JOBSEEKERS in North Yorkshire are facing needlessly-long delays for vital checks to be carried out by police.

Disclosure and Barring Service checks, formerly known as Criminal Records Bureau checks, are essential for employers who want to find out whether new starters are clear to work in certain positions.

Checks are carried out by police forces at the request of employers where people may work with children or in healthcare, and when people want to foster or adopt a child.

Figures released this week by uCheck.co.uk showed massive discrepancies across forces and placed North Yorkshire Police’s service as third slowest in the country.

People in North Yorkshire waiting 28.3 days on average. The fastest average turnaround was in Norfolk, where the average was 1.8 days. Humberside Police averaged 9.1 days and West Yorkshire Police 13.1.

Lisa Winward, Deputy Chief Constable of North Yorkshire, said: “We acknowledge that there has been a dip in the performance of our Disclosure and Barring Service responses, this is not an acceptable level of service and we are working hard to make improvements. This was down to recent staff losses beyond our control, resulting in the build-up of a back-log of work which is now being addressed.”

Andrea Dudding, branch secretary of Unison in York, said DBS checks were vital to people working with vulnerable adults and children, from carers, school and nursery assistants, and some local council workers.

She said: “I couldn't put a number on how many people would be affected, but it is not a small number, it’s quite a significant number of job roles.

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"The risks are that people could be allowed to work without DBS checks and do more than they should do without the check, which puts the organisation, the person and the person they’re caring for at some risk.

If an employee is moving to a new job and need a DBS check, in many cases they aren’t allowed to start the new job until [the results] arrive. In limited circumstances a risk assessment can be done by another organisation but would be very restrictive.”

Ms Winward said: “We are confident that our service will improve over the coming months now that we have secured further funding to recruit and train new staff, which will help to clear the current backlog and provide resilience for the future.”