A couple of months ago, I found myself with a little more time on my hands than I’d been used to so thought it would be a good idea to try to find something to do.

Without wanting to sound like a do-gooder, I contemplated doing voluntary work and very nearly offered my services to the local food bank.

But I happened to bump into a friend and got chatting about the very subjects of finding something worthwhile to do and earning a little money as well.

He’s a couple of years older than me and has already retired but told me he had a job as an exams invigilator for a local high school.

Now this came as a surprise to me. Back in the day when I was sitting exams, all the invigilation was carried out by teachers but apparently, bringing in outside staff to supervise exams is now a thing.

It sounded like something I could do so he gave me the school’s contact details and I fired off an email. Unfortunately, this was right at the end of the summer term but the school very kindly told me they would hold on to my application and get in touch when they returned in September.

And they were as good as their word.

Now don’t forget, my application was for a casual, part-time position and I would be under the supervision of professional teaching staff at all times.

I can’t begin to tell you just how formal the whole process was. I had to have a full-blown interview, including a review of my CV, fill in the longest and most probing application form I have ever seen, attend a mandatory training course and would probably have had to have a review interview with the head teacher.

But by far the most important part of the process was that I would have had to undergo a DBS check, the new name for the old CRB check.

Apparently, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The quite reasonable logic behind this is ‘vulnerable groups of people need to be protected and CRB/ DBS checks assist in ensuring that the most suitable people are appointed to roles working with these vulnerable groups’.

As I would have been working with children up to the age of 16, a DBS check would have been compulsory.

Now I would have been happy to undergo all of this but a change in my circumstances over the summer meant I no longer had the same amount of spare time and wasn’t able to take part in the training course so wasn’t able to take my application forward.

I mention this after reading the story on the Guardian’s website by Josh Pennington which reported that: “Tens of thousands of police officers and staff are working without the proper vetting clearance which could help root out sexual predators abusing their position in forces, inspectors have warned, highlighting the case of a Cheshire Police constable who raped a 13-year-old girl.

“Vetting is the ‘first line of defence’ for forces but more than 10 per cent of the police workforce do not have up-to-date vetting, according to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).”

The report goes on to say that Inspector of constabulary Zoe Billingham said there are an estimated “35,000 people working in police forces who don’t have the required levels of vetting at the moment”.

This could include officers and staff – of whom there are some 202,000 working across forces – but could also include contractors and volunteers or outside agencies.

I find this both staggering and worrying in equal proportion.

I had absolutely no problem with the process I had to go through to get a little part-time casual position working with children and I find it totally amazing and unacceptable there are police forces that are not adequately vetting officers and staff, many of whom will find themselves in a position of power while dealing with some of society’s most vulnerable.

This is a house that needs putting in order and the sooner the better.