If you're looking to work with the police in a civilian role - whether you're coming into the role from the private sector or transitioning from life in uniform - the chances are you'll need an NPPV security clearance.
This stands for non-police personnel vetting and it's a base requirement for almost every role working with the police. But what does this involve, how does it differ from other types of security clearance, and what may cause you to fail such a check?
The levels of NPPV clearance
NPPV clearance for civilian police jobs is divided into several levels, based on the sensitivity of the materials you'll be expected to have access to. In total, there are three levels within the system. However, the first level - Level 1 - is usually only used for those who will have access to a police premises, but no requirement to view data. As such, it's typically reserved for personnel such as utility workers and contractors.
If you're applying for a full-time role working with the police, you'll usually need to have either Level 2 or Level 3 clearance. The differences between these are:
Level 2 - For personnel who will have unsupervised access to confidential material, either on police premises or remotely. However, it does not permit access to systems. Level 2 is divided into two subcategories - Abbreviated and Full.
Abbreviated is used for personnel who will need to view material designated as Official-Sensitive on a regular basis. Full, on the other hand, also enables holders to occasionally view materials listed as Secret.
Level 3 - The highest level of NPPV clearance, this permits access to all material covered by Level 2, but also allows for long-term, frequent and uncontrolled access to Secret level material, as well as occasional access to Top Secret materials.
What does getting NPPV cleared involve?
Each police force in the UK will have its own process for awarding NPPV clearance, but there are a few things that most will have in common. An initial step will be a check against the Police National Computer (PNC) and Police National Database (PND) to determine whether you have any criminal convictions or investigations that would preclude you from working with the police. This check will also extend to close family members.
Having a conviction for either yourself or a relative isn't necessarily an automatic refusal to grant clearance. This will depend on factors such as the nature and seriousness of the offence and how long ago it occurred. The final decision is often down to the discretion of the vetting officer.
Other factors include financial and credit checks, any history of bankruptcies, county court judgements or loan defaults. Again, however, having a poor financial or credit history will often not automatically prevent people from gaining clearance.
Hampshire Police, for instance, states in its NPPV guidance: "Having general debts is common and it is highly unlikely that you will be refused security clearance based on your financial position alone, there must be a clear and unmanageable risk presented by the vetting record."
Typically, Level 2 NPPV clearances will be valid for three years, and Level 3 clearances for five years, at which time this will be renewed. Gaining NPPV clearance demonstrates you have the integrity and honesty required to work with the police, and will be an essential step in your security cleared career.
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