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Legislation enables Police to recover vetting costs

Hon Judith Collins

Minister of Police

1 November 2016
Media Statement

Legislation enables Police to recover vetting costs

Police will soon be able to recover the cost of vetting services, with the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passing its third reading in Parliament.

“The new legislation amends the Policing Act 2008 to enable regulations to be made that allow Police to recover costs for certain policing services that fall within the definition of a ‘demand service’.

“Police Vetting is considered a demand service because the service is provided on request from organisations for their direct benefit. For example, the vetting of a prospective employee or volunteer.

However, the Regulations will provide for a range of fee waivers. Agencies making 20 vetting requests or fewer per year will not be required to pay. Additionally, registered charities will be exempt. Fees may also be waived for agencies facing extreme hardship and in cases where there are exceptional circumstances.

“New Zealand Police was one of the few police services worldwide that did not have legislation that explicitly allowed for some degree of cost recovery, which put it out of step with its international counterparts and also many other New Zealand public sector agencies.

The Police Vetting Service is also facing significant growth. Demand has increased by over 100,000 vets since 2012/13, with a nine per cent increase in vetting requests in 2015/16 alone. Police are being asked to vet over 500,000 people a year.

This growth is forecast to continue, particularly now that workforce safety checks under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 are being phased in.

“With demand for vetting services increasing, there is a need for additional resourcing. Cost recovery manages the risk of increasing demand for vetting requests by ensuring that adequate resourcing is available.

Now that the Bill is passed, regulations will be made setting a small charge for vetting checks by Police. Cabinet has agreed that regulations set a fee of $8.50 per vetting request to cover the actual and reasonable costs of the Police Vetting Service.
This fee compares very favourably with Police vetting fees overseas. In New South Wales, fees for criminal history checks are A$54.60, in Queensland A$55.30 and in South Australia A$60.50.

The fee will allow Police to recover over $3 million each year, which will enable Police to substantially meet the costs associated with vetting.

ends

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