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Concerns over police vetting backlog in Northern Ireland

20 August 2007

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A member of a policing body claims a security vetting backlog in Northern Ireland is threatening appointments to education and health jobs.

Providers of care for vulnerable adults are undergoing PSNI checks for the first time, but Policing Board member Basil McCrea says a deluge of applicants means officers are struggling to cope.

The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust has approximately 65 members of staff awaiting security clearance, and is seeing delays of up to eight weeks, but says all trusts are experiencing similar problems.

Mr McCrea said: “This is an issue of great concern to everybody, not just the general public but to the staff, that these people are in this position.”

He added that the police need to be given more resources as they are also using new IT systems for the checks.

A South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust spokeswoman said: “Although this situation creates pressures on services, essential cover is put in place using alternative arrangements.”

A PSNI spokeswoman said: “It is necessary to take great care and attention with all applications to ensure offenders don’t slip through the process by slightly changed personal details, for example, their date of birth or surname spelling.”

And she added: “Additional resources were given to the criminal records office to cope with additional workload.”


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