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Departmental Vetting

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether (a) UK citizens born in the UK, (b) UK citizens born abroad and (c) foreign nationals recruited into his Department and its agencies are subject to (i) UK and (ii) overseas criminal record checks; and if he will make a statement. (206476)

All recruits to the Ministry of Defence, whether service or civilian, are subject to checks to ensure their reliability and suitability for the post in question. In addition, certain posts are restricted to UK citizens. For the majority of posts in the MOD and the armed forces, national security vetting is required. This includes a full criminal record check of both spent and unspent convictions on the police national computer in accordance with the then Prime Minister’s statement on vetting on 15 December 1994, Official Report, columns 764-66W.

Where it is judged that national security vetting is unnecessary and the level of risk is acceptable, the Baseline Personnel Security Standard is applied. This requires recruits to declare unspent convictions against which random checks are carried out. When individuals will be working with children or vulnerable adults, any such checks are supplemented by checks with the Criminal Records Bureau.

These regulations apply to all UK citizens resident in this country, regardless of their place of birth. The same applies to foreign citizens who are eligible to apply for civil service and armed forces posts.

Work to improve access to overseas criminal conviction data is being taken forward by the Home Office and I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier) to the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Ruffley) of 4 February 2008, Official Report, columns 824-25W.