MORE than 600 Police Scotland recruits failed to pass vetting procedures in the past five years, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

And, after the introduction of a new screening process at the end of the training process, the force revealed that one recruit so far has failed to pass the final evaluation.

The new vetting process was introduced by Police Scotland in September 2021, with Justice Minister Keith Brown hailing the move as part of a bid to tackle the culture of “canteen misogyny” which exists in the force.

The issue of sexism within Scotland’s police came under criticism in the wake of the killing of Sarah Everard by serving police officer Wayne Couzens in London.

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And now, after an FOI request by The National, Police Scotland revealed that 632 applicants to the force failed the initial vetting procedure between 2017 and 2021.

A total of 4597 applicants did pass vetting procedures during this period. Therefore, 12% of all applicants to the force over the past five years have failed to pass the stringent checks.

Reasons given by the force for why potential officers were unsuccessful included having past convictions, applicants giving false information, having connections or associations with third party convictions, and on the grounds of integrity.

Other red lines for the force include residency of the applicant, their financial status and other “miscellaneous” reasons.

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We previously told how in October Justice Secretary Keith Brown (pictured) sent a strong message to men telling them they “need to change their behaviour” to make women feel safer after Everard’s killing.

Probed by the BBC on what the force are doing to make women feel safer and tackle sexism and misogyny within police culture, Brown said: “This idea of locker room space where men say and do things which are completely inappropriate, not just for police officers, but for any group of men. 

"And I know he takes that very seriously, it’s one of the conversations that we had.

“And also, one thing we’re doing is through the vetting procedures that they have in Police Scotland, they’ve changed that so there’s a second subsequent vetting process at the very end of training, and somebody can be taken off, and has been taken off, at the very end when they would otherwise qualify as a police officer because of a failure in vetting.”

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Chief Superintendent Andy McDowall, head of Professional Standards for Police Scotland, said: "All officers and staff are expected to reflect our values of integrity, fairness, respect and a commitment to upholding human rights.

“A thorough and effective vetting process is a key component in Police Scotland’s recruitment procedures and it is vital that potential recruits demonstrate the skills, behaviours and high standards expected of police officers.

“To strengthen our existing vetting procedures even further we introduced an additional tier to the confirmation of vetting information already provided by new recruits in September of this year.

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One recruit failed the new vetting procedure and did not make it on to the force

“This reaffirmation requires recruits to update whether any personal details initially submitted in their recruitment application have changed, or should be updated.

“If this is indeed the case, the circumstances will be reassessed by our Force Vetting Unit to determine if the recruit remains a suitable candidate to be confirmed as a Constable in Police Scotland.

“We want the public to have absolute confidence in our officers and we take all appropriate measures to ensure our checks are thorough.”

Read the full FOI response from Police Scotland below. 

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