back to article Would you leave your child alone with a cabinet minister?

When it comes to vetting adults who may come into contact with children, there is yet again one rule for politicians, another for the rest of us. There is much fuss in this morning’s papers over a statement by Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials trilogy, that once the government’s new vetting system is in place, he will …

COMMENTS

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Silver badge

Go Philip!

I'm with Pullman on this one, I refuse to participate in such a scheme. As one of the home educators mentioned above, I wonder how long it will be before we have to be vetted in order to continue to educate our children at home.

Should we take bets on when someone who's passed all the vetting checks is convicted of child abuse? It will happen, the system will fail somewhere.

As for 'Vetting is for "people with access in their work" the interpretation appears to come down to "If you have an adult visiting a school more than once a month.."', look at what's happened with photographers, or to the country of Iceland. If the interpretation is 'more than once a month' then damn well write it explicitly in the law so that it can't later be misused.

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Happy

I'd rather

leave my children with Gary Glitter than any government minister

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W

jeremy 3, Chris O'Shea & Iggle Piggle

...have nailed this.

The apparent threshold of whether you have supervisory contact with children more than once a month seems sensible.

A _sensible_ check for those who are trusted to take on a supervisory role for vulnerable individuals? Seems completely rational.

But...

Not supervisory and aren't left alone with kids? Why check?

Allowing checks to include any reference to baseless rumours or accusations? Insane. It's wide open to beinfg gamed by folk logging accusations or rumours for purely unrelated malicious reasons.

Yes, we should be encouraging scoutmasters etc, but by giving credence to baseless rumours we're moving towards a position where the volunteer is arguably the more vulnerable party.

So, ironically, the current CRB regime & methodology is potentially harming children by denying them the opportunity to have people volunteer their services due to the potential for their life to be ruined by one single, malicious, unproved allegation that could crop up at any time due to a perfectly innocent disagreement between the volunteer and a disgruntled parent wishing to exercise a little sabotage.

I do a little volunteer work, but I'll not be getting CRB checks done any time soon, so what can be done by my group is limited to adding the disclaimer that all U16s need to be accompanied. As long as tittle tattle rather than actual convictions has the ability to potentially ruin me, I'll decline, cheers.

I thought we'd stopped actual witch-hunts a while ago.

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Anti-religious propaganda?

Sorry for drifting, but - where did this whole "Pullman writes atheist propaganda disguised as fantasy" thing originate from? I've read the first book of the series, and I couldn't find anything of the kind. It's a run-of-the-mill fantasy novel. The bad guys happen to be members of a church somewhat resembling Christianity, but the same can be said of a gazillion other books. And I can't think of anything else. Does the propaganda start in the second book, perhaps?

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Anonymous Coward

@Parents/relatives are responsible for most child abuse

Yep, if the government really wants to protect children it should stop wasting time on vetting school visitors and vet every single parent (and immediate relations) before giving a school place to a child.

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Anonymous Coward

the reason authors

"the reason authors are required to register is because they go to the same school over and over again."

I agree.

When I was at school we couldn't move for bloody authors all over the place.

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Flame

The government are idiots

"the reason authors are required to register is because they go to the same school over and over again"

Do they fuck. They write books over and over again - that's their job.

They go to the same school only rarely and then it's to a different bunch of children who didn't get to meet them the last time...

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Unhappy

re: operation ore

Tony Blair is on the ORE LIST

But his address is wrong (Conservative HQ)

I was one of the people who had their lives ruined by this crap!

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Megaphone

And as for those making these laws....

"Jacqui Smith feared she was not up to being home secretary and wished she had been better trained for the role, she reveals in a magazine interview."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8155454.stm

FFS You can't make this stuff up!!

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Silver badge
FAIL

What happens when the kids know about this?

You can now lose your job and have your life ruined simply on unsubstantiated allegations with no evidence.

The kids will very soon know about this.

So they can threaten (or just accuse) any adult who they don't like, or who is not doing whatever they order them to do.

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Too late to protest

The problem is that this level of protest wasn't raised when the CRB enhanced check was introduced. Its therefore possible to bluster that its not really any different and its just a streamlining of the system.

The real problem is hit on by Pullman. This legislation turns the entire basis of British law on it's head; the principle that a person is innocent until proved guilty. In the case of this sort of 'positive vetting' the opposite holds true. People are guilty unless proved innocent, add to this the fact that rumor alone (the no smoke without fire principle) can get you on the list and huge swathes of the population can be eliminated from potential employment without ever having committed an offence.

Whilst the case that the legislation in on the back of was terrible, Huntley et al, this is a massive overreaction in terms of cost and human rights. If murderers like Huntley were routinely taking jobs near children and killing them for sport it would be different. There are always people that will slip through the net, however tight you draw it, measures like this trample too far over our freedoms for too little benefit.

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Megaphone

Human Rights

From the European Convention on Human Rights:-

"Article 6 – Right to a fair trial

1 In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interests of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.

2 Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

3 Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:

a to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;

b to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;

c to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;

d to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;

e to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.

Article 7 – No punishment without law

1 No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national or international law at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the criminal offence was committed.

2 This article shall not prejudice the trial and punishment of any person for any act or omission which, at the time when it was committed, was criminal according to the general principles of law recognised by civilised nations.

...

Article 13 – Right to an effective remedy

Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.

Article 14 – Prohibition of discrimination

The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

...

Article 17 – Prohibition of abuse of rights

Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the Convention.

Article 18 – Limitation on use of restrictions on rights

The restrictions permitted under this Convention to the said rights and freedoms shall not be applied for any purpose other than those for which they have been prescribed."

Trying to get around this stuff by wording things in just the right kind of way, such as by not calling what are effectively criminal charges "criminal charges", and so on, is surely illegal under the Convention, breaches it, and makes a mockery of human rights and the rule of law. It's not what things are called that's important, but what they actually are.

This police state vetting stuff has to be ripped to utter shreds. It's so plainly a mass violation of human rights. Anyone participating in trying to enforce or implement this vetting stuff is complicit with and guilty of these mass human rights violations.

Let me repeat the second part of Article 7:-

"2 This article shall not prejudice the trial and punishment of any person for any act or omission which, at the time when it was committed, was criminal according to the general principles of law recognised by civilised nations."

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What really titses me off

Is the way the arsehole they pushed forward for the Today interview this morning said that they are only trying to strike the right balance. That is as maybe, but they are seriously failing to strike the right balance.

In the case of Philip Pullman his argument was along the lines that because Pullman is a well known children's author he will be trusted by children and could therefore have his wicked way with them. Using this logic, Pullman is a menace if he even appears within visual range of a child. This would also explain why government ministers don't need checking - nobody trusts them...

The whole idea stinks to high heaven and what is worse, abrogates all responsibility to a database check. Kids are most at risk from people they see on a regular basis - families, neighbours - but the government seems to think that it's the previously convicted (usually not for any child related crime), who are stalking the country with raging hard-ons.

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BBC Interview this morning

There was a very funny interview on BBC breakfast this morning. They did there usual job of getting two polar opposites to argue the toss. One, a children's author (never heard of him, never heard of his books) and the head of a teaching union. The first, deliberately leading question went to the author with the obvious expectation that he would be frothing at the mouth about this afront to his reputation.

The interviewers were quite visibly pissed off when he cheerily admitted he thought the plan was an excellent idea and saw no reason why he shouldn't be vetted in the same way as everyone else.

Clearly, the researchers had not done their jobs. Rather than a slanging match we ended up with an intelligent, articulate author presenting a well-reasoned argument. Most un-BBC.

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Troll

Child Protection

Does Child Protection only exist in Schools?

What about when kids call into Waterstones etc when the authors are doing a book signing?

What about Sports people shouldn't we be vetting them too? As they go on School visits?

What about staff at museums, public library s, theme parks, where kids go on school trips?

What about public transport drivers, because kids use public transport?

What about just making it simple and vet every member of the public every year to ensure that the kiddie fiddler register is kept up to date.

In fact what about protecting adults from those Asbo type kids, shouldn't we have an Asbo register? Where all those unruly St Trininian types can have their details recorded and be blacklisted for jobs in the future. Vet the kids for unruly behaviour and attitudes towards society.

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FAIL

Like a trust a monkey to enter my data

Yeah right, the amount of cock-ups government agencies make with inputting peoples data, a simple mistype or click could end you up on a banned list that'll be 50 times harder to get off of than to be vetted in the first place - of course, this data will be kept securely, encrypted, never be taken home or sold to jurnos for a small fee - oh, wait...

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Alert

"Subversive" Children's Books?

Perhaps it's time for these children's authors to start writing some suitably "subversive" books?

These much-loved authors and illustrators are in a unique position. Through their work, they can inform, educate and enlighten young people as to what's really happening in our so-called "democracy". A whole generation can be brought up to regard the State as the greatest of (potential) dangers to their own rights and freedoms.

"Children, we ask you: What sort of future are we building for you? What sort of society will you inherit? Will you be free, or slaves?"

What will the authorities do then? Start vetting books, to make sure that children only get "safe" books to read? On what grounds? How can they block the politically unacceptable books without letting the Orwellian cat out of the bag? Seems like the government might have just managed to pick a fight it is utterly doomed to lose in a truly massive way. And Another Brick In The Wall, Part II, will surge right back up the charts again, as well.

There are so many possibilities for how those children's authors and illustrators could respond to this. And they're the ones with the imaginations - who knows what cunning stories they'll come up with?

Does anyone know if any of these authors are yet intending to respond to this kind of police state stuff through the medium of children's books?

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Anonymous Coward

I for one

Am more amazed that government ministers are not fully checked before being given their posts. Surely as PM you would want to know the background of the people who are going to lose you your job when it turns out someone you employed is a kiddie fiddler or similar.

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Silver badge
FAIL

And another thought

"Hello, is that the emergency plumber? We've had a massive pipe burst and the whole school is being flooded."

"Rightho mate, we'll send someone round in a couple of months once he's been cleared to work in a school."

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Grenade

Animal farm...

Let me put it this way:

If an unvetted politico visits my child's school I am going to scream bloody murder and file a formal complaint with the headmaster and drive it as far as I can requiring vetting for the politico and all of his cronies who have violated the school sanctity with their presence. Nothing personal, but looking at the level of lowlife that sits in government and parliament today in their case I would actually expect them to unsuitable to work with children. The reason for the whole legislation is that people who work with children should be trusted by children. Anyone willing to trust the Scottish one eyed idiot? Or god forbid his predecessor? Or Wacky Jacky and her porn-loving husband?

However if a children book author has come for signing or reading I would not say a word. The chance that they should not be trusted compared to a politico is remote enough.

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Headmaster

Won't somebody think of the children!!!!!

My new employer has a scheme where I can volunteer a lunchtime to help local schoolkids with their reading (I used to do something like this years back) I took one look at the CRB form and ran a mile. We all know who's going to suffer for this,

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Grenade

Bottom line...

One Law for All - and let the politicians lead by example... the results of whose checks should, of course in the interests of transparency, be made public.

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Alert

It's all mad

I love to take people caving, and get the most enjoyment from peoples reactions on their first few trips underground. The vast majority of these are Scouts or students.

Yes, I am CRB checked

Yes, I am checked out by the Scouts

No, I won't pay to have my 25+ years of caving competency checked so that I may receive payment for this, or work for an outwards bounds organisation. (Although I do sometimes 'nanny' the f*ckwits who get their bits of paper paid for by the local education authority, but who have no experience or common sense!) I voulenteer for the enjoyment of it.

My friends and I have a rule that we always ask the young adults if they want some assistance, before any physical contact occurs. Just last weekend a 4' tall youngster (to be quite honest I don't know whether they were male or female) was struggling to climb over a 6' rock, so I had to ask "You seem about to fall off that, would you like me to help you ..." by which point they were already in a heap on the floor. Had it been an adult, of either sex, they would have been pulled by the arm (if they were below us) or had a hand shoving their buttock up for a second or so (if they were above us), and no-one would have thought any more about it.

Which is the safer, quicker, more sensible, instinctive, more obvious approach and which is the more New Labour, politically correct approach?

Anonumous - because I want to get my CRB renewed some time soon!

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And re: Par 33 of the consultation...

This is clear that there is considered a need to vet those with contact with different individuals. It is not clear that this stretches across different locations, whilst the DCSF spokesman is pretty clear that it doesn't. In the end, this is not one law for government ministers and another for the rest of us - if Ed Balls was going into a single school more than once a month, then he would have to be vetted. The fact is, he never does, and so doesn't need to be vetted. Neither, given that he only goes into schools occasionally, does Philip Pullman.

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Anonymous Coward

if

it so happened that the car was invented in the last 5 years (i would say 10, but it seems most of these idiotic 'laws' have been invented the last 5) within 2 years of their creation they would be banned, destroyed and propaganda campaigns started against carmakers and drivers. This would happen because, depsite there being <insert large number here> of cars on the road, 2 people crashed and died.

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Flame

Violin Playing in the Colonies

"Striking a balance"... well, that's true, unfortuneately.

This has been the case in the Colonies for years now. Students have held teachers and parents in slavery for years since "Child Protective Services"(tm) or whatever politically correct title they are using now were created. With the Big Stick(tm) of the State hanging overhead with threats of reporting non-existant abuse (sexual or none), little Darling gets that new iPod(tm) Nano(tm), or another two hours of Disney(tm) Kids(tm) channel before going to bed.

I have watched as a "little angel" of 5 demanded a certain type of breakfast cereal because Hanna Montana(tm) ate it. When refused, the child then slammed her arm into the shelf, causing a large bruise and rapid swelling, screaming at her mother amid showers of tears to "please stop hitting me" in the middle of the Wal-Mart(tm)...

Guess which box got dumped into the cart, right quick? Lord help her if the mother had raised her voice, let alone her hand, for anything resembling discipline...

Parents have no power over her, folks. It is only normal for Blighty to strive to do as well or better than we are, innit? Just over there, you still need eine papier, bitte...

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Silver badge
Big Brother

Response to this ridiculousness

A friend of mine is a music teacher who rotates around several different schools. One of these is the school in the local youth detention centre, and he was telling me about how the adults protect themselves in there.

In every class, there is a teacher and a security guard. If the guard has to leave, so does the teacher and the door is locked. Likewise, if the teacher has to leave, so does the guard and again the door is locked. This gives rise to the situation that at no time anywhere in the centre is any adult ever unaccompanied by another adult. He tells me that the "official" reason for this policy is to ensure the children don't get molested. The REAL reason for this policy is so that if any adult is accused of anything, he/she has a witness present to clear him/her.

He's noticed similar systems cropping up in other schools, especially with male teachers, who are increasingly being accompanied by teacher's aides in class to protect them against unfounded allegations.

So it seems that those who work with children here (South Australia) have figured out that innocence until proven guilt no longer applies and have put in place defensive measures to protect themselves, under the guise of protecting the children. It seems to me that when even respected figures like teachers have to resort to this kind of self-protective subterfuge to survive in society that the last semblance of freedom is truly dead. Only in totalitarian police states do people have to behave like that.

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FAIL

*cough*

"as the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 makes it clear that an individual who avoids vetting in this way could be liable to a fine of £5,000 and possibly prison. " Except that the chance of that EVER being applied to one of our lords and masters is so far out the other side of remote that you couldn't see it with the fucking Hubble. I generally don't have that much time for Pullman (read his Dark Materials stuff and responded with a resounding "meh"), but on this he has my utter and fulmost support. Gubmint, you are made of fail.

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FAIL

16 million

So what you're saying is that half the adults in the country will have to be vetted over the next five years?

Seeing as these people will rarely, if ever have unsupervised access to children the risk of anything happening is extremely slight.

By far the vast majority of attacks on kids happen at home, and the perpetrators are relatives and family friends. So surely a more efficient way would be to vet everyone before the have babies, anyone marked as bad will have their genitals removed...

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Coffee/keyboard

@Greem at 11:09

I like this idea - pre-vet all would-be parents...heh heh

Makes more sense than vetting authors.

Oh, but wait - authors who are parents...tricksy

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Anonymous Coward

This kind of shit is..

..leading us down the road that every adult is becoming a potential paedo until proven otherwise. Its actually quite fightening given the revulsionin society for fiddlers (quite rightly so in many ways). A simple unsubstantiated accusasion is all that is required to destroy peoples lives. But what is the effect on children of this? WIll they see all adults as potential fiddlers? Where will it end? Will I soon need to be vetted so that I can visit my sister? She has three young daughters. Do I need to be vetted just in case Im left alone with them for a short while?

I agree that there needs to be vetting of those who spend time with children, but it has to be based on substantial evidence, not merely rumour and gossip. Back in the 1980s I was an Air Cadet. It was very important to me at the time and I cannot underestimate the positive effect it had on my life and future. I was a little wayward as a teenager (not anthing like the feral chavs we have now mind!) The ATC gave me a focus and a chance to mix with like minded kids, rather than the fucking morons i went to school with. The ATC is run by adult volunteers and ALL of the ones i dealt with where decent people. There where rumours about one instructor from another squadron we occasionally came into contact with, but just that, rumours.

Now, 18 years later would I consider being an instructor with an organisation like the ATC? Absolutely not! I would be too frightened of being labelled or accused of being a nonce by some obnoxious, vicious child or thier parents. These kids do exist, they are a lot me savvy about this shit than we where. I feel sorry if decent kids cannot enjoy the benefits of such organisations today, but with peado hysteria and self appointed 'Peadofinder Generals' I think the risks of working with kids can be too much.

I was recently at an airshow and I saw an instructor with some cadets and to my shame the first thing that popped into my head was 'Is he a potential peado?' Im sure he wasnt, im sure he was a decent guy volunteering his time to help kids enjoy themselves just like my instructors did back in the 1980s. Peado hysteria has got to the point now where im sure thats the sort of thing that would pop into most peoples heads. This shit has got to stop.

It has only been recently that I have started thinking about more carefully about this issue with regards to my work. My job often takes me into peoples homes and involves measuring every room in the house. There have been occasions where the parent will be downstairs and I have gone upstairs to take some measurements whilst the kids are playing. Its started to occur to me that I shouldnt allow this to happen. What happens if later during my business with the client things go a bit pear shaped and they want to 'attack' me in some manner, by way of revenge. All it would take is a call to the police and the peado cops will be kicking my back doors in, evidence be damned! The only problem is, how do you broach the subject with your client? Do you say 'Dont leave me alone with your child?' Im sure the first thing into their heads would be susppicion..why would this guy say that, can he not control himself, is he a threat?. A great way to start a client-business relathionship!

This kind of thing needs to be approached with a level head and thoughfulness. Not tabloid 'peados are everywhere' hysteria.

AC.. well i dont want the Paedofinder general coming after me!

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JMB

Would you leave your child alone with a cabinet minister?

Interesting comment on the press. Local reporters and photographers must often visit their local schools but also other reporters and photographers frequently congregate around the gates of schools if it is vaguely connected with something in the news. A good case could be made for all of them to also vetted.

I had heard comments from people that they have had to have a separate CRB check for each charity that they done work for so I was surprised that the authors are not required to do the same for each school visited.

How does the school check that the person has been vetted? Do they just consult a list or do they have to carry a permit around? If just a list then the paedophile would just need to adopt a similar name to someone already vetted.

The whole scheme just sounds like a money makiong operation for the Quango (and the Chancellor).

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Silver badge

Clarification

This legislation seems (as was stated in a precious quote) quite vague. Is this aimed at those who are working with children, or those who have regular contact with children (or vulnerable adults).

Let me explain in terms of an example. Say I am a member of an amateur dramatics society, which puts on a Pantomime once a year. The rehearsals go on for 3-6 months, and children are involved. Now, none of the adult members are "working" with children, but all have regular contact with them. So would all the members of the society have to be vetted? Or just the committee? Possibly only the MD/Producer etc? Where is the line drawn?

I am sure this applies to many similar situations where a group of mainly adults includes children in their activities. I see them as important to the children involved, as it teaches them how adults interact and prepares them for life. If this legislation required all members to be vetted, you would see a dramatic decline in this sort of interaction, to the detriment of the children involved.

Now I am involved with an AmDram group, and if the legislation means I have to be 'vetted' I will not be involved in these performances again. I may have nothing to hide, but I have everything to fear.

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Stop

Sense check

Rightly or wrongly I see a lot of criticism regarding this issue but very few answers. It's very easy to rip the govt apart for implementing background checks etc.

The same posters would be the first in line of an agry mob if there were in fact no checks in place and a child was harmed - shouting "Why didn't you do a background check on this felon?"

We have to do something to protect children. So the majority of crimes against children occur at home and there is a lot to be done to help kids out in that position and prevent it from happening in the first place. But why do nothing for children that are under public responsibility (such as in schools, community groups etc)?

As for the people worried about allegations, inuendo and rumour I would suggest that every background check I've come across in the UK and EU (and I've managed more than a few in my role) only deals with actual convictions. However, if a call is received from someone saying "So and so is hurting children" of course it would be investigated - what person that cares about kids wouldn't?

Background checks on people that work ad-hoc in the presence of children but whilst always supervised by another vetted adult is a little overboard. However, background checks on an adult that supervises children by themselves - even if only for 1 hour a month - is not overboard.

Finally, as for the poster that stated the wrong message is being sent to children, aka trust no one by these background checks - are you so sure about that. Maybe we should instead of paranoia and 1984 worries be sending them the message that we're doing our best to help ensure that they aren't put in needless danger.

Summary: This may be overboard, but not performing background checks on adult in supervision of children is an unacceptable risk.

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Paris Hilton

Arrogance?

Is it just some weird badge of honour Ministers have to have, in being 'above' the need for such checks? Because I can't really see the sense in any respect to them not doing it, not least because this article and probably a dozen others have discussed it. They're not (presumably) going to get bounced, the taxpayer would doubtless fork out, and I doubt they'd do anything more strenuous than sign a piece of paper. The same applied when Levy etc failed to have their DNA taken when arrested.

It seems the pitfalls of NOT doing so are bad enough in PR terms that it's hardly worth the effort. Or are they really so self-obsessed that it is that little bit of extra emphasised importance that gives them a boner in the morning?

Could it be they are all self obsessed narcissists? Never, surely?

Paris - she probably 'gets' self obsessed narcissism.

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MGJ
Grenade

It's About Dunblane

For all those going on about unproven rumours etc and why should they be used against people, that is all there was against Thomas Hamilton, yet everyone knew he was creep with a gun fetish and loved taking videos of boys in swimming trunks. The legislation in Scotland (and the English stuff now mirrors what we've had for a few years now) is designed to catch him; any watering down and it doesn't pass the 'would it have stopped TH?' test so it doesn't go forward (this sort of vetting would have stopped TH setting up and running his weird club after he got kicked out of the scouts, probably/possibly early enough that he wouldn't have gone psycho when they wouldn't let him rent halls anymore). Personally, I have an enhanced disclosure for a specific purpose; I'm never on my own with a child or a vulnerable adult but i don't pay for it and it just becomes part of the norm. The alternative is to publish the list of those who cannot work with children. That's a whole different arguement.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Who watches the watchmen?

Who watches the watchmen?

Are all the staff with write-access to this database vetted (to a much more stringent level than the school volunteers)? If not, it raises the possibility that a paedophile might be able to add himself or a likeminded pervert to the list of people who have been vetted. Which possibility alone makes this database worse than useless.

Then there's the possibility of maliciously labelling someone as a paedophile, or the possibility that you have a pervert as a namesake.

I'm with Philip Pullman on this one - it's a dagger through the heart of civil society, and more of a danger to our children than a safeguard.

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Thumb Down

Re. Sense check

So you agree that pure "suspicion" is enough to bar an adult working with a child? So I can just report my suspicions to the police and bang, end of your career? Why do we bother having a courts system in that case since being suspected is obviously guilty. No smoke without fire!!!

Next we will be dipping women in lakes to see if they are witches!

Criminal conviction tests yes but not hearsay.

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Big Brother

Criminals?

What about ex criminals who go round to schools to educate kids on the real life perils of having too much of the good stuff, or the repercussions of being the gravity that effects goods on the back of lorries?

I'm sure that Section 28 wouldn't look kindly on these people.

So kids are just gona have to do with Nancy Reagan telling them to 'Just say no!'

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Coat

*sigh*

Look....

Nu Labour, Tories or any of the drolling out of touch retards that are trying to run the country (and failing) just stop it.

We know what you want to say, waht you want to do so stop being cowards and get on an do it so we can all get on and protest about it.

Guilty until proven innocent

There you go, we know thats what you want to say really.

I'm off, although where to is another question...

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Anonymous Coward

Operation Ore - test case in progress

Newspapers from the Daily Mail to The Guardian, and PC Pro (where some of the Operation Ore fiasco details were first broken) have briefly covered the fact that there is an Operation Ore test case which is expected to get clearance for an appeal (or not) soon.

E.g. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/child-porn-inquiry-faces-legal-challenge-1729887.html

It hasn't been covered here on El Reg yet.

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FAIL

Deja vu

"Somebody must have laid false information against Josef K., for he was arrested one morning without having done anything wrong". Our hero is then tried by a hidden court and executed without ever knowing the real nature of the charges against him...

For fuck's sake, Mr Home Sec, Kafka wrote it as a warning, not a policy manual.

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Big Brother

Re: Sense check

Blitz said, "The same posters would be the first in line of an agry mob if there were in fact no checks in place and a child was harmed - shouting "Why didn't you do a background check on this felon?""

Nope. You're just assuming things there, prejudging others, jumping to conclusions.

I'm one of those posters who's posted objections to this police state vetting stuff, and I'd be among the first to shake my head in dismay at the mob who'd unthinkingly react by demanding the unreasonable. Shaking my head in dismay was exactly what I did when the unthinking mob exclaimed their outrage at how someone - Ian Huntley - who'd previously been accused of crimes had been able to get a job as a school care-taker. I could see where that sort of unthinking reactiveness could lead, and here we now are, in police state UK.

And this vetting nonsense still wouldn't have stopped Ian Huntley from murdering those two girls, even if he'd been prevented from working as a school care-taker. That's perhaps one of the most amazing things about all this vetting stuff. It shows how thoroughly lessons remain utterly unlearned.

"We have to do something to protect children."

Here's a quotation for you: "The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people." - Adolf Hitler.

The most evil, most dangerous people in the world rely on people just like you, because you're the ones they can - and do - manipulate by exploiting your fears for those "most precious treasure of the people." You're a tool of tyrants.

"We have to do something to protect children. So the majority of crimes against children occur at home and there is a lot to be done to help kids out in that position and prevent it from happening in the first place."

Then accept State-controlled CCTV in every room of every home. Without that (or something similarly privacy destroying), child abusers will still have domestic privacy within which to hide their abuse. Is that the sort of Orwellian nightmare you want to build for today's children to inherit?

"Summary: This may be overboard, but not performing background checks on adult in supervision of children is an unacceptable risk."

Parents are "adult in supervision of children". You're in favour of all prospective parents undergoing "background checks" before being allowed to have children? History has shown what such societies are like. They're truly evil. We must protect the children of today and tomorrow from such a ghastly future.

Children most need to be protected from people like you.

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Silver badge

Total Information Awareness Approach Makes Secrets Impossible and Plans Known

An author has an already captive audience with all those that are immersed in their Works and they can Lead the Audience, with Great Worldly Words, to Believe that Good Imagination Drivers their Futures.

"I think I'd rather leave a child in the care of a professional Dominatrix before I let a politician at them - at least the pro-Domme has some integrity and standards." .... By Lis 0r Posted Friday 17th July 2009 10:57 GMT .... Thanks for the Thought Exciting Memories, Lis Or :-)

Once Children and Adults know/are told what paedophilia is and how it entraps them, then those so abused as recognise themselves in the same positions, or having been abused in such similar situations, will have the Power and Control of Truth on their Side against Abusers' Lies.

And all they need do is Share what they know with those who will Care for them and Help them Grow again.

There's not a Great Deal of Professional XSSXXXXual Help out there for the XSSXXXXually Used and Abused, is there. In fact, is there any? There's certainly Plenty of Action though for the Professional Sex Worker/Erotic Entrepreneur.

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Big Brother

Vetting has downsides in any area,

not just to protect children.

My daughter was offered a job with a psychiatric care centre, who wanted her asap. It took over ten weeks to vet her. During that time she couldn't take a temporary job, since she could have been approved at any time.

What really interests me next is that morals vetting for investment bankers has recently been proposed. I can't imagine multi-millionaires standing for the same guff as minimum wage types like teachers or psycologists. (I can't imagine how vetting could work here, either.)

Many European states have their system run by the police, who are able to make a statement on a lack of a police record within a few days.

Is this another case of missing databases?

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Anonymous Coward

Good for the Goose

All MPs and government ministersshould be required to return to school to learn basic maths skills to minimise "mistakes" on expenses claims. Any refusing to the necessary vetting should step down immediately.

Seriously though, all employers have an obligation to give fair consideration to job applications from (vulnerable) disabled. Does this mean that all (recruitment) managers have to be prior vetted in order to fulfill this role? Do all employees of any firm recruiting a (vulnerable) disabled person have to be vetted? What is the legal situation if some fail vetting and therefore shouldn't be in the same workplace? Does anybody at the Palace of Westminster have a brain?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sense check

Look, if background checks worked we wouldn't have had Burgess, Philby, Maclean and a whole load of others you'll never know about.

Put simply background checks do not work. On going assessment by your peers will generally route out run of the mill undesirables who are not as clever as the afore mentioned trio and their accomplices.

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Stop

@Blitz

4 little letters - ODFO

Risks need to be managed

Risks CANNOT be eliminated totally, this country has turned into a police state where criminals and delinquents have many more rights than their victims / general public at large.

Muppets like you just give the Govt. the daft impression that people agree with their totalitarian schemes and other crap.

When I was growing up in the 80s we NEVER had this "PAEDOZ EVERYWHYEREZ" crap and on the whole most of the people of my age group are *relatively* well rounded, from then on the insanity has gotten worse and worse and worse to the point where no men want to be within a mile of kids for fear of false accusations brought by spoiled brats or their bovine mothers.

This vetting system is a total and utter load of crap and I'm sick to death of it.

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FAIL

Ed Balls Is Talking Balls

If I knew that Ed Balls was visiting the place where my little one would be in attendance then I would be there refusing him entry. I would allow him to enter if and only if I could keep him under aim of my bow and arrow. If he did or said anything inappropriate then I could perform a service to society with an Easton aluminium arrow.

All ministers and MPs should have enhanced CRB checks and these should be published for all too see. I wonder what such a scheme would reveal.

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Alert

"not performing background checks is an unacceptable risk"

I think we have two seperate issues being addressed in this thread.

One is whether CRBs should occur at all and the other is whether Ministers are exempt from rules applying to the Hoi Polloi!

CRBs are here, and whilst we, the great unwashed, are subject to them, so should MPs.

Regarding whether we have CRBs at all, that arguement is easily applicable to CCTV in every location in Britain. To have unsupervised adults at all is an "unacceptable risk..."!

The heart of the issue is to clearly delineate exactly what the risk is. Exactly what numbers of volunteers and "crimes" are supposed to be affected by having CRBs in place?

My wife this morning was alarmed to hear xx ppl had died of Swine flu to date in the UK. However, 6000 die every winter in the UK on average due to seasonal flu. Kind of puts it in context doesn't it! It was further turned on it's head because the timing and the population type being affected actually made the current Swine Flu casualty numbers quite significant compared to seasonal flu casualties.

We need more than anecodotal evidence as to what benefits CRBs bring about. Is that too much to ask? Just keep labeling things "unacceptable risk" and before you know it, the internet will be Disney.com only and all of Britains cliffs will be fenced off and we'll have CCTV everywhere...

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