Ian Naude submitted his application to join Cheshire Constabulary on 23 April 2016 and vetting checks were carried out in October, which included checks on national police systems, and nothing adverse was reported.
He was originally due to start as a student officer in January 2017, but this intake was delayed until 24 April 2017.
Cheshire Constabulary became aware of an allegation of rape of a woman in Staffordshire relating to Naude and put the recruitment process for him to become a police officer on hold pending the outcome of this. No further action was taken and a decision was made by the vetting department to allow the recruitment process to continue.
On 3 November 2017, parents of a teenage girl raised concerns to Cheshire Constabulary about Naude’s behaviour. He was arrested the following day and immediately suspended from duty.
As the investigation into the allegations about Naude’s conduct progressed it was revealed that he was a named suspect in a further report to Staffordshire Police and one to West Mercia Police in January and February 2017.
These reports became part of Cheshire Constabulary’s subsequent investigation into Naude.
Naude’s recruitment process was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). They carried out a review that included the decision to recruit him after he had been named as a suspect in the rape allegation in Staffordshire. The IOPC found that there were no issues with the vetting process as the national vetting policy had been followed.
In light of this case, the Constabulary has looked long and hard at its own recruitment and screening programme for new recruits to see whether this type of incident can be avoided in the future.
The national vetting policy (now the Vetting Code of Practice) states that there is no time frame as to when somebody is vetted before joining a police force. However, Cheshire Constabulary has now changed its vetting processes. If there is a delay in the recruitment process of more than three months, once a person has been vetted, the force will carry out further checks on the national police systems.
Furthermore, checks on the national police systems and complaints records of all officers who are reaching the completion of their probation period of two years are now undertaken.
All training of new staff has been reviewed with additional inputs on conduct and awareness of recognising the triggers of what constitutes inappropriate behavior as well as the internal reporting channels available. Any concerns raised about an officer or member of staff’s behaviour now prompts an immediate vetting review and appropriate action taken depending on the circumstances.
Cheshire Constabulary has also liaised extensively with external agencies who deal with vulnerable individuals to ensure they know how to report any inappropriate behaviour of officers and staff of the force.
Unfortunately, as the investigation into Ian Naude unfolded, it became clear that he did not join Cheshire Constabulary because he wanted serve the public as a police officer – he joined because it gave him a position of authority with access to young, vulnerable girls.