mr Lockwood said.

"There's clearly pockets of culture that you stick together, 'don't snitch on us, if you do you're a grass, your career is finished'.

"We're not going to solve the problem if it's allowed to pervade and spread."

It comes as Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary is carrying out a review of the vetting process in a bid to root out those who do not meet the standards.

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