back to article Criminal record checks could hit over 14 million people

If we had suggested, ten years ago, that one day soon, the government would draw up a list of prescribed occupations: that they would build a database of millions of people who would need to register for those occupations; and that a committee of Public Safety would be set up with power of absolute veto over every individual on …

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even temp paper shufflers

Even office temping - no contact with children at all - requires a CRB check if you are working in the education department..

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Very Odd Response

One of the posts said that if you saw a distressed child you wouldn't help? Why? I would if you won't follow your convictions becasue of fear whats left? It interesting reading these posts because a lot of people say we won't be able to do X or Y whats everyone scared of? It strikes me that everyones getting wound up into a frenzy of indignation over people working with kids having some background checks so what. Whats more concerning is the fear that schools/LEAs have of being sued by us the general public (so I was interested to read today about that banning of sack races and 3-legged in northumberland I think being ascribed to the PC gone mad when in fact that was almost certainly down to fear of being sued in the LEA). Anyway thats enough from me. I'll just write my letter to the solicitors.

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British caste system

When my last car had a faulty starter motor (this is about five years ago), I left it parked outside the Chinese with the engine running. I was stopped by the police and told to go to the police station to show my documents, as apparently you're not allowed to leave a car parked this way. When I got there, the policeman on the counter expressed surprise, as I was 'not the sort of person' he expected to see. I was a little confused by this, because I was still labouring under the naive belief that the police didn't explicitly descriminate against different social groups.

It seems that this descrimination has now become a government policy for social regulation. New Labour wants to create two lists - one for 'good' people and one for 'bad' people. The 'good' people will be allowed to have nice jobs, the 'bad' ones will have to do the shitty jobs that the 'good' people don't want to do. Presumably, there will be so many 'bad' people that subcategories will be created - sex offenders, criminals as teenagers, credit defaulters etc. Your access to people in your job will depend on what anti-social activity you've committed.

The next step will be to make these lists available to everyone from call centres to credit companies. Mr Smith, who was caught possessing drugs as a teenager, will be allowed to work as the office cleaner, but not as a manager. Mrs Jones will be able to borrow enough for a new car, but only at the highest rate because she once stole a CD from a shop when she was clinically depressed. Some people won't even be allowed into shopping malls, and family members of known sex offenders won't be able to buy pictures of their kid's school play.

Basically, the government wants to control society by creating a caste system like the one the Indian government has been trying to get rid of for so long. The very bottom of the pile - paedophiles, gun and knife criminals etc will be barred from pretty much all activities that are classed as non-essential to survival. Then there will be a big group of several million people who have varying amounts of social restriction as a result of being pulled up for anti-social behaviour (not necessarily convicted), then there will be the rest of us who can sneer at those beneath us and congratulate ourselves on how great we are... right up until one of our children gets caught downloading a few mp3s illegally and finds she can't get into a good University despite being a Grade A pupil who spends her spare time doing charity work.

The long-term result will be a highly divided and constantly suspicious society where parents check the criminal records of their daughter's would-be husband and where many people are unable to get jobs simply because they would spoil potential employer's claim of 100% CBR checked staff. When you look at a road sweeper you won't be thinking 'he's uneducated', you'll be thinking 'he's a convicted criminal'. Then will come the slums, the sink schools, generational poverty, widespread racial discrimination... and then the riots and the social chaos and police with guns beating young black men to death because they were carrying a knife and came up as a false positive on their list of 'bad' people.

Brown wants us all to be proud of our Britishness. Well, he can f*ck right off, because I see nothing to be proud of.

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Anonymous Coward

It's not all bad - there's One Good Point....

Seems that at every election & by-election Politicians revel in the photo-opportunity of picking up babies or having school kids sit on their lap.

Now, they'll get prosecuted for doing it without a CRB certificate, or, stop the sickening activity.

Either way, a Win-Win situation for Joe Public.

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Anonymous Coward

Depression

Reading the reg depress me at time. Warning to rest of Europe dont let them turn your country into a giant penal colony.

Yes I know America is screwed up to, but this yank is begging to think she failed Geography . I thought Australia was the British penal colony I guess I was wrong.

Oh by the way on this side of the pond males are now so scared of being accused of touch a girl inappropriately its hard to find a male that is willing to be a teacher in any thing under college .Oh and don't be gay and teach elementary school Sounds like you Brits are headed that way

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Final estimate...

...will be about 67 million people.

This will be followed by the incorporation of all voluntary organisations, youth work schemes and schools into a single government regulated body; anyone refusing to join will be imprisoned as a danger to the community as a potential paedophilic terrorist. May I suggest calling it the Brown Shirts? Such a snappy name it's hard to see why they haven't used it already.

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RW

Allegations, anyone?

"Allo, Ossifer Plod-snoop? I 'ave this neighbor, name of Gordon Brown, who I think is a kiddy diddler. And I'm sure he runs a kiddy porn ring with a gal named Jacqui Smith. Better put this in the criminal records, you never know what such people might do if given the opportunity."

It might be esp. amusing to send in allegations of assorted misconduct for every Labour MP and watch the resultant sideshow.

Too bad the system isn't something like having an intelligence check before being allowed to stand for office!

How did NuLab end up with so many idiots in positions of authority?

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Anonymous Coward

Trivial cases

I have been required to have a CRB check for volunteering (through my employer) to help out for one day per year at a local high school (13-16 yr olds). Although theoretically I have a free run of the school on that day, in practice I am essentially required to help out in a classroom already supervised by one or more teachers. In brief excursions when I'm out of the classroom, I am extremely unlikely to be with less than 5 students at a time - and other teachers/supervisors are never far away. Besides which, I'd have thought children of that age were pretty streetwise anyway.

It seems particularly bizarre that they do the CRB paperwork on the day of the visit, so any unfavourable result wouldn't show up until a week or two after the event anyway. Daft.

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Black Helicopters

Harry Tuttle

How long before they start handing out bills for "Information Retrieval"?

I wonder when the shooting revolution will begin?

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Alert

RE: British caste system

"Brown wants us all to be proud of our Britishness. Well, he can f*ck right off, because I see nothing to be proud of."

You summed it up nicely there. Pure gold.

BTW I quit the UK just in time to watch this police state develop from afar.

My advice: Come to Spain. Here the govt. seems to mind it's own f*cking business, and it works just nicely.

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CRB checks: slow, expensive, unfair & pointless.

My staff need to have CRB & PoVA checks before I can employ them. Recently, CRB checks have taken many months (over 8 months in one case) to be processed. Few employees are willing (or can afford) to hang around for months before they are allowed start their new job. If staffing levels become low, then a PoVA check can be done in lieu of the CRB and this only takes a matter of days, but the newly recruited person needs to be "supervised at all times" until the full CRB arrives. If I could spare a person to supervise another at all times, then my staffing levels would not be low!

CRB checks are not transferrable and so even if someone was employed in exactly the same capacity at another nearby premisses, he or she cannot work at mine unless a new check is done. Agencies seem to be able to get "magical" CRB checks that allow their staff to work anywhere.

If a CRB check returns some criminal history but the person does not feature on the PoVA list, then it is solely up to the employer to decide whether past crimes are significant to the role. So I can discriminate against "weed smokers" but decide that arsonists, burglars, thugs and drink-drivers have been given a bad press. The authorities do not indicate whether they think a is employable in the role described.

CRB checks do not expire. The "recommendation" is to renew them every 3 years. The renewal process is the same pathetic rigmarole as getting a new one. There is no way to refer to a previous CRB certificate and ask "Has this person committed any offences since you last checked?" If a person commits a crime after a CRB check has been done, this is not communicated to the employer until the next check is done.

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Who will pay ?

Congratulations for the latest government wheeze.

They are about to succesfully create a permanently unemployable group in society that will have to be paid to not work, via social security payments.

This government should give lessons in self mutiation, it is without peers in this domain now.

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Great.

I work at a school, have so for years, and last year got arrested for being too drunk and shouting at a bouncer who pushed me into a road..

Not my most proud moment. And I take responsibility for being a dumb ass, and haven't gotten drunk since.

I got an £80 fine and my DNA taken.. Which made me mad enough.

Now I have the fear of getting tossed out of my job because I got a little too drunk.

Thanks government. If you get me fired, I'm moving out of this country. I've had enough of your bullshit and your taxes.

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Anonymous Coward

Viva Espana

"Spain. Here the govt. seems to mind it's own f*cking business, and it works just nicely."

Except when it uses trumped up planning laws to drive unwelcome interlopers off land fairly bought... Local authorities are absolutely riddled with corruption, and the Government are a buch of cowards.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Viva Espana

>Local authorities are absolutely riddled with corruption, and the Government are a buch of cowards.

So it's just like the UK then but with sun.

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Unhappy

Madness

This CRB rot has created a whole market in CRB checks, wasting a vast amount of resource and money. Every time I turn around someone wants another CRB check and the form gets more onerous each time. I'm checked because I'm a retained fire-fighter, I'm checked again because I'm a football coach.

I helped out one evening at my son's cricket training and as I left the field someone came running at me with a CRB form. Surely one check is enough, but oh no, it’s a check for each organisation in which I could potentially be accused of fiddling with children.

I wonder what happens one day if I fail the check – would I have to give back all of my 5 children?

Not only do they want my bank details and the name of someone who can vouch for me but they also want me to allow them to use the information for all and sundry to identify me – with no option for me to opt out of this little clause.

It simply does not work, it's madness - please can someone make it stop!

As far as I’m aware it's about £21 for a basic check and £31 for an "enhanced" one. Utter waste. We have created a monster uglier and more dangerous than Huntley.

It is useful for the police though - it provides them with another line of enquiry if they are looking for someone.

By the way I have also run someone over on my bicycle; I was cycling very fast on the road in a town called Lahore in Pakistan. The guy eventually came round and someone in the growing crowd suggested that I leave the area quickly lest the victim's family showed up and beat the cr*p out of me - that sort of thing tends to happen there. I limped off on my broken bike carrying the pieces of my broken spectacles in my hand. It was an accident, pure and simple he stepped out I swerved to avoid him and would have done so if he hadn't seen me and reacted and stepped back into my path.

Difficult to comment on an individual incident without first hand experience but I find it difficult to comprehend that someone would be prosecuted simply for cycling along a road at the speed limit and running someone down accidentally, as long as all possible avoidance measures had been taken. Maybe he was cycling recklessly?

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Remember yesterday?

A couple of hundred Brits came out of the woodwork to damn us yankees for giving away guns at church. Today, you're all crying because your government is trying to get another manacle on you. Its pretty clear that your government isn't afraid of you. They own you and you'll wear whatever dog collar they care to put on you.

Not to say that it couldn't happen here in the USA but we're notably fractious about this kind of thing. We're all skidding leftward toward the tyranny of "those who care" but you are leading by a mile.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Remember yesterday?

Um, I'm not sure the best way to ensure your government fears you (respect would do nicely for me, thanks, in an ideal world) is to swagger around with a rifle. It seems kind of, I dunno, primitive? Maybe it's just me.

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Coat

Well, that's the problem

There ya go getting all weasely. Why should they respect you? And you aren't making any plans to bring about your "ideal world." You are just waiting to absorb what comes next. Seems all very passive to me.

Primitive? I'll tell you what is primitive. That is being dominated by whatever individual or group of physically strong, aggressive males happen to be around. To us over here if you whacked an offender with one of your legendary cricket bats it seems assured that it would be you getting hauled off in chains rather than the other guy. Your government seems to not miss an opportunity to harshly punish citizenry who defend themselves a little too successfully. Over here we call them public service killings. With a little luck you can get ammo for life!

Applying the 'primitive' label to the principles of self-reliance indicates to me your unwillingness to accept ultimate responsibility for your own personal well-being in extremis. Not saying we don't need government and police but that they can't be expected to protect you in all circumstances.

Your government is preparing to develop a set of records on each individual that East Germany would have thought was excessive. You are entering an age where your every move will be tracked and recorded. I find the whole thing pretty frightening. There are those in my country who will find it to be a good idea after you pilot it.

The only point I am trying to make is that I believe there is a connection between an armed and suspicious citizenry and inoffensive government. The system works best in tension. Your government no longer feels in any way constrained by your wishes.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Well, that's the problem

I accept no pompous lecture from a man who suggests that not being a gun-waving constitution-misinterpreting blowhard is "weasely".

And yeah, I find the ID stuff pretty scary, but I'll resist it without resorting to - I don't know, are you suggesting some kind of McVey-esque direct action, or what?

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Re: Remember yesterday?

You crazy Septics bang on and on about us Brits and the way we believe the right **not to get shot** trumps any supposed right to bear arms, and you always justify it by bleating the same old pathetic excuse that you need to be allowed to have guns just in case you ever have to bring down an oppressive Government.

So why haven't you?

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(Written by Reg staff)

@AJ Stiles

It's a good point. But still let's not resort to the usual xeno-insults.

'Limey' isn't too stinging, though, is it? Not unless you get it in your eyes.

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No difference

Lets get a little perspective on all this. If an Amercian blows the brains out of a someone he suspects to be a criminal on his property then that American will be arrested. I doubt even American police are so dumb as to take the word of a hyped up gun weilding maniac at a crime scene until the full facts are known. Given the circumstances of the situation the God is my witness gun weilding yank might even get is own brains a public viewing courtesy of the police if they conclude that he is the perpetrator. Now this is no different than in the UK but without the guns. The defender will be arrested until such a time that the full facts are known. If excessive force has been used then the defender will be prosecuted. If you yanks can't get your tiny little brains round this concept then think of Rodney King. It took a while and a mass riot but eventually you saw that the police officers used excessive force in the apprehension of a suspect, or maybe suspected suspect.

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Joke

And then you can multiply it by ten...

I've heard nothing in all this about the multiple CRB checks required for each individual. My wife is up to about 5 current ones so far (3 as a supply teacher in 3 different authorities, one to volunteer in prisons, one to host children - with their mothers! - from Belarus) and has a couple more to come (1 of which is for 'being a student' on an MA she is about to start). I've only needed about three so far for various voluntary activities so I've got off quite lightly. Interestingly one of the approved documents when applying for a CRB check is a CRB check!*?

The really crazy thing is that as far as I can see I could get convicted tomorrow and no-one would know. So here's my suggestion to save several million quid:

* When you need your first check with the CRB you get a reference number.

* When one of the numerous organisations entitled to know about you does a check they 'register an interest' on your number.

* If you get convicted all interest parties get told.

Simple - you only need one check, they don't have to be renewed and interested parties find out immedately if there is a problem.

Perhaps I'll set up as a fancy consultant and pocket 10% of the savings... (though I suppose it would be less of a money-spinner for the CRB).

Joke alert since it describes the current system.

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No2CRB

Only trouble is, that if you were to set up a "No2CRB" your house would be marched on by vigilante stick-wielding red-top tabloid readers, chanting "if you've nothing to hide ..."

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Stop

Cross refrencing has already happened

I read in some paper based media effort that a woman somewhere applied for a job as a dinner lady (could be something else) and that she had the same name as a local crim scumbag who had 19 convictions or so for various nefarious actvitiies, including drugs and violence.

The whole process has taken about 4 months to get cleared up. Multiply all criminal "John Smiths" (no wonder he's bitter) with law abiding ones living next door to each other, monkeys doing the typing and you have a recipe for disaster.

I did some voluntary work with senior citizens/homeless persons a bit ago; if I were still doing so, I'd require 2 CRB checks, possibly 3 as I did some web admin as well. I did the voluntary work because I could and because I wanted to. This will absolutely kill any goodwill built up over a period of years and as mentioned in the article, destroy any trust.

@TLA's: some PGP would be good, but then its Proper Gormless Prats doing the legislation, spreading fear and paranoia, creating more problems rather than solving current ones.

Stop, because I want it to, but it won't :( BTW CRB checks cost £30.

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Linux

It only needs one case ...

One day a 90 year-old man (it is only men isn't it?) who committed a minor sexual offence 70 years before will make an improper remark to a Meals-on-Wheels woman. Result: anyone receiving voluntary help will need to register to protect the volunteers - then we're all caught.

Anyone remember the 80's (?) cartoon series "Wait till your father gets home", where the 40 year old father gets arrested for hanging around with 15 year-old girls - 25 years before.

Linux penguin because nobody's blamed this on Microsoft yet.

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Black Helicopters

You shall be guilty until proven innocent..well maybe less guilty...ish

I'm also glad I left blighty behind for Ireland! I couldn't imagine this kind of thing getting off the ground here, what the heff is going on back there? It'll be black-clad cops in motorcycle helmets soon!

"everyone is guilty of something, you just have to beat it out of them"

that's what's coming next, you mark my words....

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@Donald Freeman

We don't need guns. With enough people caring enough, we can walk over and kill any police or army arrayed against us. NOTE: Even tanks unsupported are very vulnerable against infantry.

Heck, we could just get a million together, walk up to #1 or the houses of parliament (during work hours), grab the government bodily and chuck them out. Couldn't be stopped.

We wouldn't have to be much more motivated than we would to have a million people decide to use their guns on the government. And being unarmed is a better defence against the armed forces arrayed than any amount of legal ammunition.

The armed US populace will only work if they undertake assassination techniques against the government.

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@ Mark

Thank you.

Once upon a time, the scenario that you describe would not even have been terribly hard to conceive. I am old enough to remember the Miners' Strike, the Poll Tax riots and the Criminal Justice Bill demonstrations. Those were the days when if you cut any one of us, we would all bleed.

Sometime since then, some sort of rot has set in. We've turned into passive accepting sheep who bend over and take whatever the Government thrust up us. When exactly did it happen?

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Anonymous Coward

Article makes interesting reading

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article4347220.ece

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Paris Hilton

If you've got nothing to hide

@Nano nano: my response to those who say "if you've got nothing to hide you've nothing to fear" is "if you've got nothing to hide, why are you wearing clothes? Strip. Now."

Paris, cos she's obviously got nothing to hide.

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