Monday, February 2, 2015

Police Checks (CPIC) versus Vulnerable Sector Searches (VSS)

Police Checks and Vulnerable Sector checks aren’t for criminals, they’re for everyday people.  Companies want to know who they’re hiring, to safeguard their business.  But police checks aren’t just for employment reasons, they’re also for citizenship and visa applicants, adoption applicants, security guard licenses and medical marijuana producer licenses. Vulnerable Sector Checks are done for those wishing to work with those who are more vulnerable than ourselves, like the elderly, the disabled and our children.

But how are these checks done, and who can perform them? 

Canada has a centrally administered system called CPIC, Canadian Police Information Centre. CPIC is a system that transmits requests by authorized law enforcement agencies to several data banks primarily for law enforcement purposes. One of those data banks is the Criminal Records Information Management Services (CRIMS). CRIMS updates and maintains more than 600,000 criminal records annually and populates criminal record information to the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) Identification Data Bank. A criminal record file consists of an individual's criminal charges and their dispositions, including convictions and discharges that are supported by fingerprint information.

There are three levels of search that can be done of the CPIC database:

  • The first level of search is the Criminal Name Index (CNI).  This search is the most basic and is simply a list of names of people for whom there is a possibility a criminal record may exist.

  • The second level of search, the Criminal Record Synopsis, is the one commonly used when an organization asks for a search.  It groups criminal offences into 15 different categories such as, for example, violence (which can range from assault to murder), weapons, and criminal driving, among others.  The synopsis can identify if a person has been charged with one or more of these types of offences and whether the person has been convicted of the offense

  • The third level of search, the Criminal Record II, contains the most detailed information regarding Canadians with criminal records, including exact charges, dates of convictions, and historical details of the disposition of the proceedings.  This information is very limited in its availability, even to some police forces.

Unlike CPIC, which is more holistic in nature, VSS (Vulnerable Sector Search) is geared towards a more niche sector. Applicants working with the vulnerable sector including those working with children, the elderly and disabled require a Vulnerable Sector Check.

Searches of the CPIC database can include Vulnerable Sector Checks, which are an integral part of pre-screening practices. It is typically required for teachers, social workers, day-care workers, and for coaches of youth as well.

This check should be an essential part of the screening process for any position where an individual will be working with ‘vulnerable’ individuals.

 A vulnerable person is defined in the Criminal Records Act as one who, because of age, a disability or some other circumstance, is in a position of dependence on others, or is at a greater risk than the general population of being harmed by a person in a position of authority or trust (Criminal Records Act, Section 6.3).  Youth-centered activities (such as sport) may be seen as a lure for individuals predisposed to pedophile tendencies or habits.

The scope of a Vulnerable Sector Check includes all sex offenders and pardoned sex offenders (whose names remain in CPIC database for at least 10 years).  Before releasing information arising from the search, the person upon whom the search is being done must consent to the release of that information, and an organization should be very concerned if this consent is not provided.

Both CPIC and VSS are indispensible tools for organizations, employers and communities. Where CPIC is a more cohesive and layered structure of unified searches, VSS on the other hand is extremely useful in identifying a particular nature of offence.

Commissionaires Great Lakes performs Police Checks with quick turnaround time of typically 48hours or less.  The Applications must be completed in the presence of our Commissionaires Identification staff, at one of our offices, via email using our remote CPIC service or at your location with our mobile service.  Commissionaires Great Lakes Identification Service is an authorized agent of the RCMP and the certificate that one receives is Date Stamped, Signed and Dry Sealed to mark its authenticity. 

We offer:
·         Friendly, Professional & Knowledgeable Service
·         Competitive pricing
·         Multiple languages offered at many locations
·         Mobile and Remote Service
·         Confidentiality

However, all Vulnerable Sector Searches must be initiated by your local police department. Though, Commissionaires Great Lakes can perform the digital fingerprinting when accompanied by a letter from your local police, if they do not have this capability.

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