Feedback sought on law for Police vetting

Public feedback is sought on possible new legislation to govern the way Police handle requests for a background check on a person’s criminal record.

“Police receive almost 600,000 requests each year for a person’s criminal convictions and other relevant Police-held information about them, such as active charges” says Police Minister Stuart Nash.

“Police vetting is available to around 10,000 approved agencies including schools and sports associations. It differs from the service provided by the Ministry of Justice where any individual can request their own criminal history.

 “Police vetting is an important service. It enables agencies to check that people who work or volunteer in roles where they come into contact with children or vulnerable people are of good character.

“However there is no legislative framework to govern Police vetting and it has led to uncertainty and some legal risk around the procedures.

“Police vetting is an important element of crime prevention and community safety and would benefit from operating within a legislative framework.

“New legislation would provide greater clarity and certainty about the purpose and functions of the Police Vetting Service and what type of information may be disclosed. It would also enable greater consistency in the way Police handle vetting requests and could lead to greater efficiencies through less duplication and timelier processing of requests.

Police have released a public consultation document to seek feedback about what the public and specialist agencies think about new legislation for the Police Vetting Service.

“I encourage anyone wanting a say on possible legislation to read the consultation document and make a submission,” says Mr Nash.

The consultation document and submission form can be found on the Police website.

Submissions close 13 July 2018 and can be sent to:  vettinglegislation@police.govt.nz