Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Child safety or guesswork?

A FOI request by the Sun has revealed that 15,000 innocent people have been labelled criminals in the past six years. This equates to seven mistakes a day by the Criminal Records Bureau.

The victims discovered they had been branded sex offenders, violent thugs or fraudsters when they had a CRB check before a new job. Many went through lengthy appeals to clear their names.Most of the bungles involved CRB checks being mixed up, or incorrect details being given out by staff.Others involved police releasing information which was recorded wrongly when an offence was committed.

The Conservative manifesto states that the ISA's 'vetting and barring' regime would be scaled back to a 'common sense level but would retain the CRB check for those working with children. This rather depends on one's definition of 'common sense'.

Over 21,000 alleged sex crimes involving children under 16 were reported to police between 2008 - 2009, however we do not know whether sexual assaults by those working with children have increased or decreased since CRB checks were introduced, as central Home Office statistics are not collated. How many such attacks have been perpetrated by adults who have had a clear CRB check? Surely it would be easy and sensible to begin to compile such statistics and then these figures could be compared to the numbers of adults who have had lives and careers ruined by mistakes, false allegations and rumour. Not to mention the creation of mistrust and suspicion between adults and children.

It sounds silly but, surely the logical conclusion is that someone who has failed the enhanced CRB check should not be allowed to look after their own children?

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