§ Mr. Dismore
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what residency qualificants are operated by the Metropolitan police when considering for recruitment applications; what plans he has to review the qualifications; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Charles Clarke
The nationality requirements for applicants to the police service in England and Wales, including the Metropolitan police, were set out in my reply to my hon. Friend on 14 December 2000,Official Report, column 258W.
Cabinet Office guidance, on which police forces base their policy for carrying out security clearances of applicants, recommends that the normal residency requirement for security clearance is that the applicant has been resident in the United Kingdom for the previous three years. However, if the applicant has spent the previous three years in another country discretion may be given to undertake overseas security checks where this is possible.
I understand that within the Metropolitan police, following the introduction of the Metropolitan Police Recruitment Taskforce, short periods abroad (i.e. of less than six months), are disregarded. Longer periods are still a matter of concern as counter terrorism checks can be carried out in a meaningful way only where the residency of the person can be confirmed.
To ensure that those candidates who have been broadening their horizons by visiting foreign countries and gaining experience of other cultures are not disadvantaged, a new protocol has been agreed with Special Branch. This protocol states that where a candidate appears suitable in every other respect, but residency is in question, Special Branch will carry out an individual risk assessment which may include a personal interview with the candidate. In appropriate cases, Special Branch will offer clearance for the recruiting process to continue.
I have no plans to review the qualification in respect of residency.324W