Protecting the public is a priority for this Government, and it is important that checks undertaken are thorough. I visited the Metropolitan Police Service last week to see the work it is undertaking to tackle the delays, and I will also visit the DBS in the near future. I will continue to maintain a close interest in disclosure turnaround times and the work of the DBS.
I welcome the hon. Lady to her position, in which she is taking on the seemingly intractable problem of making sure that the Met police deal with DBS checks in good time. I have had 20 cases in the past 12 months, including of teachers and teaching assistants unable to get their checks in time to start work. The delays are causing havoc in people’s lives. I wish all power to her elbow in resolving this, but it has been going on for nearly a decade. What practical steps is she going to take?
I absolutely share the hon. Lady’s frustration at the delays in the Met police, but I assure her, based on my visit last week, that the DBS has increased the resources it has made available to the police. In the past six months alone, over 100 new members of staff have been recruited. It has made improvements to the processes it is undertaking, and I am looking at weekly performance statistics. She can be assured that I am doing everything in my power to speed up the processing of this very important service.