What’s the better option for blue-collar employees – Police verification or background verification?
There is often a lot of confusion on what a background verification (also known as BGV or BVC) is, and what a Police verification (PVC) is, and how are the two different from each other? When do you go for a Background Verification, and when do you opt for a Police Verification? Whether you should do one or both? Lots of questions follow on what serves the organisation better. Let’s look at the details of both and try to answer these questions.
When you employ someone, be it a white collar employee or a blue-collar employee, you should be able to know if they are good for the job in terms of both competence, as well as trustworthiness. In the blue collar segment, the trustworthiness plays a much bigger role than competence due to the nature of the job. The risk associated with having an untrustworthy employee is much higher than the risk of having an incompetent person for the job. But how do you check for one’s trustworthiness?
Background verification for a blue-collar employee involves a 3-step process:
- ID check – To know if the person is who they claim they are
- Address check – To know if the person can be traced back to the address where they claim they reside
- Criminal Antecedent check (also called court record check or CRC) – To know if the person has had a criminal history
Police Verification involves checking if the person has had a criminal record in the police records within the local jurisdiction.
Background checks are more comprehensive and holistic in nature because they are done at the national level, whereas Police verification mostly is local because it is done as per the jurisdiction of the person’s current address. This makes a huge difference in the results, especially when it comes to the blue collar workforce. 67% of the blue-collar workforce engaged in facility management is migratory in nature – having come to the city for work either from the nearby villages or from other states, and many a time from the remotest corners of our country. This also means that any kinds of checks in the current jurisdiction will not give the true picture. In this scenario, background verification is without any doubt much much more reliable. The findings in our data also reflect the same.
Working on a large data set of 1.5 Million blue collar profiles, we have found some startling insights – 2-20% cases of fake ID depending on the kind of ID. It is a low 2% for Aadhaar, but a high 20% for DLs. This means that the well-preserved document provided as ID does not vouch for the real identity of the person. Similarly, for addresses, there are 10-15% cases where the provided addresses turned out to be untraceable.
Criminal antecedent checks at a national level throw up 3-13 times more cases compared to a local police verification. For instance, in a sample set of 60,000 private security guards that we ran background verification on, 2% of them turned out to have criminal antecedents, implying that 1,200 criminals were possibly going to engage in the private security system.
In addition to this, Police verification, like any other government procedure, is a time-consuming exercise. The cost of the process also varies from state to state. Background verification, on the other hand, is far more cost-effective. The cost difference between the two could go as far as ten times, depending upon the state. So background verification benefits the employers in ways more than one being a timely, cost-effective and holistic approach.
Therefore doing a background verification is a well-rounded and more effective way of checking the trustworthiness factor before you hire anybody. Having said that, in some states, there is a mandate to get a police verification certificate. In such cases, it makes sense to get it done from a compliance perspective. But you should also do a background verification, in addition to the police verification to make it absolutely foolproof from a risk mitigation perspective. Hiring an untrustworthy employee, or worse, one with a criminal record will ultimately cost you and your business a much higher price than you deserve.