An investigation has revealed more than 800 police officers in Hertfordshire have not had background checks, according to the BBC.

A Freedom of Information request made to 43 police forces across England and Wales showed that 16 of them had not performed retrospective checks on 5,966 staff – despite recommendations by

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services in 2006.

Of the 36 forces that responded, Hertfordshire Constabulary declared 831 police officers had not undergone the stricter vetting introduced under the new guidelines, which states all new staff must have rigorous background checks, while serving officers should be retrospectively checked every ten years.

The police watchdog suggested credit, DNA and fingerprint analysis using police databases, as well as investigations into an applicant’s partner, family and friends be considered.

The guidelines were introduced after Her Majesty's Inspectorate saw “too many” cases of “corruption and abuses of power”.

Labour parliamentary candidate, Chris Ostrowski, said: “It's important that the people of Watford can trust the policewomen and policemen who keep us safe.

“These background checks for existing officers should happen without delay. A Labour Government will fund the police properly and all new recruits will undergo the proper checks before serving the public.”

Liberal Democrat councillor for Oxhey Hall and Hayling ward, Andrew Scarth, said he was “proud of hardworking police officers in Hertfordshire”, adding: “I am very concerned that there are within the present force 831 officers who have not been vetted within the last ten years.

“Does this mean that with more new officers joining there will be even longer delays to carry out security and criminal background checks? This is very worrying, and I will be pressing David Lloyd, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire to get this essential work carried out as quickly as possible.”

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Constabulary said: “Re-vetting is just one element of our comprehensive anti-corruption strategy that includes confidential reporting mechanisms, whistle blowing and other proactive investigations and routine system checks.

“Our approach to vetting is in line with national standards. It is important to note that all Constabulary officers and staff have been vetted and that re-vetting is prioritised towards those officers and staff where there are higher categories of risk.”