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Vetting

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many disclosure applications the Criminal Records Bureau (a) received in 2007-08 and (b) has received in 2008-09 to date; and what steps she is taking to enable the Bureau to deal with any increases in such numbers. (254285)

The number of disclosure applications received by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) in 2007-08 and 2008-09 to date is detailed in the following table:

Financial year

Disclosure applications received (million)

2007-08

3.4

2008-09 to date

3.3

The CRB has continued to receive a higher than anticipated volume of disclosure applications. There are a number of reasons for this, but the volumes have put a great deal of pressure on both the CRB and the police forces. Forces have been responding effectively and positively to these high intakes and this has enabled record numbers of disclosures to be issued in recent months.

Unfortunately, it is taking more time for some local police forces to recruit and train the extra staff that they need to be operating at full capacity. Consequently, some applications are taking longer to deal with. That said, over 85 per cent. of all disclosure applications received by the CRB are being completed within the 28 day target figure.

For those forces which, for a variety of reasons, have been having greater difficulty with the increased demand, the CRB has been working very closely with them to address what additional help and support they may need. The CRB has provided assistance and support to them in the form of IT and workflow management expertise, accommodation and a 10 per cent. increase in staff resources. The CRB has also increased its own staff resources by 11 per cent. to provide support for the police disclosure units and the bureau continues to monitor their performance regularly.