The importance of Police verification of domestic workers (Maids, Nanny, drivers)
"Let the maid join the job. I will get the Police verification done later. And yes, later, I will conveniently forget about it"
We all know that Police Department recommends that Police verification should be completed for all domestic servants. But, we tend to ignore it… till a tragedy strikes. Recently, a few horrific incidents came to light where domestic servants were involved in crimes. While the intent is not to support the stereotype that domestic workers may have a criminal intent, this blog aims to highlight the importance of police verification based on JobNukkad’s practical experience of placing hundreds of maids, babysitters and cooks.
Let’s understand the process of police verification:
Now, we will tell you why police verification is so important!!
There are fundamental flaws in the police verification process for eg. criminal records of the candidate are checked only for that particular police station which means that if the person has committed a crime in the adjudication of some other police station, it will not get caught. Despite of these flaws, it still works!!
Automatic filter: If you have ever visited a police station, you would know how intimidating it could be if policemen decide to speak in an overbearing tone. People belonging to the lower economic strata often find it more intimidating. Therefore, anyone who does not have a clean background would never agree for police verification. Therefore, it automatically filters out candidates with less than perfect background.
Deterrent for future actions: Secondly, even for someone who has a clean background, Police verification serves as a huge deterrent from developing intentions to commit a crime in the household at a future date.
Transparency: We have had freak cases where girls desiring to work as a live-in babysitter or maid have actually run away from their homes due to ill-treatment being given by their parents and more often by their husband. This fact is not revealed by them during the job interview or even after joining the job. When their family members file a missing complaint with the Police, the Police will trace their location and come knocking on the employer’s door. This is a situation most households would like to avoid. While any adult is free to live away from their family and exercise their choice, the situation could be avoided if the fact is revealed to the employer before joining. We have seen cases where households have employed such maids knowing fully well the situation and respecting the choice made by the maid. Since the process of police verification involves reference check from neighbours, such cases can be detected in advance and an informed call can be taken by the employer.
Forced employment: Then there are cases where girls do not want to work in someone’s house but they are forced by their family members to do so. Sometimes such girls end up running away from their employer’s house. This situation would again lead to forced visits by employer at the Police Station. And if you have not done Police verification, you are on the back-foot. This is the first thing Police will ask for.
Tech-based background verification methods:
There are other tech-based ways of doing background verification for eg. document authenticity verification using online database of Aadhaar etc, criminal record verification using centralised court database, address verification etc. We use this method extensively for all the candidates through third party agencies but we have found limitations of this method. This is because there is no involvement of candidates while doing online verification. Most of the times they are not even aware that their verification is being done. Therefore, it fails to serve as a deterrent for someone who has a criminal intent or for the candidate not revealing her true family condition.
Suggested improvements in the process of Police verification:
In keeping with the times, Maharashtra has made the process of submission of application for police verification (Character certificate) online. Same is the case with Delhi and some other states. However, each state follows a different format. If the Home Ministries of all states can collaborate to standardise the process, it will be helpful. More importantly, there is an urgent need to digitise the entire database of FIRs lodged in police stations across India and to make a central repository of the same.
In Maharashtra, the submission process is extremely complicated. For a household to be able to submit the application by themselves is highly unlikely. It’s a steep learning curve. There is a prescribed size range and pixel range of all the documents to be uploaded. It takes a lot of time to get to the right specifications of the documents. It is also required to submit an application on the letterhead of the employer.
If the process is made simpler, it will give a huge boost to the number of verification applications. Secondly, at least at state level, a digital repository can be made of all cases in state-wide police stations.
In the informal job sector, there is rarely any trail of previous employment, performance track record etc. Therefore, police verification is one of the most important ways of avoiding a difficult situation.
Most of the agencies do not give the service of applying for their candidates’ police verification. JobNukkad has gone a step further- we have made it compulsory to do police verification for all the maids and we facilitate the whole process completely.
To hire a Police verified maid/ babysitter/ nanny/ cook, register here.