DBS checks for Emergency Service workers

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The emergency services in the UK consist of three main organisations; the Police Service, the Fire and Rescue Service and the Emergency Medical Service and last year, there were nearly 200,000 people working within these organisations.

Their primary purpose is to protect the public from harm so it’s essential that appropriate safeguarding measures are put in place to ensure that those who pose a harm to the most vulnerable members of society aren’t recruited into these roles. Part of this process is likely to be a DBS check.

We have nearly 20 years’ experience of working with Emergency Service organisations so please take a look at the advice given below and be sure to get in touch if you have any questions or need any help


Police Service

It might surprise you to learn that a Police Officer doesn’t have to undertake a DBS check due to the fact that they are vetted under The Police Recruitment Vetting Procedure carried out in line with Articles 1, 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

This is one of the most detailed background screening procedures of any organisation in the country and ensures that those individuals representing the Police Force are a pillar of society and will lead by example. This procedure is far more in depth than that of a DBS Check.

If you are working as Police Staff but you’re not a Police Officer, it is likely that your role will be covered under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 so it’s best to give us a call if you’re unsure.


Emergency Medical Services

For most roles within the Emergency Medical Services, there will be frequent contact with members of the public, some of whom will be children and vulnerable adults. Roles such as Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians will be eligible for an Enhanced Check, as will Patient Transport Service Drivers and Emergency Care Assistants.

Call Handlers working for NHS helplines (e.g 111) are engaging in Regulated Activity with Adults and/or Regulated Activity with Children if their role is considered to be providing ‘health care’ advice under the direction or supervision of a health care professional. An Enhanced DBS Check with both Barred lists should be requested.


Fire and Rescue Service

Fire Service personnel often visit security sensitive buildings when carrying out the duties of their role. To ensure that the people employed are suitable to enter these premises and maintain the security standards in relation to them, the majority of Fire Services follow the Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS). This means that prospective Firefighters will be required to undergo a Standard DBS Check.

Some Firefighters may deliver emergency healthcare or go into schools to teach fire safety awareness to children. If this is the case, they will be eligible for an Enhanced DBS check.

Operational roles within Rescue teams will require an Enhanced DBS Check as they are likely to provide First Aid to members of the public in the course of their duty as well as carrying out public awareness initiatives such as water safety presentations in schools.

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