Section 5: Further information

Purpose of Police vetting

The purpose of vetting is to minimise the likelihood of the more vulnerable members of society (children, older people and those with special needs) being put at risk by individuals who may have displayed behaviour that could be detrimental to others' safety and wellbeing.

What is Police vetting?

Vetting, as conducted by the Licensing & Vetting Service Centre, uses two computer-based checks to search for information about an individual. The first check is a search of the Law Enforcement System (formerly known as the Wanganui Computer). This provides a list of criminal and driving convictions. A printout is made of any such history that lists the location of the court, the date of the offence, the offence itself, and the sentence imposed. It should be noted that minor traffic infringements, such as parking tickets, are not shown on these printouts.

The second computer-based check is a search of other information held by Police. This information is used to look for behaviour of a violent or sexual nature that may not, for whatever reason, have resulted in a conviction. In cases where such information exists, further investigation is carried out and the response may be "red stamped". IMPORTANT: Police vetting is not a complete background check. It should be used only as part of a robust recruiting and screening process, such as that outlined in the publication "Safe Not Sorry" by Anthea Simock (The Institute for Child Protection Studies, PO Box 5375, HAMILTON).

The process

Vetting can only be carried out with the consent of the applicant given on the correct form. Applicants should be told they are to be vetted and offered an explanation of the process. The decision as to whether an individual is suitable or not for a given position remains with the employer. In making this decision employers might need to consider the following when assessing the results of vetting:

  • The nature of the offence and relevance to employment.
  • Length of time since the crime was committed.
  • Age and maturity now as compared to when the crime was committed, the seriousness of the crime e.g. length of sentence, use of a weapon, the circumstances at the time of violent behaviour.
  • Pattern of crime, e.g. a short spate may indicate a "phase" but a regular pattern may indicate continuing inappropriate behaviour.
  • The proximity of the person undergoing vetting to the vulnerable person(s). That is, are they likely to have unsupervised access to these vulnerable people?

Details of police vetting are not to be disclosed other than the individual tasked with handling this information and the subject of the vet. Source: NZ Police Website