For clubs and organisations, Police vetting can be used to help protect children and young people from being exposed to people who have a criminal history that could put them at risk.
It allows organisations to make informed decisions about the suitability of potential and current employees, coaches, managers and volunteers.
Police vetting searches the Police database for information held about the person being checked. Where there is information, the released information may include:
- conviction history
- location of the court
- the date of the offence
- the offence itself
- the sentence imposed.
When to use Police vetting
Each club or organisation can decide which roles should be Police Vetted. The Children’s Act 2014 provides the legal requirements for Police vetting.
Best practice standards go beyond the legal requirement and recommend that any person who has regular contact with tamariki or rangatahi, such as a coach, manager, or supervisor or volunteer, someone who drives children to activities and events, and anyone responsible for overnight trips away should be police checked prior to working with children.
Police vetting is part of the screening process but should not constitute an organisation’s complete response to keeping tamariki and rangatahi safe. Police vetting will provide an organisation with a judgement by the Police about a person’s suitability to work with children based on the information it holds – a ‘red flag’ rather than detailed information.
Who does not need to be Police vetted?
Police vetting isn’t generally necessary for people who assist on an occasional basis, such as people who do not have regular or overnight contact with children.
When Police vetting
- A person must provide their written consent before an organisation can request a Police vetting check on that person.
- Individuals cannot request a Police Vet on themselves. An individual can access information held about him/her by making a request under the Privacy Act 1993.
- Police vetting is not a complete background check and can only make up part of a robust recruiting and screening process.
Confidentiality and results
The vetting process should be confidential and adverse action may not be taken against the person concerned without them having an opportunity to validate the vetting information. If a club or organisation isn’t satisfied the person is fit for the role due to the results of the Police Vet, then they can be rejected from that role.
The New Zealand Police Vetting Service can only guarantee a vetting result as accurate at the time it is released to an approved agency.
Clubs and organisations should have policies on when they update their Police Vetting records and when the records should be deleted and destroyed. For example, some clubs update their Police vetting records every three years.
Checking a criminal record
The Ministry of Justice can provide a copy of a person’s criminal record that lists criminal and traffic convictions and sentencing from court appearances. Before requesting this information, an organisation must have the person’s authorisation to receive copies of their criminal convictions. Further information can be found on the Ministry of Justice website http://www.justice.govt.nz/
Child Protection in Play, Active Recreation and Sport
External links for more information:
Safeguarding Children Education
Child Safeguarding Policies and Procedures
Independent complaints mechanism
More child protection guidance