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Departmental Vetting

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of successful applicants for posts in her Department were subjected to a criminal records check in the latest period for which figures are available; how many (a) successful applicants and (b) criminal records checks there were in each of the last 10 years; how many successful applicants were found to have a criminal record after a criminal records check took place in each of the last 10 years; on what criteria an applicant for a post is required to undergo a criminal records check; and if she will make a statement. (219165)

The current position is that all staff recruited to posts within the Home Office and its agencies (the UK Border Agency, Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau) are subject to criminal records checks as part of the National Security Vetting (NSV). Checks are not random. Vetting is reviewed at various times during service.

The following table shows the number of individuals subject to NSV. Machinery of government changes will have affected those to whom NSV applied over the last 10 years.

The figures also include renewal of security clearance; not all refusals of NSV will have been for reasons of criminality.

All figures include those HM Prison Service posts where the Home Office departmental security unit was required to complete the security clearance. HM Prison Service became an agency of the Ministry of Justice in May 2007.

1 April to 31 March each

Granted NSV1

Refused NSV2

Total

1998-99

10,708

240

10,948

1999-2000

12,829

303

13,132

2000-01

20,928

694

21,622

2001-02

26,079

767

26,846

2002-03

30,391

1,188

31,579

2003-04

27,237

2,251

29,488

2004-05

24,155

1,239

25,393

2005-06

26,592

1,305

27,897

2006-07

27,535

1,827

29,363

2007-08

21,151

1,018

22,169

Total

227,605

10,832

238,437

1 Numbers include cases where a criminal record did not preclude granting of NSV.

2 Numbers include applicants who withdrew or where a criminal record may have resulted in refusal.