Kids ‘at risk’: Thames Valley Police fail on DBS checks

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Vulnerable children are potentially being “put at risk by the city’s police force” as it is slammed worst in the country for completing background checks on time.

Thames Valley Police was the only force in the UK to miss every single target for Disclosure and Barring Service checks last year, which are required for anyone working with vulnerable adults and children.

The service is now being forced to use additional funding to employ extra staff to deal with the backlog.

Councillor Andy Dransfield, ex-cabinet member for children’s services, said: “The police need to pull their finger out and get on with it.

“This is affecting people’s lives and putting vulnerable children and adults at risk.

“It is unacceptable.”

Between January and November last year, TVP failed to meet even just one of its 43 targets, which are set at 85 per cent of checks to be completed in 14 days, 90 per cent in 18 days, 95 per cent in 25 days and all checks to be completed in 60 days.

But in August, TVP only accomplished 25 per cent of applicants in a fortnight - delaying individuals starting work and putting pressure on businesses, adds Mr Dransfield.

He said: “It is crucial they get the DBS checks through quickly.

“The police are paid a considerable fee to carry out these checks, so if they cannot supply the service they deserve to lose the business. “

A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said the force acknowledged the large number of outstanding checks, but blamed a “higher than forecast volume” of applicants.

The blunder comes two years after the DBS checks replaced those previously done by the Criminal Records Bureau and Independent Safeguarding Authority.

The current cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Norman Miles, reassured the public that those without DBS checks would not be out working with vulnerable people.

He said: “I am concerned at the length of time it takes to get the checks done in the day and age of the computer.

“However, I am confident it is not directly effecting front line services.”

Now the Home Office will work with Thames Valley Police to bring performance back to expected levels, following the statistics revealed by service standards this month.

A TVP spokesman said: “The force recognises the impact of delayed police checks and how it affects DBS applicants and also the effect it has on employers and partner agencies.The force is in regular contact with the national DBS and a clear plan has been developed to deal with these workloads.”