Force under fire for worst response times for police record checks

NORTH YORKSHIRE Police have come under fire after it took longer than any other force in the country to process criminal record checks vital for people seeking to work with vulnerable adults or children.

The force processed just 9 per cent of applications to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in the recommended 14 days in the year from April 2013, despite targets of 75 per cent.

York Central MP Hugh Bayley, who obtained the figures after complaints from constituents, said the “unnecessary delays” could have resulted in people losing a “much needed job through no fault of their own”.

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He said Disclosure and Barring checks must be treated as a “high priority” to provide safety for children and vulnerable adults.”

The figures showed that West Yorkshire Police me just 39 per cent of applications in 14 days, South Yorkshire Police met 45 in, and Humberside Police 53.

DBS checks were introduced in 2012 with the merge of the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority. Employers providing services to vulnerable people are legally obliged to make sure their staff are cleared.

North Yorkshire Police’s Deputy Chief Constable, Tim Madgwick, said the figures did not represent the current situation, and after “significant improvements”, the force was now exceeding national targets.

He said staffing and budgets for 2013/14 were based on DBS predictions on applications, and it received “an unpredicted increase in demand.”

The latest performance figures showed it was meeting 98 per cent of checks within 14 days.

West Yorkshire Police’s Det Chief Supt, Clive Wain said following a recovery plan, its most recent figures showed “massive improvement”, and it was now exceeding targets.

A spokesperson for the DBS said that it a force was experiencing problems meeting demand for DBS checks, it would work with it to bring performance back to expected levels.