back to article Think tank slams paedophile paranoia culture

An independent think tank has today blamed the government's increasing reliance on "anti-paedophile" criminal record checks for making UK adults scared to have any contact with other people's children. Civitas' report Licensed to Hug claims the checks have driven suspiscion of all adults, which has led in turn to a breakdown …

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  1. James Geldart
    Unhappy

    Tabloids and New Labour

    Very sad... and brought about by a combination of tabloid scaremongering and a government hell-bent on regulating every area of our lives

  2. Ash
    Joke

    I'm not scared...

    ... and I work in a Secondary School, sub-contracted to a Primary.

    Then again, i'm not middle aged, slightly balding, have my eyes too close together, or wear a trench coat in public parks.

    Nor do I have puppies in my van.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Suffer, little childDren

    If wwWe Continue this Course to IT's Logical Conclusion, the NeXXXt GeneRATion of Children are Going to Grow Up with a dDistinctly Skewed Concept of Love, Affection and Friendship. The Logical NeXXXt Stage is a Population who are, on AveRAGE, Emotionally RetardDedD, Psychologically dDamaged and Completely Incapable of Forming a Reliable wwWorld View. This must Result in an Increase of "UnsuITable" Interactions between all Humans (Men/ wwWomen, Boys/ Girls, AdDults/ Children, etc) and thus Perpetuate the dDamaging StupidDity of the Law as IT StandDs.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    PC gone mad

    I was cautioned by the police when I took a photo on my cameraphone of a local tearaway in the act of scrawling graffitti all over my car and neighbours cars,

    Within 10 minutes I had the boys father smashing down my door calling me and my partner Paedophiles, and when i explained that it was evidence to report crime to the police he started threatening to do more than report us. Luckily my partner had managed to call the police who turned up and ordered the evidence deleted off the phone, when i asked about the damage to the cars, they then said " there is no evidence he did it so we can't do anything" They had just deleted the evidence. Talk about PC gone mad

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't it be funny if...

    Supposing, just for a moment, you believed that the present government has an undeclared strategy of destroying all ties and support systems that stand between citizens and the government. Then you might well believe that the facts given in this article show that strategy is well on the way to success. No one must dare to have any relationship with anyone else, unless the government's permission has been obtained and both parties have been exhaustively vetted and placed on The Database.

    Of course, only a paranoid nutcase (moreover, one who wanted to figure prominently on government hit lists) would entertain such a ridiculous belief.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    cracking article, that furedi bloke is spot on

    Top marks, shame the govt won't listen as usual and won't curtail plans.

    I keep thinking of the new rules in schools, where a teacher can't clean up sick, so said poor child has to wait for a female staff member to change into bio hazard outfit to come and clean them up.

    female because male teachers are automactically kiddie fiddlers and specially trained because sick is a bio hazard which H&S requires special training.

    Said poor child is left traumatised with all the other kids laughing (coz that is what kids do) for twenty minutes at least.

    What a sane and caring nation we live in.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Define "unsuitable"

    MY partner had an allegation from a junior social worker that was proven malicious rumour in the RCJ in London, yet she cannot get work as a classroom assistant anymore due to this "allegation" being on her CRB check.......10 years of child related work down the drain...and yes, we have 5 children ourselves. children have more power than a mafia don nowdays, then Brown and Blears wonder why under 16's are out of control? I have been warned by the school that i will be reported for shouting at my child across the playground not to run out of the school gate (on to highbury corner) as it's "not appropriate to raise my voice at a young person" better that than my 6 year old being dead from some trendy people carrier vegitarian idiot. PC gone mad

  8. /\/\j17
    Stop

    Oi, stop the selective editing, Reg!

    The phrase "More frequent contact and openness between adults and kids would benefit everyone, he concludes." isn't quite the same as the reports "If we could encourage greater openness and more frequent contact between the generations, we would all benefit." and is either treating the Reg. readership as idiots (who need to be told 'generations' == 'adults and kids') or is much more open to missinterpretation and inuendo.

    Personally I don't much like either option - leave dumming down to Sky News and the BBC.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    If it saves just one child's life...

    ...then it's worth it....

    ...allegedly...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vast majority

    The vast majority of child abuse is at the hands of relatives. One can only speculate what legislation the government plans next.

  11. Ch3w84cc4

    About time there was a back lash.

    I originally trained to be a infant school teacher and I was disgusted by some of the insinuation about a male wanting to be an infant school teacher. Despite the fact that in inner city schools there are few positive male role models.

    I ended up leaving the profession (that not being the only factor I should mention!)

    Papers like the Daily Mail and NOTW are some of the worse offenders in this. Some people are actually genuinely nice and shouldn't be looked on with suspicion.

    However we should be vigilant and protect our children from those elements in society but we should take a measured approach.

    Unfortunately there are large swathes of people that believe everything they read and watch and these are the people that are most dangerous.

    Making sweeping statements about very complex issues.

    Anyway thats my rant for the day!

  12. Chris Collins

    wo tier system

    Maybe the should implement a two tier system where you can work with the fat ugly kids without a check but you need supervision with the hot ones.

  13. Robert Sneddon

    My...

    The Anonymous Cowards are out in force today. Three posts in 6 minutes -- how the fingers must be flying! (Or, as is more likely, it's a series of cut-and-paste canned rants).

  14. Peter Darby
    Stop

    PC Gornmad, the famous village bobby...

    Err, in what way shape or form is this about "political correctness"? Isn't PC to do with apocryphal stories about Chalkboards and "baa baa white sheep"?

    Surely this is closer to Helf-Anne-Safti Gornmad, the PC's delightful wife?

    I tell you, it's not a million miles from what Hitler was trying to do.

  15. b

    Robert Sneddon

    is a cock.

  16. Gilbert Wham

    AC.s

    Not everyone can be arsed to make up an account to comment. It takes time to come up with a nomme de guerre like 'gilbert wham', or the highly unlikely 'robert sneddon'...

  17. Greg

    @AC

    My own father was similarly accused, though of violence towards a youngster. Even after it was proved to be BS the mother still wanted him suspended from teaching! Fortunately the union took up his case and demanded the allegation be removed from his record, which it has been. Perhaps your friend could do the same?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward

    Re: Cameraphone evidence - It shouldn't have been deleted and the police would have been forced to arrest you (if they dared to). Then you could sue the police for wrongful arrest and the father for false accusations plus you would still have evidence for a criminal damage conviction.

  19. Mark
    Stop

    Not so 'New Labour'...

    Occurs to me that this (and the numerous other examples of intellectual diarrhea coming out of government these days) smacks of more like a leftist soviet-style 'grand design' philosophy (or orwellian nightmare, at least this isn't dressed up as 'good for you' though!), than mere 'poorly thought out good intentions'.

    'We know better than you, so trust us to do what's best for you comrade!'

    It's very clever, but very scary if you think about it (i'm not usually a paranoid, but i'm starting to think i should be!!). Surely this is 'social engineering', in that the end-game from this and similar initiatives will be a society that no longer trusts each other, only interacting with persons on various issues with those deemed 'fit' by various govement departments.

    Add to this a government with a database of everyone in the UK, along with details of everything they have ever done, are interested in, who they interact with, where they go and genetic makeup (plus all the other myriad non-commerical, commercial and other information).

    I'm off to live in the jungle somewhere me thinks!!!

  20. Gordon Pryra

    Burn Frank Furedi!

    He is obviously a paedo!!

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tom Welsh

    I think you're giving goverments to much credit there. They're not able to think up a master plan. It's more a case of solely profit oriented media and modern democracy being a popularity contest. The media make money from the paedo scare and the politians think they get re-elected when they look like doing something against what the media have picked as the most pressing problem of our time (this week, who knows what it'll be next week ...). The decline in common sense and civil rights is just collateral damage.

  23. Edward Rose

    Guilty until proven innocent?

    Guilty UNLESS proven innocent.

    Innocent UNTIL proven guilty.

    .Take more care please el'reg.

    I have nout against the CRB checks (face it they check for the people who don't get caught), but anything further is ridiculous.

    And this 'You mustn't call children children' culture is driving me mad. They are NOT young adults. They are children, it defines an age, not a level of personality.

    Baa, baa black sheep have you any wool?

    No it was shaved off in case any of the children in the village suffered from bloody wool allergies.

    Who do I introduce to my friend the baseball bat? The media, or the pathetic creatures who can do nothing but mimic it.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    "If you tolerate this...

    ...Then your children will be next."

    Manic Street Preachers, from the album "This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours".

    Of course, since it is your Government enforcing and encouraging this sh-1-t, you *have to* tolerate it and unfortunately your children *are* next...

    Flames, cos as a responsible, sane adult I'm obviously destined for that place where they send kiddy fiddlers and people who talk in the theater.

  25. b
    Flame

    By the power invested in me by prurient wishful thinking

    I pronounce All Of You to be Paedophiles.

  26. Paul

    @ Robert Sneddon

    I think Cut and paste Bullshit..

    Im sorry, but "The police told me to wipe the pictures of a crime off my phone" What utter rubbish. Have you seen the BBC HYS? I think you might like it better there.

  27. Eponymous Cowherd

    Re:If it saves just one child's life...

    Unfortunately it has resulted in one child's death.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/coventry_warwickshire/4837614.stm

    ***"During the three-day hearing at Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall, the court heard how a bricklayer had passed a toddler, believed to be Abigail, walking alone near the nursery.

    But he did not stop to help in case he was suspected of abducting her. "***

    Personally I believe putting his own 'safety' before that of a child is rather reprehensible, but it *does* illustrate the way the current pervophobia is making some people think.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    that think tank is spot on imo

    im glad people are really starting to stick the boot into this bullshit 'government' - though i doubt any future governments will do anything about such laws and instead just leave them alone and legislate over them with yet more layers of shit. for a socialist goverment theyre really doing wonders for society arent they.

    fuck the government - im emmigrating.

  29. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: "If you tolerate this...

    Gee, thanks for that earworm. From the band's magnificent, epic beige phase.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Robert Sneddon

    Of course the ACs are out in force, in today's regime commenting on child protection issues is evidence that you might be a peado who needs locking up for 42 days to find out.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    bunch or dirty pervs

    Naked flying cupid cherubs illustration will be banned for valentines next year, be quick and get your card NOW. Alternatively you should hand yourself in to your nearest police station and inform them you have been able to buy pornographic material from the local charity card shop.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's right

    The guy makes some fair comments.

    After a few years away from the UK I have to ask what kind of twisted and sick country is it turning into.

    Where I live now kids are allowed to be kids and you're expected to kiss your friends children. It all seems a lot healthier, we don't get nearly as much yoof crime.

    It's not that kids aren't abused here, it's just that it's kept in proportion so that the vast majority can enjoy healthy relationships with children.

  33. Chika
    Go

    @Ash

    "Nor do I have puppies in my van."

    So you admit that you have a van, then? ;)

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought

    it was "If you tolerate this, your children will shop at next"

    anyway this is stupid stuff and its not really anything new. I know several local cricket coaches who stopped doing it because they refused to be vetted for something they had done for 20 years

  35. Jeff Rowse Bronze badge
    Black Helicopters

    @Robert Sneddon

    Since many of the comments on here are somewhat anti-Government, I would say there are a large number of people posting as "AC" in the mistaken belief that it keeps them safe from being tracked down should Big Brother decide that they have been a little too free with their 'speech'.

    I have used AC on occasion as it saves hassles at work, from family and friends and means that it ain't so easy for anyone I "offend" to track me down (the Government already knows where I live so I know it's no protection if they decide I'm a threat to Notional Security...).

    Black helicopter - just because I'm acting paranoid does not mean nobody is watching me...

  36. Scott
    Coat

    Exempt

    Will people of the cloth ie: vicars (not sure what other religious figure you could add as i believe in 42)? be run through this check or just us working class terrorists?

  37. Writebaby
    Paris Hilton

    It's the bureaucracy

    I think the problem with applying for a job to work with kids, or e.g. starting a sports club such as a martial arts club (which I have done in the past) is the amount of bureaucracy and the cost involved, not the belief that anyone is under suspicion. You have to get at least two adults through CRB. It takes a lot of time and money and there are a lot of other complex rules to follow, enought to put anyone off.

    I am not sure how much bureaucracy is needed. Common sense combined with a willingness to confront any suspicious action or even suspicious traits is sufficient. For example, it was well known to all the adults in my local town that one of the school teachers was on some level a kiddy fiddler, but no one actually went down the line of confronting him until about 20 years after I left the school. However, everyone warned the children not to be alone with him at any time. I think this was wrongful inaction to some extent (the warnings were not specific enough e.g) , but otoh no amount of bureaucracy would have sorted the problem as no criminal record or specific allegations existed.

    Informal interactions with kids are possibly a more difficult area but it's quite easy to signal a 'harmless' intention by simply making good use of personal body space i.e. interact with a child at a suitable distance .eg. about 5 foot to indicate lack of suspicious intention.

    NOte, self defence tip, 5 - 8 foot is a good distance to interact with anyone to avoid conflict and help de-escalate the situation - should, for example, someone decide to confront you over an interaction with a child. It takes you out of immediate strike range, including knives, gives you room for any escape manouvres and also actually works to calm the person down because you are not perceived to be 'in their face'. It also helps telegraph any intention to attack i.e. at 5-8 ft the person has to make a strong deliberate effort to reach you which gives you time to respond. Also don't try logic in these situations, the person is emotionally high and needs to come down before they will listen to reason. Just ask them repeatedly (using different phrases) if they are calm, or ready to talk and meanwhile maintain the distance. If it's not working, run and put as many obstacles between you and them as possible.

    Liked the camera one. Technically, the police officer also destroyed the evidence that you were 'wrongfully' using surveillance techniques to gather evidence. otoh maybe he or she thought that discretion was the better part of valour and that you were going to get your @$$ kicked if you insisted on pursuing the case - which would mean even more forms to fill out! I know I'd chicken out of that one for that reason. Why didn't you just shout or swear (from a suitable distance) at the kids, hopefully causing them to run and minimizing the damage? by taking a picture you were clearly signalling you were going to call the police and just inviting further hostility. Paris, because even she isn't as thick as you are.

  38. Cameron Colley

    @Eponymous Cowherd

    I don't think the guy did anything wrong -- giving your life (or thereabouts) on the off-chance that you might save another is a pretty big ask. I know I'd not help a distressed child if I saw one -- I don't want to live in a hostel, unemployable and in fear, because someone else can't look after their child.

  39. Gerry
    Unhappy

    @Anonymous Coward

    If it saves just one child's life...?

    Works the other way too.

    There was a sad case recently (I no longer have the source of the story in the media) where a child drowned even though there was an adult in the vicinity who was too afraid to go to the child's aid, fearing accusations of paedophilia.

    And if children choose to bully you in public then you just put up with it, otherwise you get banged up by the police if you try to defend yourself, just to be on the safe side.

    Sick society.

  40. Mike Taylor

    I'm involved in the child care industry

    CRB checks are our only way of knowing if our employees and volunteers have an unsuitable past. It is precisely because paedophiles can't be identified by using stereotypes that we need that clearance.

    I have never met anyone who wouldn't help a lost child "for fear of being branded a paedo", but I've met a lot of people who think this is a common fear.

    Two years ago, there was a story that our CRB checked staff weren't allowed to apply sun protection to our children. I researched it: there is no such rule - in fact, if we didn't and our charges got burnt and hurt as a consequence, then we would have failed in our duty.

    Please people, think and check. Even professors who write reports have 'positions' and track-records that might, perhaps, indicate a not-entirely objective viewpoint.

    http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/comment/story/0,,1103025,00.html

    (Regarding vomit, it is a bio-hazard. Very silly comment. Obviously handling bio-hazards should involve training and some protection.)

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not true

    "The vast majority of child abuse is at the hands of relatives"

    No, the vast majority of child abuse is at the hands of non-relatives living in the same household ... or "wicked step-parents" as they were once called.

  42. fred
    Pirate

    Check out the site

    Re: titled Suffer, little childDren

    By Anonymous Coward

    Posted Thursday 26th June 2008 11:03 GMT

    I hoped the capitalised letters would produce a hidden code but all it in its taggeled form is:

    WCCITLCNXXXGRATCGGUDSCLAFTLNXXXSPARAGEERDDPDCIFRWVTRIUITIHMWBGADCPDSDLITD, which I won't pronounce because it might sound rude.

  43. Michael
    Coat

    @About time there was a back lash

    ........can we cross referrence this with a "free tasers for the over-60's" article???

    The daily mail would love it.

    Mine's the grey mac with the bus pass and the lead acid batteries in the pocket.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Paraoia Country

    I recently moved “Darn Sarf” from "OOP North" and yesterday went to the local post office during my lunch break. After posting my mail I bought a paper and sat in the park on a park bench, started to read the paper and have my smoke (bad enough in itself, causing untold damage to the people walking by, they were only about 20 yards away) I hadn’t noticed that said bench was located in a park outside a school!

    15 minutes I was there for reading my newspaper, enjoying the southern sunshine before I was asked by the PCSO "good afternoon sir, can I ask what you are doing? some of the mothers are worried"

    Now I didn’t have a dirty mac on, wasn’t even taking any notice of the people around me and I WAS reading the Daily mail (so the PCSO should have known that I was really keeping a look out for any signs of impending paedophilia / terrorism / house price crashes etc) but I was asked to move on (from a public bench in a public park) because my "activities" (reading the paper and having a smoke) were causing worries for the parents of the children at the school!

    Anonymous for obvious reasons, they're watching me you know.....

  45. Elmer Phud
    Flame

    It's not PC gone mad after all.

    Those who would bleat about it all being the fault of P.C. are playing double-standards again. They are the very people who say "Something must be done about (choose your own favourite tabloid bullshit scandal)" They are the ones who stir up the manhunts for suspected pedophiles and kill innocent people. They are the ones responsible for labelling anyone with a hoodie or wearing Burberry as a menace to society. Yet they are the same hypocrites who complain about a lack of civil liberties.

    Middle England/America has never existed, it's a myth for those who want to feel superior to others, who need to find a social class they can blame for everything and then are astounded when it ends up being applied to them.

  46. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Paraoia Country

    I think that sort of thing isn't so much a product of modern paranoia as old-school village paranoia. That whole "he's not from round here, he looks shifty" mentality. Also, given my experience of both 'ends' of the country, I'd say it's a lot more likely to happen up north where everyone thinks everyone's business is their business.

  47. hugo tyson
    Pirate

    it's all true

    As a white 40-something male, I must say I have thought about this regarding things I see on my walk to work, involving kids being daft, and my decision is that no way will I ever physically help a child. One real example, some young children on bikes with stabilizers were crossing at a pelican crossing, and they did all the right things, apart from one falling off half way across. The light went green again. Of course I helped by standing in the road to make sure no idiot driver/cyclist/motorcycle overtook the stationary vehicles, until the child got itself up, and back on the bike; another passer-by picked up the bike; but no way would I touch the child to help it back to its feet, 100% due to the wild accusations that can result, and the police's possible response.

    I expect I'd make an exception for an actual open wound with arterial spurting, I think in that case you'd have a good defence. But I await the inevitable test case (or trial by meedja) of someone who called 999 but didn't otherwise help in an accident involving childruuun....

  48. Magnus Egilsson
    Stop

    Heil Orwell

    Expert opinion can be hazardous to your health.

  49. TrishaD

    Hang On....

    Is anybody suggesting that people with criminal records associated with child abuse SHOULD be allowed to work with children? Should convicted fraudsters be allowed to work in the finance industry?

    Obviously not. Civitas have the cart before the horse.Checking of criminal records is a perfectly legitimate procedure where the criminal record in question has direct bearing on the job applied for.

    The atmosphere of suspicion is very real and causes concern, but its NOT the result of proper vetting which is entirely appropriate but the result of media hysteria and lack of common sense within institutions.

    And while I'm no fan of Mr Brown and his gang, its worth pointing out that Civitas is a right wing think tank with a vested interest in slagging off Labour governments.....

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Elmer Phud

    Do you judge people on their appearances or how they behave towards you and others? I choose the latter. I don't rush off on some braindead manhunt because a newspaper says it might be a good idea. I consider the FACTS and make a decision accordingly.

    This government has, with the mass media, increased the amount of fear and paranoia going around. FACT.

    This government has sought to interfere in areas of peoples' private lives to which they (IMO) have no right. FACT.

    I'll quote a former DCI and cricket club member: "It's got to the point where you've got to have a f**king CRB check just to make the tea!" What started as a sensible idea has been expanded to cover anything which might involve children and is a system which can take an obscene amount of time to complete its task. I speak from experience.

    The biggest menaces to society are idiot governments seeking to impose their agendas on people and retard media who follow and seek to dictate these agendas.

    Those who either just don't give a s**t about that and potter along doing nothing about it until they find themselves affected or those who think "F**k it" and embark on criminal acts are just as bad.

    RIP common sense.

  51. Nick Askew
    Coat

    Suddenly it dawns on me!

    About two weeks ago I was pushing my bike through the bike shed when our daughter ran off in the direction of the exit where she could see her mother waiting for us. She ran down a ramp and fell over, a complete stranger picked her up and set her on her feet making sure she was OK.

    Until reading this article it did not occur to me that this person was probably a pervert who clearly must have had another reason to help our child. Luckily I can now top up my paranoia and keep our child really safe but not allowing her out of our site. But what kind of terrible parent does this make me that I could not immediately recognise this danger? I think I may have even thanked him for helping!!

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It makes perfect sense...

    ...that several nations are employing this kind of tactic (exagerated p3d0 threat and the "solutions"). It's a good way of increasing the government's strangle-hold of their people. The present-an-enemy-so-fearsome-that-the-people-would-be-helpless-w/o-the-government is in full swing. Now, this p3d0 affair would isolate each person/family from one another, making it easier to control them. Divide and conquer anyone?

  53. Robin
    Unhappy

    Not worth it

    I live in an upscale neighbourhood in Canada. Lots of kids and my g/f and I are friends with most of the parents and we know most of the kids by name.

    The children are, for the most part, pretty well behaved. You don't have a lot to worry about any of them. That said, being a 40 year old (single) man, I make damned sure I never find myself alone with any of them. It's just not worth the risk.

  54. Mark

    Re: Hang On....

    If you had to ask, the answer is probably "no".

    A little tip there to Save Our Straw.

  55. W
    Heart

    @ Sarah Bee

    "given my experience of both 'ends' of the country, I'd say it's a lot more likely to happen up north where everyone thinks everyone's business is their business."

    Given my experience of living in Leicester, Lincolnshire, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, and Glasgow, I'd say that it's alot more likely to happen the closer you get to the M25/London, where everyone thinks everyone's problems should stay as someone else's.

    It might seem strange, but rather than suspecting each other of terrrrism/sexual deviancy/both, and keeping their eyes rooted to the floor, I've found that when you get oop north strangers actually have conversations with each other (gasp!) in the confines of public transport (double gasp!).

    "Old-school village" backwaters such as Yorkshire or Wales are nothing to be ashamed of, Ms Bee.

  56. Mark

    @Eponymous Cowherd

    Well, imagine what would happen. If the Bricklayer is seen picking the child up, he's abducting the child. If he's seen carrying the child by the mother, THAT is why her baby went missing (how does he prove innocence? He has the baby in his arms). If he gets all the way to the cop shop or council offices with the child, will they let him go or will they be suspicious?

  57. Solomon Grundy

    @Elmer Phud

    Anyone wearing Burberry is a menace to society :)

  58. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @ Sarah Bee

    Yeah, but spare me the folksy stuff. I grew up in Yorkshire. It were crap.

    Mayhap I'm a prematurely grouchy old sod, but personally I prefer the benign silence of the tube, punctuated with subtle little occasional exchanges once in a while, to the intrusive witterings of 'friendly' (i.e. bored and attention-seeking for the most part) loons on Bradfordian buses. Although to be honest the only public transport chumminess I ever saw anywhere int norf was on night buses and other places involving the drunk. (Ah tis the great leveller.)

    Anyway, I have nosy neighbours here in London, but also really helpful and pleasant ones - I know three of my immediate neighbours by name. Good enough for me.

    But then I suppose I'm less likely to be accused of being a paedo. I do have a devil dog though.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Protectionism gone mad

    It's even extended to rugby referees. If you are a rugby referee, have absolutely no intention of refereeing under 18 games you must still get CRB Enhanced Disclosure done and be RFU vetted. Apparently, the reason given is that children go into the clubhouse (obviously escorted by parents as they're almost all licensed premises) and the RFU has a duty of care to these children.

    Also, have the most trivial conviction from 20 years ago? Forget about getting RFU clearance for about a year or so, until they decide that you're not going to randomly abduct kids from licensed premises.

    AC as I am one such ref, have done my checks completely without incident but don't want to get the idiot f***wits all worried about why I'm complaining as it's all about the childrens' safety.

  60. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    @ Cameron Colley

    ***"I know I'd not help a distressed child if I saw one -- I don't want to live in a hostel, unemployable and in fear, because someone else can't look after their child."***

    Well, Cameron. I certainly *would* go to the aid of a distressed child. The, frankly tiny, risk of being 'had up' as a pervert pales into insignificance compared to how I would feel if I did nothing and the child came to harm. Or how I would feel if it was my child and nobody stopped to help.

    Sometimes you *have* to do the 'right thing', regardless.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Don't blame the Government

    There's no Government legislation about half the things people here are blaming them for. It's management paranoia, insurance company paranoia, and tabloid-induced hysteria (as well as a bunch of tall stories).

    We Brits need to get away from this monarchist belief that the Government is an almighty God that can control everything and has a benevolent or evil grand plan. It's just a bunch of politicians doing a combination of what they think is the right thing and what they think will get them re-elected.

    And as for

    "fuck the government - im emmigrating"

    Good luck - I hear that Somalia still doesn't have a functioning government, so presumably that's where you're going. Anywhere else, and you'll be sadly disappointed.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @Paraoia Country

    Nah mate! I am not buying that story, your fcuking kidding right?

    Shit like that wouldn't happen, I mean your in a public park reading a paper, what right has anyone to tell you to move off?

    But if that is fair dinkum true, well, deeply, deeply worrying.

    (Although, my advice, next time when you go to the park, dress in a frock up, blond wig and some lippy, so as not to raise suspicion from the "mums" .)

  63. Rob Aley
    Unhappy

    @TrishaD

    The problem isn't people with criminal records, its CRB checks, which check much more than that. CRB checks include ANY allegation made to police including those that were unsubstantiated, even just intellegence that didn't result in an arrest, let alone a charge or caution.

    These records are unproven in court, indeed "suspects" have no legal right to challenge their accuracy, or in most cases to even see them, but they affect whether you can get a job or not.

  64. Juillen

    @Mike Taylor

    It's nice you don't know anyone who wouldn't immediately jump to the aid of a lost/hurt child. I know a lot of them. Several who work in education.

    Me, I'd help a lost child from a distance, and probably phone the police while waiting where I was. I'd never dare move 'em from the spot. And I certainly would never want to be alone with one.

    As for putting a plaster on one, or giving it a hug to say "there there, it's ok".. Not a chance.

    CRB checks are NOT a good way of deciding if someone's suitable or not. You never get to know the circumstances of a case.

    Example: Chap I know who's a friend of the family met up with a pretty lass at a night club. They ended up dating, and met up at the pub regularly. She went round his place and dropped in as you do..

    Until the Police turned up on his doorstep and arrested him for statutory rape. Turned out the lass was 15, despite claiming around everyone that she was 18.

    It went to court, and he's now on the sex offenders register (the lass says her parents shopped him when they found out the two of them were dating, and she was absolutely distraught).

    Now, this chap is great with kids. Not the brightest spanner in the toolbox, but well meaning, caring and he clicks with kids..

    CRB says no chance. This is the problem with data like that, it turns everything into black and white when things are so many shades of grey.

    Honestly, it's one thing to turn around and say "you're all afraid of nothing, it's just a media storm", but the problem is people ARE afraid. The storm didn't start with the media, it started with legislation that hauled people over the coals for doing what adults do, and having someone being overprotective, and getting perfectly normal people strung out to dry. Happens all the time.

    The thing with fear is that founded or not, it is always very real to the person experiencing it. The whole of western society these days is founded on the "point a finger at somebody else, it's all their problem, search for a way to be offended and you may make a boat load of cash" attitude. Or a "I can accuse you of this and your life will be ruined" attitude if someone doesn't get their own way. Very valid worries to carry with you, as I've seen them used on people I know before. And even when acquitted, I've seen lives wrecked in the process of proving innocence. And when you're proved innocent, it doesn't take back all the hardship, stress and ruin of a life.

    The easiest way to rule is to have people afraid (which is why the old Soviet way was so effective). As long as you can scare people on the small things (is my neighbour out to get me?) they won't take you to task on the big things (why are you ruining my country?). NuLab seems to have this down to pat. Make everyone afraid of everything, say it's all for the good of the children and smile benevolently, while doing whatever the hell they feel like.

  65. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    @ Mark

    ***"Well, imagine what would happen. If the Bricklayer is seen picking the child up, he's abducting the child."***

    Well, Mark, you don't *have* to be *that* stupid, do you?

    I would have thought it was blindingly obvious that you don't take the child to the "cop shop", but call the Police and ask them to come to you. Believe me, if you tell them you are with a distressed / injured / small child they will be there PDQ.

  66. W
    Stop

    @ Captain Jamie

    "...to which they (IMO) have no right. FACT."

    QUESTION: You see the contradiction, right?

  67. Writebaby
    Coat

    @@paranoia country

    No, dress as 'decidedly camp' then you can come back with accusations of homophobia.

    Mine's the one with the Frankie Howard wig

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oop North

    We're all stupid inbred sexual deviants up here so there's much less hassle.

    Besides you'd have to be Rambo to go messing with kids round here without getting stabbed, shot or just plain beaten to death.

    @Paraoia Country

    I hope you gave the plastic pig a kicking?

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Must be British prudishness.

    I've lived in Spain for years now, my wife is Spanish as are my children and right now I'm thinking that maybe I should choose to be so as well. I kiss my children first time I see them on a morning and last thing at night before they go to bed. The boy is seventeen and the girl fifteen so this has been going on for quite some time. When she brings friends round I kiss them as well, if I didn't I would be considered weird. I kiss my sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law and mother-in-law. Lest I forget, work colleagues and friends, male and female alike. When I am in the street with any of the above and they leave then they get a kiss. I also carry an handbag as do many males here, it's just a bag, get over it. None of this is considered to indicate that I'm a sexual deviant.

    WTF is it with the British nowadays? I'll be visiting the UK soon with my daughter and do not intend to change any of this behaviour. I'll also be sporting a rather obvious DSLR and might do a bit of plod baiting.

    Oh, and Sarah Bee grew up in Yorkshire, not the same as being born there but I suppose close. Please tell me it was in the West Ridings and not one of the lesser ones.

  70. Gianni Straniero

    @Captain Jamie

    I'ts been extablished that anyone who uses the word "FACT" in capital letters at the end of a sentence is completely unreliable, especially when that sentence is qualified with the acronym "IMO". FACT.

  71. Aron A Aardvark
    Stop

    Operation Ore/Social Engineering

    Remember the Operation Ore investigations into paedo rings in the UK that snared Townsend? Rumour at the time had it that several member's of the Blair government were implicated.

    Sometimes, those who point and shout the loudest are guilty of 'protesting too much'. And given that most child abuse is done within a family setting, you wonder if investigations are looking in the wrong places.

    re Social Engineering: following the endless policies, initiatives and awful legislation of the last decade, it would seem that 'the plan' is to deconstruct and then reconstruct British society along some totalitarian line. That's what 'modernisation' means in neo labs lexicon. Total, permanent war is also their other great love.

    At the very least, you can make sure that you vote against any sitting Labour MP at the next opportunity.

  72. TrishaD

    @ Rob Aley

    A fair point, well raised.....

    Point withdrawn....

    (although I still maintain that Civitas have an agenda....)

  73. Schultz

    "deskilled"

    Frenglish for "reborn"?

  74. W

    @ Re: @ Sarah Bee

    True story: I once held the door open for some woman in in Brum. No thank you - she even scowled at me as if I was being patronising. I said "Don't mention it". She goes off on a tirade ending in "Don't mess with me - I'm from London." Summed up the attitude of too many M25-ians for me.

    Re: "It were crap". So was Lincolnshire.

    "The folksy stuff" isn't some myth, it's day to day interaction.

    Glasgow was as far as I could get from London without venturing overseas. Sometimes it's not far enough...

  75. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @ Re: @ Sarah Bee

    Hey, no fair judging Londoners on one dickhead, come on. At least judge us on a sample of ten.

    The folksy stuff - never suggested it was a myth in and of itself, it's just a myth that it's pleasant as far as I'm concerned. I don't care to be berated and bothered, cheerily or otherwise, when I'm minding my own business. Ta. No problem with people being friendly in shops or on any number of other occasions, but that does happen in London too - I just find people have a better grasp of the whole personal-space thing, maybe because we all have so little of it.

    Oh and Other Guy - it was Westish, yes. I was born in London, moved north kicking and screaming at age one. Even then I knew it was a rum do. But it's not always significant whether a person was born in a place or not, is it? Some people assimilate, others say 'pfft on that, I'm going somewhere that suits me better'.

  76. Mark

    @Eponymous Cowherd

    I don't carry a mobile, so I can't phone the rozzers without finding a phone box.

    So taking the kid to the cop shop isn't stupid, it's just the best approach if you don't have a mobile phone.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Re: @ Re: @ Sarah Bee

    "But it's not always significant whether a person was born in a place or not, is it?"

    Having moved about a fair bit myself I can only agree with you.

    Normally I'd sign off with besos without anything being read into it, oh what the hell, kisses all round.

  78. Mark

    How would you feel if it was your child?

    "Or how I would feel if it was my child and nobody stopped to help.

    Sometimes you *have* to do the 'right thing', regardless."

    Aye, but people get into strange ideas. They'd like to THINK they'd be grateful, but (as with the woman being pissed off at someone holding a door open: I hold 'em open for men and women) in some situations, they WILL be looking for someone to blame.

    Heck, there's that story on another topic about a mum who shopped a bloke for taking a picture of a kid all dressed up as a tiger. Fully clothed. Disguised as a tiger. She STILL figured it was enough to get a paedo off to the races.

    Shit, I've got pictures from a festival where a bloke with mutton-chops has his face done up as spider-man. Does that mean I'm a granddaddy-basher?

    And if you've lost your child, worry doesn't make you more rational. And worse, it's easier to blame someone else than take it on yourself.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At last, someone....

    speaking commonsense. I have suffered from this ridiculous "witch hunt" and it begins with gossip and by the time it gets to the end recipent it is totally different to the actual truth.

    This government and the police state has really F'd up this Country and it is time people fought back.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Gianni and W

    "This government has sought to interfere in areas of peoples' private lives to which they (IMO) have no right. FACT."

    You read El Reg but don't know about the Extreme Pornography legislation in the Criminal Justice Bill? That isn't just fact it's legislation. Based on someone else's intrusive beliefs. What did you do to campaign against it? Are you doing anything to continue campaigning against it?

    The last two paragraphs of Juillen's comment are spot on.

    Control the population through fear, stop individual thought.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But how long does it take?

    I know of two people who, because of delays in CRB checks, were dragged onto training schemes for the long-term unemployed. And the private contractor running the training scheme probably claimed the credit for them getting a job, as well as several weeks of government money for providing the training.

    There's probably more reason to be concerned about the people caring for the elderly, what used to be called "home helps", who are often working alone, than about the people working in schools, and other places with lots of staff. And (the reason why I picked "Anonymous Coward") sometimes you begin to wonder about the quality of the management.

  82. David Evans

    @Mike Taylor

    "Regarding vomit, it is a bio-hazard. Very silly comment. Obviously handling bio-hazards should involve training and some protection."

    And by that simple statement you define everything that's wrong with Britain today. Training to clean up kid puke. Jesus wept.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    That stuff's been going on for at least ten years ...

    Story of my very last BA flight in this life - ten years ago. I checked in (Heathrow I think) and was assigned a seat. When I boarded the plane, next to that seat was placed a girl, around ten years old. I took my seat, and a few minutes later, a stewardess turns up and quite rudely asks why I took that seat ... I show my boarding pass and refuse to be reseated (pre 911), so, for the next 70 Minutes, she keeps ogling me and the girl. I had a nice chat with the extremely wellmannered child (a soldier's daughter if I remember rightly), however at one point she asked me why the stewardess came by so often to look at us.

    Needless to say, at the end of the flight, the stewardess asked the girl whether there had been any problems during the flight. Seemed to me at the time that the woman was rather disappointed that nothing untoward had happened during the flight.

    Conclusion from this experience and loosely following what's been going on in the UK over the years since: when a good friend asked me to accompany a teenager to London a year ago, I refused his invitation. I would not have had any qualms about going to Rome or Madrid whith that young person.

    Also, while I do not at all approve of letting children (even british ones) drown, I admit to having no idea how to act in a nonsuspicious way in such a situation. My layman's knowlege of common law tells me, however, that might be preferable to be morally very wrong to being accused of child molestation.

    I find such a choice unbearable.

  84. George McIntosh
    Stop

    Not rubbish at all

    re: "Im sorry, but "The police told me to wipe the pictures of a crime off my phone" What utter rubbish"

    Not in the least bit rubbish. The exact same thing happened to my girlfriend's father. Told by police to keep a video diary of vandalism by neighbours kids, then told to delete it because the father complained about the "paedo next door videoing my kids"

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Dont blame the Government

    Oh right, so we don't now have a law where anyone can be locked up for 42 days based on nothing more than some Policeman's gut feeling? We don't have Ministers effectively telling white males that they have fuck-all chance of getting payrises or promotions from today if they have non-white male people working in the same place? We don't have laws that say you can't stop some little scrote smashing your car up because you are interfering with their "civil rights"? We don't have Ministers announcing that anything THEY decide is "extreme porn" is suddenly the biggest risk to Public Safety since the last thing they thought of?

    Since it is Government Ministers announcing all these delightful changes, who the fuck should we blame?

    If you really think Brown is pulling all this shit to get re-elected then I would just love to know what you thnk he would do if he was trying NOT to get back in!

    (Sorry for the swearing but this is all becoming too much. It's either swear or go find a windmill to rail at - assuming that wouldn't get me banged up for abusing the rights of inanimate wooden structures...)

  86. steogede
    Flame

    @mark

    >> Heck, there's that story on another topic about a mum who shopped a bloke for taking a

    >> picture of a kid all dressed up as a tiger. Fully clothed. Disguised as a tiger. She STILL

    >> figured it was enough to get a paedo off to the races.

    A paedophile and a zoophile - DISGUSTING!!!

    @Mike Taylor

    Next you you will be claiming that you can safely wipe your arse or blow your nose without an up to date certificate.

  87. Nomen Publicus
    Unhappy

    Government without ethics

    The central problem is that the government is promoting the idea that EVERYBODY is suspect, NOBODY is innocent - straight out of 1984 or Stalinist Russia. This crazy idea justifies DNA databases and CRC for everybody.

    The problem is, 99.9% of the population are not criminals, nor are they pedos.

    If a law treats the entire population as criminals to deal with 1 in a 1000 that is, the law is evil and a ethical government would strike it down.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thou shalt not

    think that any male over the age of 30 that plays with a child that is not their own is a peadophile…

    Some people are just nice.

  89. MarkMac
    Flame

    hesitation, or accusation?

    If I see a child in distress, I invariably ask if I can help. It shocks me to see adults passing with their faces turned. If a child is crying / lost / hurt, every adult around should be hurrying to look after them, and shame on those of you who walk away.

    I am of course sharply aware that some fool might assume the worst ("he must have hit her / frightened him / be trying to abduct her / stuck his finger somewhere") but I care more about the child's welfare than some idiot's mistaken opinion. And realistically unless the passer-by knows the child (in which case why aren't THEY helping, eh?) how can they tell its not your child?

    As for what teachers can and can't do - its ludicrous. I've been called up at work to get me to come in to give my child a dose of calpol. Staff waiting for CRB checks (which can take months) can't take toddlers to the loo - even if the result is a puddle or nasty smell. As for cleaning it up - ha! No chance.

    Oh and @Jullien: you're a perfect example of the sort of paranoid wimps our society is breeding. Shame on you. I can't imagine how you look at yourself in the morning.

  90. Graham Marsden
    Stop

    @Don't blame the Government

    > There's no Government legislation about half the things people here are blaming them for.

    Give them time, AC, give them time...

  91. joshimitsu
    Stop

    All Citizens Must Conform

    Next step: You must have a parenting licence to have any children.

    If you don't have one the social workers will take them away.

    Getting a licence involves attending all sorts of bullshit classes, a health check, psychology test, finding out whether anybody you ever knew to the sixth degree has ever been camping or travelled to China (shares a border with Pakistan!)

    I give it ten years or so.

  92. Mike Taylor

    @David Evans, @Juillen

    David,

    A typical playgroup might have 30 children on the books. Although we'd like to think that all the parents would tell us if their children have an infectious disease (from diarrhoea to HIV), I can't guarantee it. Vomit may contain bacteria, virus, blood. So the reason why staff would be trained in basic H&S techniques is to reduce the likelihood of transmission - for example, carrying on sleeves or trousers - to the next child.

    @Juillen,

    Mostly good points: especially that about not removing a child when helping it. I don't think there's much you can do other than stay with a lost child - alert other people - make sure it doesn't get into danger.

    Regarding the CRB checks, of course there are grey areas, and I'm sorry for your friend. It's rare but always positive to see men interested in childcare. The checks are quick and easy to comprehend for the employer and the employee. The reports are clear and relevant and certainly not intrusive. Checking is the final step of the process: it follows interviewing, qualification checking, seeing how the prospective employee would fit in with the team and so on. But I have an obligation (and I believe this to be a moral obligation as well as a legal one) to do what can be done to ensure the safety of your children. Of course, we could operate some kind of shadowing practice, so carers are never alone with children - but that'll mean massively increasing our fees - and probably sends a ridiculous message to your child. And collusion happens.

    This is what a standard CRB is (from their www):

    ---

    This is primarily available to anyone involved in working with children or vulnerable adults, as well as certain other occupations and entry into professions as specified in the Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974. Standard Disclosures show current and spent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings held on the Police National Computer. If the post involves working with children or vulnerable adults, the following may also be searched:

    * Protection of Children Act (POCA) List

    * Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) List

    * Information that is held under Section 142 of the Education Act 2002 (formerly known as List 99)

    ---

    When you bring your child to playgroup, school, after-school club, cubs, or whatever, you'd like to know that some checks have been done of this order. Maybe we could have a look at this of things that are checked (does it matter if a prospective pg assistant has been cautioned for smoking Killer Weed? I seriously doubt it does), but mostly this is straightforward enough.

    The choice maybe that we either do a CRB (or a modified version that amounts to the same thing), or we do nothing except rely on unsubstantiated guesswork, rumour and gut feelings. I reckon that a man wanting to work in childcare has a better chance with CRB than without.

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Re: Re: Re: @ Re: @ Sarah Bee

    I'm from dahn sauf and have lived oop norf. I don't have a point to make. I'm just bumping up the number of indirections in the title. Anyone know what the El Reg record is?

  94. Jimbo
    Pirate

    Furedi ? I know that name...

    While I totally agree that (justifiable) concern about child welfare has quickly degenerated into a paranoid pogrom, and fully support El Reg in highlighting the way the issue has - like terrorism -been used to justify huge attacks on civil liberties, I must point out that Frank Furedi was the former head of the "Revolutionary" "Communist" "Party", many of whose former bigwigs have insinuated their way into various mainstream media outlets (they weren't having much luck peddling newspapers in shopping centres - wikipedia has a reasonable rundown on 'where are they now'). Just to do 'full disclosure', I would describe myself as both a revolutionary and a communist, and I can tell you these jokers were neither. They specialised in 'adversarial politics', i.e. they would deliberately try to take a position that compelled people to stop and argue with them, e.g. claiming that ITN footage of Serb concentration camps was faked, or (I loved this one) argued that because the British 'national identity' was largely based on us having thrashed the Nazis' backsides, to be anti-fascist was to be a nationalist and therefore bad... does that make sense to anyone ? Basically, a bit like that annoying twunt you spent two hours arguing with at a student party once, before you realised they didn't have a point, they were just doing it to feel important.

    That's not to deny the seemingly reasonableness of Mr F.'s latest outpourings, but you need to read between the lines of anything he or his like says.

    Skull and Bones, because all politicians should be forced to walk the plank in shark-infested waters.

  95. yeah, right.

    gave up

    I used to like working with youth, teaching them things, letting them learn. I was pretty good at it too. Now? Won't go near it. All it takes today is a single unfounded accusation by the child to basically end ones life as they know it. Children don't HAVE a sense of cause and effect - they'll lie when it suits them. Unfortunately, the bureaucrats in charge seem to think that the little darlings are all about truth only. The press is all about judging and sentencing without the benefit of a court of law.

    It's bullshit. So no more working with youth for me. I've seen two people have their lives finished by kids who lied because they didn't get what they wanted. One committed suicide because the local press got ahold of the story and crucified him publically. The press, by the way, never apologized when it was found that the child had outright lied about all the allegations. The other lost his job, his wife left him, and he had to move to another country even though he was again completely exonnerated. The kids, meanwhile, got nothing. No punishment for having so completely ruined the lives of two dedicated adults who made the mistake of working with youth.

    Won't go there again. Ever.

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    only men can be paedophiles

    British Airways runs a policy that no male passenger can sit next to an 'unacompanied minor'. They have apparently decided that all men are dangerous, although they still seem to sell tickets without a CRB check.

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ /\/\j17

    "leave dumming down to Sky News and the BBC."

    says it all really. What a dumby.

  98. Chris Donald

    Stupid idiotic scaremongering government need to step back

    big time and stop with encouraging paranoid law making. There is a balance surely?

    A good friend of mine, father of 6 kids told me that now he would not look after his friend's kids even fir a short time thanks to current bullshit. There are folks that see a pedo round every corner (related to the idiots that see a terrorist in every foreign accent)

    Soon we will all be compelled to take in depth psych tests with a polygraph etc to have our own "citizen" card. Courtesy of the "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear"* brigade!

    *Rallying cry of dictators and tyrants everywhere!

  99. Jeff Rowse Bronze badge

    @MarkMac

    You might not care about other people's opinion, but you underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers.

    Yes, I know the media exagerates and yes, I know the situation is not (quite) as bad as the tabloids sometimes claim but when I see pictures of a house that had been firebombed with anti-paedo graffitti scrawled on the walls because the man who used to live there was accused of kiddy-fiddling (wrongly, of course), it makes me think about what I'd do if - [insert deity's name here] forbid - I ever found myself in the position of having to decide whether to help a child or just walk on by.

    I have been told - by a policeman, so I think it is probably accurate - about a man who got arrested for trying to stop two white men "attacking" a gentleman of non-white origin; it turned out the two white men were plain-clothes policemen trying to detain a suspect; how is a passer-by supposed to know that when all he can see and hear is what looks like racially-aggravated assault? (The 'gooder' was arrested for interfering with the police in the line of their inquiries...).

    I *have* helped people in distress - some moron came out his drive and turned right onto a dual carriageway (how I can't understand, since he'd lived there for years!) straight into the front of another car; we blocked the road with our cars and two of us went to see what we could do to help while the third called for the police on his mobile. As it turned out, there wasn't anything we could do as the only real injuries were two knackered cars (one on its roof!) and four rather shaken passengers. Would I do it again? Probably.

    Would I do it again if it was young car thieves - sorry, [i]joyriders[/i] in the car? I honestly do not know. Too much chance of getting attacked by the little sods, or of being accused of interfering with a crime scene or being a kiddy-fiddler...

    I'd probably help... but not so long ago I would have said I would *definitely* help.

    What a wonderful country we now have.

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Chris Collins

    ..or Frank Skinner

  101. Mike Crawshaw
    Stop

    The Only Thing to Fear Is Fear. And Peedo Charges. And Aliens. And...

    @ Mike Taylor: "I have never met anyone who wouldn't help a lost child "for fear of being branded a paedo", but I've met a lot of people who think this is a common fear."

    I've been in this position last year. I looked out of my living room window, and saw a young child (nappy-age) wandering up the street unaccompanied. I ran out the house, and, halfway to the child realised what a compromising position I was putting myself in - I would be in the street with a young child that wasn't mine, away from his parents, without their knowledge or consent. Kidnapping / Peeedoo charges, anyone? As it happened, I "shepherded" him back down the street from the direction whence he came, without touching him in any way (keeping an obvious 3-foot+ distance at all times) hoping like hell that I'd meet his parents. As it happened, I did. (Or at least, I *HOPE* that it was his mother...)

    It is a real fear.

    I also to help instruct martial arts, I made a very, very firm rule long ago that I will not teach anyone under the age of 18. No f*cking way. It's a real shame, because I started training at 11, and I think martial arts are great for kids, but there ain't no way I'm gonna show a 12yo how to grapple!!!

    (PS "oop north" argument? Pah. I'm from Canada, you Tykes are all southerners to me!!)

  102. scott
    Flame

    Britain is no longer a society - just a place where people live

    I left the UK in 2001. I can't see myself living here ever again, unless it's in a remote part of Scotland (although I'd make sure I didn't take photos of the sheep incase I was reported for being a flossiephile).

    @Mike Crawshaw - I learned martial arts at 14; I went through a rough patch at that age getting mugged/beaten up every other week. I was an easy target, small, very skinny etc. Martial arts not only taught me how to defend myself - but gave me a lot of self-confidence. I stopped being a victim mostly cos I stopped thinking and acting like a victim. I still had a few scraps, but at least I gave a good account of myself.

    I even went onto become an instructor. I was always reluctant to teach anyone under 12, but did on occasion. Not because of the thought of being branded a kiddie-fiddler (their mums were usually in the class as well), but because they weren't mature enough for the rather demanding stuff I taught.

    Now, I wouldn't teach anyone under 16. No way. Which is a real shame, but that's the way it is now.

    Britain really is so morally clueless it's on the whole just become a place to live, not a society anymore.I remember the 70s. My early years were spent on a Council housing estate. People genuinely looked out for each other. There was a strong sense of "community", with the Police and the local "council" seen as forces for good . When kids got up to mischief, the local battle-axes would be round to their mothers' doors with the kids by the scruff of their necks. The kids would then be frog-marched back to the scene of the crime (i.e kicking stones onto the path or other high crime) and didn't leave until things were back in order.

    Now, the same council estate looks like a prison. The 60s hippy-styled "no gates/fences/we're all equal neighbours" theme is gone. 8 ft spikey-topped fences surround the estate. CCTV cameras on 20ft baffled poles all over the place. I know some retired cops - and they lay the blame squarely on the social workers of the late 70s and 80s, who basically taught 2 generations of fuckwits they had "rights" to this,that and the other - and actively encouraged the concept they had no "responsibilities" to go along with those "rights". Maybe the destruction of all the local heavy industries caused it. Personally, I reckon it was all the wartime battle-axes dying off. Even the cops wouldn't go near a granny on a rampage with a broom back then!

  103. Louis
    Stop

    CRB checks

    There seem to be a lot of assumptions about what CRB checks entail.

    Unless it has changed drastically in the last 2 years, there are 2 levels: Standard and Enhanced.

    The standard CRB check shows all "unspent" convictions since either 16 or 18 (I can't remember which). This UNSPENT (so still running) CONVICTIONS. A conviction is basically anything a court has found you guilty of (whether magistrates, crown etc), and the punishment could have been anything from a fine to a spell at her majesty's leisure.

    The Enhanced CRB check shows EVERYTHING from the age of 16. This includes Cautions, convictions, fines etc, whether spent or unspent. Spent means you have done your time/paid the fine/completed your community service etc and a suitable time has passed without reoffending.

    I know this as I have had both a standard CRB to work at BT (2 years ago), and an Enhanced CRB to work on a secure Psychiatric unit (about 6 years ago). I have a copy still somewhere of the Enhanced one, as it was asked about in my interview (I have a caution for contravening some maritime law or other which was basically getting lost while exploring Dover Docks and being nicked presumed an illegal immigrant, and the panel was curious as to what exactly I had done to get that caution).

    I don't particularly think the CRB is a problem, it is all the additional legislation being brought in. One of the first comments regarding believing HM Gov. was heading towards a policy of no relationships without prior approval etc etc is, in fact, where we are headed. With or without pre-meditation, this is the world we are spiralling towards faster and faster. Assuming we don't destroy ourselves first...

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Mike Taylor

    I disagree, all the CRB tells you is that the person hasn't been charged, and whether or not those charges led to a court case and the outcome. It is no gurantee that the person checked isn't a risk in any form. The state of the criminal records in this country is still woeful, with people convicted under false names still undetected etc.

    The very fact that the vast majority of cases of child sex crimes are committed by family members and people living within the family unit just goes to show that all these checks are simply the government trying to be seen to be doing its bit.

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    WCCITLCNXXXGRATCGGUDSCLAFTLNXXXSPARAGEERDDPDCIFRWVTRIUITIHMWBGADCPDSDLITD

    LMAO - I'll try and remember that ...

  106. Josh
    Go

    RE:Government without ethics

    "The problem is, 99.9% of the population are not criminals, nor are they pedos."

    According to the numbers above, it's 99.5% of the population are not pedos...but point taken.

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @TrishaD

    "Should convicted fraudsters be allowed to work in the finance industry?"

    As opposed to all the unconvicted fraudsters who are doing so right now? To be quite honest, I don't think it really makes the slightest difference. The unconvicted ones are both more dangerous (because smarter) and more numerous.

  108. Rob Aley

    @ Louis

    Sorry Louis, but the description you've given for the enhanced CRB check (which is soon to overtake the basic check in terms of numbers done) isn't quite complete. The enhanced check also includes any intelligence the police officer (just one officer, no cross checks) who supplies info from the police side to the CRB for each check deems to be relevant. This can (and usually does) include arrests that resulted in no charge, allegations that didn't result in arrest, and even just "intellegence" without the need to even give sources. And while the Police will say that it is up to the employer to decide whether to use that info in deciding to give you a job, what employer will "take the chance"?

    Another interesting fact - If you apply for a job (of whatever nature, including voluntary) with the Police, they skip that nasty semi-independent CRB and do their own checks.

    An even more interesting fact - If you apply to be an independent custody visitor, someone who is meant to keep an independent eye on how people are treated in custody (including innocent people who may be under arrest) and how the Police process them, guess who does the vetting? Thats right, its the Police themselves! Kinda removes the "independent" part.

    If a malicious allegation is made against you, one of the first things Police officers will do is check for previous allegations before deciding whether to arrest you. Yes, that means that if you've been wrongfully arrested before, it makes you MORE likely to be wrongfully arrested again in the future!

    The answer to all of this is simple : If you are not convicted of a crime, all data on you and the allegation should be removed from PNC shortly after the investigation is complete.

    This state of affairs arose from the Soham murders. While tragic, and while there is a small possibility such a tradgedy could occur again, innocent peoples lives are being ruined right now. And not just a few, but a lot. Every year.

    Although many are happy with it, a lot of cops aren't, but they can't speak out. I left the force because of issues like this (and unfortunately many other abuses of human rights due to the current way the law is policed), so I can speak out now.

    Oh, and I do (and have) helped out when I've seen someone in trouble, even though I am afraid of allegations, I don't think I could live with myself if I didn't, and I would encourage everyone else to do so. Otherwise you let "them" win.

  109. Ishkandar

    Damn right !!

    We should start sending these kiddies up the chimney or down the mines again !! Pesky little beggars !!

  110. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Teenage Male POV

    I'm 19 (but not for much longer) so am likely younger than the majority of posters on here.

    I remember when I was at school more than one of my female teachers gave a hug if I was upset or feeling down. And I'm really pleased that they did because a hug was really all that I needed - just comforted me and made me feel appreciated at that time.

    I also remember on my Commemoration Day (our school makes a big deal of it with students arriving in a limo etc and it marks the end of lessons in year 11. You still have to go back for exams though) a couple of my teachers exchanged a peck on the cheek with me - the teachers I'd grown close to over the years - whilst wishing me all the best with my life.

    How many people see something wrong in the above? I certainly don't.

    Had my teachers been any different maybe I wouldn't have been given a hug when I needed it and possibly would've been left to be upset on my own.

    I don't care where you come from, having a child upset/unhappy when they could so easily be made happy isn't really right.

    Most people have a good heart and wouldn't purposefully do anything to harm someone else. Sure a minority would, but I trusted my teachers and they obviously trusted me to not run off and make stuff up etc

    People need to learn to stop treating everyone with suspicion and learn to get on more with others. I live in the Coventry area and am used to getting random nutters on the bus or train talking to me. When I was in London on the Tube the silence spooked me! We're all only human (except amanfrommars) so why can't we all make the effort to get on?

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    re: Re: Re: Re: @ Re: @ Sarah Bee

    I think you're getting close to the new record.

    Anyway, here in the states they have been doing checks similar to these for years and they still haven't stopped the problems. Seems like every day you hear about a new teacher, priest, politician or somebody with their hands where they didn't belong. When a co-worker and I were both soccer coaches many years ago the local org decided they had to follow some new protocol and we both ended up quitting since the form wanted enough information for anyone to steal your identity with it. Local org was less than understanding when i finally filled one in with a 3 page letter attached telling them what they were and weren't allowed to do with the information and what their liability would be if it ever got in the wrong hands. Needless to say, I was summarily banned from coaching (and I'm proud to say continued to coach my own daughters and others and even ref a few games in between). I haven't much use for stupid bureaucracy (and no, am not; nor have ever been a kiddy-fiddler).

  112. John Stevens
    Flame

    Sorry, Mike Taylor...

    ...but you sound just like one of those complacent New Labour apparatchiks who manage to ignore the evidence of anything going sour in this country by pretending that all those who cry "pc gone mad" are making it up - or just Daily Mail readers.

    There is a checkable story in the comments further up that suggests very clearly that a child may have died because of fears about being labelled.

    John Ozimek, who writes for the Reg, also runs a blog.

    He seems to have run into just the sort of sun cream problem you pretend does not exist: http://audela-reciprocity.blogspot.com/2008/05/protecting-children.html

    Or maybe HE is making it up.

    As for me...I am afraid I definitely remember listening to an interview on Radio 4 not so long ago in which a coast guard - no less - stated how up-set she was about not being able to go to the aid of a lost child because the child had been so thoroughly indoctrinated in the "stranger danger" mantra that she turned hysterical whenever approached.

    Basically, a balancing act and grown-up risk assessment is needed. And personally, I am sick to death of sanctimonious child protection experts (does that include you?) who claim there is no problem whatsoever and its all a myth.

    It clearly isn't. What we don't exactly know is how many are being "saved" by the current hysteria and how many are being lost by it. That WOULD be an interesting project.

  113. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ PC gone mad

    I had a friend, an older single female, with a similar experience except for the camera/phone. Her car was repeatably vandalised, her front door (council property) was set on fire and, of course she was threatened. She could identify the vandals. The police land ocal authority would not do anything for her and she coninued to live in fear.

    She's a fighter and she took the police and local authority to court. Unfortunately we lost contact as she moved house eventually (no thanks to the local authority) so I do not know the outcome but I doubt she had any success.

    To those doubters, I say believe. I now live next door to a very antisocial family, well known to the police. They blight our lives (not only ours) but I have been warned that if I record their 'antisocial behaviour' I will be the one at fault.

    AC for obvious reasons, but I know that of course that my comment is not really anonymous.

  114. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    By Tim Spence

    I too, as an older father, experienced the adverse reaction when I regularly accompanied my then young daughter to school and to her other activities. This was at a time when men were being much maligned and castigated in the media in a way that would have been unacceptable if it was the women that were being denigrated in the same manner. It was also early days in the paedophile frenzy.

    Notwithstanding that I have always been a very active parent to my four children, I became paranoid and completely lost my self esteem and my enjoyment in life. To this day, I'm still ill at ease around children and teenagers.

    My request is to deal firmly with those adults who do abuse and threaten children but let the rest of us lead a normal and healthy life, untainted and free of suspicion.

    Paedophilia is a vile crime but the solution is not to create universal suspects out of everyone. This can only further damage the structure of of an already damaged society. The logic that if only one child is saved by creating such suspicion is false because the wrong action has been taken to safeguard that child.

  115. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    V for Vendetta

    John Hurt's character is Gordon Brown

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