The Application Process and Vetting

There are a number of stages involved in the application process at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, so it is good to be prepared and to find out what is involved. Please see below to find out more. 

1. Check eligiblity

Before you start filling in the application form, it’s worth checking you meet the basic eligibility criteria. This can be found on the job specification and will include criteria such as whether you have a criminal record and your residency.

2. Application form

You will need to apply via the Bedfordshire Police Force vacancies page if you are applying for a staff vacancy within the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC). If you are applying for a volunteer role, application forms can be found on the OPCC website under ‘Volunteer’. 

You’ll normally fill out your application form online. You’ll typically be asked about:

  • Your personal details (like full name, date of birth and address)
  • Your education history and qualifications
  • Your employment history
  • Any convictions
  • Your financial situation and any business interests

The application form often includes some competency and / or values-based questions – find out more about the College of Policing’s Competency & Values Framework to help you prepare.

3. Sifting process

The sifting process will commence once applications are closed. The date of sifting/shortlisting is usually found on the website page of the vacancy that you are applying for. For volunteering roles, further information will be communicated to you when you have submitted your application. 

4. Competency-Based Interview

If successful at the sifting/shortlisting process, you will be invited to a Competency-Based interview. Interview panels will always consist of a minimum of two members of staff. Competency-Based questions are usually situational and can involve integrity, transparency, taking ownership and being innovative and open-minded. 

There is a section within the job specification/role profile for each role which focuses on personal qualities as well as key responsibilities and tasks. 

Before the interview:

  • Think about examples from your personal or work life that show you share the values and competencies needed.
  • For competency questions, think ‘STAR’. The STAR model can help you keep your responses focused:

    S – give a brief description of the situation.
    T – describe the task you faced. 
    A – give details of the action you took. Focus on the part you played, what you said, did and how you behaved. 
    R – talk about the results or outcome achieved, including whether the outcome was good or bad. If it was negative, include what you’d do differently next time.

5. Pre-employment and vetting checks

If successful at interview, you will be informed by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Once the offer has been accepted, pre-employment and vetting checks will commence. 

As a member of staff within the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, you’re working in a position of trust. That’s why every potential member of staff is required to go through a thorough vetting stage as part of their application process. This includes disclosing the behaviour of your family and friends. The vetting process also measures you against the College of Policing’s Code of Ethics, which considers a number of other factors. If you’re in doubt about whether you need to disclose something or not, it’s best to include it. It can then be discussed as to whether it affects your application or not.

Further detail on the vetting process:

Criminal convictions and cautions

All convictions, cautions (including any received as a juvenile), involvement in any criminal investigation and bind-overs imposed by a court must be declared. They don’t automatically mean you’ll be rejected from joining the police service. Each case is looked at on an individual basis. Factors taken into account include:

  • Age at the time of the offence
  • How long ago the offence was committed
  • The nature of the offence 

It’s important to be honest. Failure to disclose this information will result in your application being rejected.

Motoring offences

Convictions for minor motoring offences won’t necessarily be a barrier to joining the police service, unless you’re a persistent offender. Each case is considered individually.

However, serious motoring offences do result in mandatory rejection. These include death by dangerous driving, hit and run, dangerous or drink driving offences within the last 10 years, or being found guilty of more than one drink driving offence. 

HM Forces offences

Convictions received whilst serving in HM Forces aren’t treated any differently from civilian convictions. All criminal offences convicted by a military tribunal are recorded on the Police National Computer so make sure you disclose them – again, honesty is the best policy.

Outstanding charges

If you have an outstanding charge or court summons that could result in a conviction, your application will be postponed until after the outcome of the case. Once that is known, your application will then be considered.

Family and friends

All cautions, investigations or convictions that could be linked to a family member or someone you know must be declared. This won’t automatically hinder your chances – each case is reviewed individually. Many factors are taken into account, including:

  • The nature of your relationship with the offender
  • The number and severity of offences
  • Could your role be negatively affected?
  • Could it cause damage to the authority or reputation of the OPCC? 
  • Could your credibility be impacted?
  • Is there a risk of an information breach?

Common errors with the vetting process

Here are some of the most common errors made by applicants during the vetting process. Don’t let these simple mistakes ruin your chances of becoming a member of staff or volunteer within the OPCC.

  • Not providing a full address history
  • Not providing a full list of family members, including step family and half siblings
  • Not providing details of a partner or spouse 
  • Not declaring all previous interactions with the police. All police involvement is recorded on our systems, so if you fail to declare it, your honesty and integrity will come into question.
 

Top Tips

Here are our top tips to ensure your vetting application isn’t delayed unnecessarily. 

  • Be honest – declare all convictions, cautions and involvement in criminal investigations 
  • Make sure you provide maiden names, dates of birth and addresses for all the people listed on your vetting forms
  • Include details of any criminal associates
  • Can’t remember or provide specific details? Include a rationale detailing why
  • Make sure all County Court Judgements (CCJs) are satisfied
  • Got any payment plans in place? Provide up-to-date Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) documents to show you’re not defaulting on payments
  • Check your emails and your ‘junk/spam’ folder regularly. It’s an easy way to ensure you’re not missing any communications from the vetting officers

Mandatory Rejections

Your application will be automatically rejected if you have ever been convicted or cautioned for a range of serious offences. These include: 

  • Any offence that has resulted in a prison sentence (including suspended or deferred) 
  • Offences committed as an adult (17+) that involves serious violence, dishonesty, corruption, fraud, serious drugs offences and abuse of children

6. Decision

Once you’ve successfully completed all of the stages in the application process, the OPCC will now be in a position to send you a formal job offer. This will likely come to you via the post (and/or email) and will detail everything you need to know about your potential start date and next steps.

If you have any questions about the application and vetting process, please contact the OPCC at PCC@beds.police.uk or via telephone at 01234 842064