The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

The CRB Is Wrong

Posted by The Futility Monster on August 3, 2009 @ 01:44

When the Enhanced disclosure on her Dad came back with his history of drunken violence and domestic abuse, there was only one option left for 7 year old Daisy...

When the Enhanced disclosure on her Dad came back with his history of drunken violence and domestic abuse, there was only one option left for 7 year old Daisy...

… so says the Telegraph, which today is carrying a story about how criminal records checks have been issued containing false information.

Surprised? Of course not. Governments and databases are a terrible combination, and this one is no exception. While its intentions are good and noble, however, there is something rotten at its core.

I have a little insight into the CRB, courtesy of various contacts. I know full well the extent to which businesses are flouting the spirit of its creation – intended to protect children and vulnerable adults – to turn it into an invasive and seriously liberty-curtailing piece of bureaucratic bloat.

I understand that the CRB has a legal duty to process checks, regardless of what they are to be used for. This is partly the reason why almost every check the CRB does is a, so called, “enhanced” disclosure, which contains police intelligence not tested in a court of law. This despite the fact that enhanced disclosures were intended for jobs that involve one-to-one contact with children or vulnerable adults. In other words, where there is always another adult present, a standard disclosure would be deemed satisfactory.

But that doesn’t stop schools, hospitals and all manner of public institutions requiring enhanced CRB checks for chefs, exam invigilators, lollipop ladies/men, people (including people who have their own children) who give lifts to other children going to a youth football game and even administrators by virtue of the fact that they might be working in the education department of a local authority.

Let me remind you that such checks reveal information that has not been proven. It therefore may contain things people have made up. False accusations that remain forever on the police’s “intelligence” file.

Furthermore, it has not stopped employers who seriously don’t understand the process claiming that they will make CRB checks on people for things that have nothing to do with children or vulnerable adults. This includes jobs like cashiers and bus drivers (not school bus drivers) – simply because these employers believe they should be allowed to know if their potential employees are criminals or not.

To some people, this is not a problem. They believe employers should be allowed to find out if they’re taking on a criminal, without having to rely on their word for it.

I fundamentally disagree for a simple reason: our old friend the thin end of the wedge. No sooner do we concede that checks are “useful” for children, then a logical extension must be that checks are indeed useful for all employers. Then, why not allow single parents to check out if their new partner is a paedophile in waiting? Let’s conveniently ignore the fact that most child abuse occurs within the family, by persons known by the child.

Maybe children should be able to CRB check their parents?

Bit impractical that one though, so perhaps the end result is more likely to be that parents need to be CRB approved before they’re allowed to procreate. Wouldn’t want the child abusers getting their hands on children in that way after all!

That’s ridiculous, you might say. But whyever not? If it saves one child’s life, it’s justified isn’t it? Isn’t that what we hear every time there’s another tragedy involving children?

But so would banning alcohol to limit domestic violence. So would banning cars so there are no more road deaths.

So would locking up children all day and night in a room with nothing but food and water until they’re 21 years old.

In the end it comes down to a fundamental question of freedoms. If you make a logical case that the CRB is right and necessary for protecting children, and ought to go further, then you have to concede that your logic is going to take you into very difficult territory.

3 Responses to “The CRB Is Wrong”

  1. […] The problem now is that his reputation is tarnished forever, no matter what the judge has ruled. His CRB Enhanced Disclosure will be filled with all of these allegations and details of the trial, even though he has never been found guilty of an offence. Yet another reason why I am suspicious of the policies behind the CRB… […]

  2. whistleblower said

    Yep, the rules have now changed, but until October 2009 enhanced checks could only legally be required for posts which involved regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children or vulnerable adults. Yet the CRB and its umbrella bodies seem to have been perfectly happy to carry out enhanced checks for a whole range of jobs which patently didn’t fit this description, even though this was unlawful. What’s more, the CRB has done nothing about it even when it has been brought to its attention. It is a scandal and there appears to be no accountability at all. Unfortunately, the new rules allow enhanced checks for a much wider range of jobs than previously.

    Did you know that if you receive any healthcare services at all, you are deemed to be a ‘vulnerable adult’ under the new Vetting and Barring rules and that all healthcare workers will therefore be required to have an enhanced CRB check? I am trying to establish whether I am a vulnerable adult only for the time I am actually receiving healthcare, or whether the vulnerability travels with me elsewhere!

  3. […] the past I’ve strongly challenged the idea that what this country needs to protect its children is a bloody great database constantly […]

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