It has long been the mantra for recruiting officers,
“That Police Officers should be representative of the community they serve”.
The recent Government announcement that they intend to recruit 20,000 more Police Officers is I believe to be welcomed with a great degree of caution. This is not a political statement, quite frankly any government no matter what political party that they may be, will have to increase the level of officers by some large number. The current increase in crime and general policing responsibilities will not reduce in number and the present level of police officers leaves both the public and the officers themselves at risk.
My concern is that whilst every effort has been made by individual Chief Constables to make the service inclusive and representative of the local population, by increasing diversity in all areas. That in itself opens up the opportunity for those individuals with criminal intent, organised crime or terrorist groups to infiltrate the service with “sleeper cells” which we have experienced in passed conflicts by our Armed Services. It is not only the front line officers that have been culled in large numbers since the financial crash which resulted in massive cuts in the policing budget. Important support services, including the Human Resources departments have been decimated or replaced entirely by outsourcing companies.
With the drive to fill these newly announced vacancies will come a pressure on those providers be they in-house or outsourcing providers. And, in truth, the system of vetting applicants has failed to develop strategies to address the problem.
Presenting a well worded C.V. Wearing a smart outfit for the interview and having the ability to portray themselves as committed, level minded, honest people is not only the preserve of the job applicant. It could equally be the description of numerous con-artists and bad people who have infiltrated organisations many times in the past as history will attest.
Many police services around the world have a long history of using the Polygraph Examination as an integral part of the pre-employment screening. And that is for a very good reason, it works, by identifying issues that need further investigation, by obtaining admissions or simply as a deterrent to applying in the first place.
The U.K. Police Service need to address this failure or will it be “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” and the old mantra of “we have learned from etc etc”, always too late.
If the Government can legislate for the polygraph to be used as an important part of supervising Sex Offenders released early on licence (parole). Then surely it can be just as important to protect the public and serving officers from the corrupt or evil that may be recruited to protect or work alongside them.
Penned by Mike Rumble (Chairman of the UK Polygraph Association)