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back to article Home Office: El Reg may be right on vetting figures

A senior Home Office official has admitted that figures presented for the last 18 months regarding the number of adults likely to end up needing to be vetted may be a serious underestimate. He also suggested that El Reg figures may be right, despite frequent previous denials. Sir Roger Singleton, Chair of the Independent …

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Where will it end?

Sometimes I walk my dog in the park and there are, gasp, children there. Will there be "social pressure" for me to be registered?

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FAIL

Welcome to the CRB Zone

Please submit barcode for verification please.

Code Verified please proceed to full body scanner for Body scan.

Full Bodyscan passed

Please submit computer/mobile/telephone Logs for verification

You are now deemed acceptable to work with other peoples children.

Baby 'P' we are sorry but technology cannot/will not/doesn't care enough to protect you.

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Anonymous Coward

Living under the Stasi

http://www.wired.com/politics/security/magazine/16-02/ff_stasi

"Ulrike Poppe used to be one of the most surveilled women in East Germany. For 15 years, agents of the Stasi followed her, bugged her phone and home, and harassed her unremittingly, right up until she and other dissidents helped bring down the Berlin Wall in 1989....

"Poppe hung out with East German dissidents as a teenager, got blackballed out of college, and was busted in 1974 by the police on the thin pretext of "asocial behavior."

"She went on to become a founding member of a reform-minded group called Women for Peace, and was eventually arrested 13 more times"

"The pages amounted to a minute-by-minute account of Poppe's life, seen from an unimaginable array of angles. Video cameras were installed in the apartment across the street. Her friends' bedrooms were bugged and their conversations about her added to the file. Agents investigated the political leanings of her classmates from middle school"

"....There's a record for every time anyone drove across the border."

"The government described the thousand people they arrested as "hooligans" to state-controlled media."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/aug/10/email-phone-intercept-requests-police

"Requests by police and other officials for information on people's phone calls and emails ran at an average of 1,381 a day last year, A total of 504,073 surveillance requests to telephone and internet companies were made in 2008, the equivalent of one in 78 adults being targeted. "

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/25/police-domestic-extremists-database

"Police are gathering the personal details of thousands of activists who attend political meetings and protests, and storing their data on a network of nationwide intelligence databases.

"The hidden apparatus has been constructed to monitor "domestic extremists", the Guardian can reveal in the first of a three-day series into the policing of protests. Detailed information about the political activities of campaigners is being stored on a number of overlapping IT systems, even if they have not committed a crime."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/25/police-surveillance-protest-domestic-extremism

"How police rebranded lawful protest as 'domestic extremism'"

****

The thing most people misunderstand is this: The individuals in the Stasi *believed* what they were doing was for the greater good. That somehow harrasing and arresting innocent people, denying them work, spying on them, that all this was somehow in the best interests.

They didn't just wake up one day and thing, ... lets attack East German freedoms, like some zombie army.

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Big Brother

Political Instruction

I believe it's called "Policy-based evidence making", as described in everyone's favourite Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Policy-based_evidence_making

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Do it now

Like the pirate party in Sweden(?) lets get El Reg into Guberment, as a long time poster i can be the politico in charge of facts and figures (Footie and girls).

I could attend footie during the day and making sure all the ladys of the UK don't go wanting in the evenings (all on expenses of course).

El Reg for Prime minister i say.

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Stop

16 million?

How many adults are there in the UK anyway? Might as well just make it compulsory for everyone.

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'Tis ever the case in a failed administration

"Today, finally, a member of the ISA has said they would be very interested in seeing how we worked out our figures"

Common Sense springs immediately to mind, which does sort of render and identify the ISA as being staffed at its head by the intellectually challenged and totally unsuited.

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Half of employed people to be vetted

Given that there are only 28M employed people in this country, if 16M of them need to be vetted for whatever reason it begs the question wouldn't it be easier and more cost effective to have a data base of the people who aren't permitted to work with children. Oh but that would probably be a violation of their rights...

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Title

"For example, the person who gives private piano lessons or the person who puts a postcard in the local post office saying, 'I'm able to provide domiciliary care for dependent people.' They may decide that to be able to put on the bottom of the postcard 'ISA-registered' is something that gives comfort and it may be that the uptake is likely to be increased."

Which means that anyone whose postcard doesn't have "ISA-registered" at the bottom may as well write "I will rape your granny" below their phone number, what with all the other postcards in the window bearing their badge of approval from London. Certainly the pliant press will do everything they can to spread the socially correct view of such things, with regular stories of Imogen Middle-Class, 36, who was too tight to pay for an "ISA-registered carer" for her children and later found them being forced to pose for Russian websites.

And even if everyone in the village knows you're not a perv, that won't help you when plod turns up to ask you why exactly you didn't want to be registered. If your piano tutee sprains their wrist during Chopsticks and their mother hauls you up for assault, not being ISA-registered is basically going to be an admission of guilt.

Ah, the good old passive-aggressive modern state. Like Dracula, it needs an invite before it can come into your house and suck your blood, but somehow the fact that it's only there to suck your blood never prevents it from getting an invitation.

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Unhappy

The Reg may have got something right shock!

My experience is everyone and their dog needs a CRB check and needs one time and time again since they are not transferable from one situation to another.

In expectation of the new Vetting and Barring scheme, organisations are asking for them 'to be on the safe side', and there is indeed pressure to avoid the accusation that you must have something to hide if you say that one is not required for a given situation.

I bet your figure turns out to be an under-estimate.

They become worthless pieces of paper when everyone has them.

Instead of waving paper, we should be looking at making safer processes, not creating modern day witch-hunts.

Anonymous because what sort of person would criticise CRB checks?

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IT Angle

Who's the IT contractor?

Which company is being paid millions to upgrade the relevant IT systems in line with this massive increase in the number of records and people accessing them? Answer that and you'll know exactly who is bribing the government to bring this in.

"Think of the children?" -- like hell, All these people care about are their kickbacks and "consulting positions". Paedophiles and Terrorists are loved by governments the world over as great excuses to give our money to their buddies.

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Big Brother

ISA desire to see El Reg model

As I read it, there is no indication that the ISA want to work with the El Reg model. More likely they will devote their attentions to finding any flaw possible, and then rubbishing it.

If you want my advice, the undeclared model will fight the cause better than sharing the information.

Of course as with all things they will then turn to the "we are unable to verify" attack, to which your response should be "independent experts confirm the veracity our techniques"

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Pirate

Take back the moral highground...

Assuming the whole scheme doesn't collapse under the weight of its own incompetence, or that it doesn't get the bullet from a new administration, there is always this option; at the bottom of your postcard, etc. :

'Absolutely not ISA registered in order to retain self-respect and personal integrity.'

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Empty the Prisons!

That's it! Don't waste all that money on locking people up - just give them a 'criminal record' and send them on their way. They won't be able to get any kind of job and will be permanently consigned to an underclass of CRB branded sub-citizens. What could possibly go wrong?

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Black Helicopters

@Where will it end?

Eventually, the entire adult population (except politicians) will be registered. Then they'll print us a nice card with our photograph on it to prove we're in the DB. Then they'll decide to put biometric information on it to help safeguard against fraud. Then it'll be updated automatically from police records and it'll be a legal requirement to carry it at all times. Then there will be rfid sensors on every corner to record our every movement. Finally, we'll have to have the thing implanted.

Slippery slope meets shit creek.

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FAIL

Complete FAIL

Just to add an observation - the idea that this will create jobs or that UK IT contractors will make a decent living working on this system is simply not true.

The contract for design/build/operation of the database will be awarded by the usual vested interest cronies to one of the usual suspect global (ie US owned) IT corporations who in turn will hire the cheapest possible labour through off-shoring or importing immigrant workers in order to cream the greatest possible gain from the multi-million pound outsourcing contract - profit which will of course be exported out of the British economy via a tax-free offshore haven.

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Joke

What the difference between Jews during WW2 and the UK Population in 2009

they were branded and tagged on religious grounds (illegal now)

We the Brits are branded 'Just in case'

I believe Siemens tendered for both contracts

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Linux

hignfy

I've had direct experience of this 'commercial advantage' mission creep. I work in a commercial environment in a specialist (read incestuous) sector which has quite a lot of contact with local and central government agencies. We don't interact with children or vulnerable people in any way.

Management are currently floating the idea of putting all staff through enhanced CRB checks believing it will make us more attractive to local government clients in particular and give us a competitive advantage (at least until all our rivals do the same) in a tough marketplace.

Our management seem to think that because everyone does their job well and no one looks like an axe-murderer, everyone in our 100-strong organisation would 'pass'. Given that enhanced checks will bring up even minor convictions or cautions, plus acquittals, allegations, hearsay and anonymous rumours, I doubt that will turn out to be the case. And if we can't put a member of staff in front of clients as 'CRB clean' when all our competitors can, they ain't going to last long in our business.

I have a clean record (as far as I know), but will refuse a check as it's not applicable to my line of work. I don't care if people assume it's because I've got something to hide, you've got to draw a line in the sand somewhere.

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Linux

Just say no

I've had direct experience of this 'commercial advantage' mission creep. I work in a commercial environment in a specialist (read incestuous) sector which has quite a lot of contact with local and central government agencies. We don't interact with children or vulnerable people in any way.

Management are currently floating the idea of putting all staff through enhanced CRB checks believing it will make us more attractive to local government clients in particular and give us a competitive advantage (at least until all our rivals do the same) in a tough marketplace.

Our management seem to think that because everyone does their job well and no one looks like an axe-murderer, everyone in our 100-strong organisation would 'pass'. Given that enhanced checks will bring up even minor convictions or cautions, plus acquittals, allegations, hearsay and anonymous rumours, I doubt that will turn out to be the case. And if we can't put a member of staff in front of clients as 'CRB clean' when all our competitors can, they ain't going to last long in our business.

I have a clean record (as far as I know), but will refuse a check as it's not applicable to my line of work. I don't care if people assume it's because I've got something to hide, you've got to draw a line in the sand somewhere.

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Big Brother

Sand,Gravel,Portland Cement.

"I have a clean record (as far as I know), but will refuse a check as it's not applicable to my line of work. I don't care if people assume it's because I've got something to hide, you've got to draw a line in the sand somewhere."It's not a line in the sand that you will need but a bloody great big ditch in concrete lines in sand can be deleted.

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Big Brother

Evidence of effectiveness?

Where is the evidence of the effectiveness of such a scheme?

Has it been proved that running statistical probability data mining algorithms against an identity database with limited profiling indicators can even work as a preventative measure? What happens when an offender slips through the net even with this system in place?

How much evidence do they propose it is reasonable to collect in order to be confident of making the correct judgment on an individuals suitability? What criterea will the risk assessment be based on? The guidelines and language (http://www.isa-gov.org.uk/) appear deliberately vague and fuzzy.

When did screening by a remote central body come to be considered in any way more effective than local supervision by experienced senior staff, risk assessment based on role type / level of access and an effective process for the investigation of complaint?

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But it's worse than that....

....Catkins.

The checks will show up to the company all those things is never knew about its staff, and even if it makes no difference to their suitability for the work in question they'll now be at risk of termination "because there's something not quite right about them" and they didn't reveal it at interview.

If I were you, I'd very quietly and informally let people know that it would be an excellent idea if the staff refused to be vetted en masse so that no one can be taken aside and persuaded that there is no one else who doesn't want to be checked.

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Unhappy

It's already too late.

A couple of years ago (now I have more free time) I thought I'd join one of the local amateur theatrical groups as a stage hand. I contacted two groups. Both wanted permission to run a CRB check. Neither could give a sensible reason for wanting this. One woman was visibly stunned when I said that I considered such a demand a gross invasion of privacy.

I'm still looking for a small informal group of people that just like to get along and 'do things'.

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Stop

A CRB... to play Warhammer with kids?

I have personal experience with one of the largest gaming clubs in the UK who at one point said they would insist that anyone who wishes to play tabletop games with children obtain a CRB. This was following an unfortunate incident where a member of a club 'molested an underage' (15 year old) boy, however -

A CRB would not have caught this fellow. Clean criminal record in all regards.

Just a kneejerk reaction from those in the grips of a semi-fascist state.

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Coffee/keyboard

Oh dear

I had a police background check performed when I volunteered to participate in a public event. No problems there at all and took all of 5 minutes or so. The form filling took longer...

But to be part of a permanent database where anonymous and non-verified information can be added is troubling.

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What next, first to a company wide celibacy vow?

Which is probably about s relevant or meaningful as this nonsense.

Employers. No need to ask. No need to know.

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Stop

@dunncha

Tagging & Branding!

Of course, what a great idea, a visual sign of a goodie or a baddie.

Just don't tell the gubberment!!

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On the plus side

Perhaps I can refuse to give sweets to trick or treaters on the grounds that I have not been vetted.

< / Sarcasm mode off >

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Meaningless

How many people are going to follow up on a claimed `CRB clearance' mentioned in an advert, contract bid or whatever, anyway?

Next thing: meaningless `CRB cleared' lapel pins, probably with an EU stars symbol somewhere on them for good measure. Available from any temporary market stall, you don't even have to go to a passport seller.

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FAIL

Why I don't volunteer

I wanted to train as a cricket umpire, so I could umpire for my local pub's team. To train, you have to join the national umpires' association. To join, you need to be vetted. Because, obviously, all the children in pub cricket teams are in so much danger from umpires abusing them while standing in the middle of a field where their parents can see, and in the presence of large tattooed gentlemen who would beat the shit out of the miscreant.

So, because I refuse to let the state pry where it has no business, I'm not a (qualified) umpire. Meanwhile, village and pub cricket still has a terrible shortage of qualified umpires.

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Trick or Treat

Yes Gavin that's a great idea, truly, I'll just put up my sign

"Sorry can not answer the door to anyone under the age of 18

Please provide evidence of your age before knocking"

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Unhappy

Lists

So once you have been vetted you are a 'gold star person' you are an angel and will never break the rules?

One does want to aim towards a society which is safer for children but you can not and will not be able to classify people into boxes of "likely to offend" "not likely to offend" by any criteria!

And for anyone thiking of being vaguely kinky in the bedroom, don' t bother going into any profession that will require being vetted... the ISA believe you can not have a private life and a professionaly public life.

Or you may end up onyet another list!

"Information held under Section 142 of the Education Act 2002 (previously known as, and still widely referred to as, "List 99") is a database maintained in the United Kingdom by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). It contains the personal details of individuals such as current name and any known aliases, date of birth and National Insurance Number of those listed who are banned from working in any capacity with children in any setting be that in schools, children's homes, hospitals or voluntary organisations, etc.

As of 2006[update], the list is receiving considerable media attention since not all people on the British Sex Offenders Register are also listed on this list. It follows the case of a physical education teacher being cleared to work with children by DfES, even though he had accepted a police caution for accessing child pornography. However, a banned individual need NOT be convicted of only sex offences to be included on List 99. For example, an individual can be placed on the list if convicted of theft, fraud, drug offences, corruption, GBH, affray, murder or subversive activities. Medical reasons for placement on the list include alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illness (eg:Schizophrenia). Moreover, an individual does NOT have to be subject to Police arrest or convicted of an offence to be included on the list. Dismissal for Gross Misconduct (for ANY reason) can lead to inclusion on List 99."

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Black Helicopters

CRM cleared.....

..... is meaningless to new organisations anyway, as it is not transferable. Each new requirement need a new CRB check. I know people who have been CRB checked multiple times in a matter of months, because of volunteering to help school and temporary jobs in care homes. And each check requires a full search.

This is one of the major differences between CRB and ISA checking, as ISA is recorded on a database, and can be checked at minimal cost and time, meaning that it is a 'qualification' that can be bragged about (BSc. MSc, DSC and Bar, ISA registered, Registered owner of a Corgi etc.). But, it's information recorded about an individual on a government funded database. Could this be used as a replacement for the ID database at some point in the future, once it is comprehensive enough? And what information would be useful to employers, and fraudsters and blackmailers if it leaked.

AC and Black helicopters, natch, as I don't want to loose my government SC clearance.

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FAIL

@Where will it end?

We will all need to have CRB checks.

Courtesy of the Daily Mail...

The main bit of interest is (to save you visiting the site)...

A council has banned parents from supervising their children in public playgrounds until they have undergone criminal record checks.

Adults have been excluded from two adventure play areas in Watford, apart from a handful of council-vetted 'play rangers' who will assist youngsters, it emerged today.

Parents will be forced to watch their children from outside the perimeter fence.

Watford Borough Council claims it is just following Government guidelines and cannot allow adults to walk around playgrounds 'unchecked'.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223528/Parents-banned-supervising-children-playgrounds--case-paedophiles.html#ixzz0VEqqB2XA

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FAIL

CRB/ISA fail

It's all very well saying "No problems there at all and took all of 5 minutes or so" (200910272014GMT) but what if you "fail"? The fallout is enormous.

As a result of "mission creep" one of my local voluntary amateur music groups decided it wanted everybody CRB checked in order to appeal to the parents of 14-18 year olds. (The average age currently is around bus-pass level, so the objective was to get the new blood in before the undertakers move in.) Astonishingly, everybody enthused over this, and any dissent was met with the usual "if you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear". I wasn't even likely to have contact with this age group except for occasional lift provision to concerts. I also had an agency contract for private tuition with the same age group as my main income source.

I didn't expect trouble, merely an hour filling in forms and hunting round the house for random bits of paper, so I agreed.

I then failed the CRB. Or rather I passed it, but a "secret" communication was made to my *employer* who disengaged me and to the group who then suspended me, despite the clear CRB. After a dozen court hearings, an ombudsman inquiry, three formal statutory complaint applications and four disciplinary hearings with different organisations, the truth at last began to crawl out. The police had got on their records an allegation that I had raped a minor, together with the result of their own immediate investigation, which was that the allegation was (a) false (b) either malicious or delusional, having been made by a compulsive attention-seeking false-allegationist with strong ties into local government. Consequently the police decided not to proceed with an investigation against me and never told me about the matter, but "forgot" to delete the annotation "Suspect #1 in undetected crime" on their record. However, under the e-CRB and VBS, the computer record was *automatically* and secretly transferred into the CRB/VBS machinery which is not allowed to tell employees that the police have passed information to their employers.

The result has been about £20000 in legal fees, five years off my normal work (no employer which "expects applicants to share our commitment to child safeguarding" will now touch me) and loss of contact with my own children after intervention from the local authority who were also alerted to the record --- and this was a case where the police knew from the outset that the allegations were false.

I don't know how many other people have unknowingly having incorrect police or other records which might be disclosed to the CRB/VBS or if the above figures are typical in getting the matter corrected. Even if the percentage of false information is as low as 1% (and I suspect the figure is nearer 90% in the ECRB case), and ten million vetting applications in the pipeline then one arrives at a figure of 100000 situations like this, which will contribute of the order of billion pounds to the pension fund of lawyers, even before the derived ECHR1 and ECHR8 cases come to court.

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