The government is still uncertain as to what to do about the currently over-protective nature in which CRB checks are required and carried out. Despite promises from David Cameron and Nick Clegg, TheOpinionSite.org believes that any changes made as a result of the Protection of Freedoms Bill currently going through Parliament may very well be more symbolic and cosmetic in nature rather than truly constructive.
There is considerable lobbying against change taking place, most of which is coming from child and public protection organisations as well as newly elected Labour MPs seeking to make a name for themselves. It is also interesting to note that most of those speaking against change are women.
This is not a coincidence as most of the major children’s and women’s charities and protection organisations are led by women, often Americans who have recognised the monetary potential in the UK brought about by public hysteria, ignorance and fear.
As a result, there is an imbalance that nobody wants to talk about that is caused when maternal instincts, often accompanied by ambitious career and financial interests, take over from common sense.
As recent cases have demonstrated, CRB checks do not necessarily protect children from abuse in the way that was intended; yet when a tragedy occurs and it becomes clear that the offender was not picked up by the CRB or vetting systems, those leading the zealot like public protection mob do not accept the criticism of those same systems.
In a similar fashion, the fact that unemployment has increased dramatically since the introduction of CRB checks is ignored by those clamouring for even more child protection measures whilst they themselves make a comfortable income by running expensive courses in…you guessed it, child protection.
The Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, often incorrectly referred to as ‘Sarah’s Law’, is another failure and in fact betrays the little girl who died so tragically. It is a failure because, as with so many of these measures, it is aimed at addressing ‘stranger danger’ whilst in reality, police and prosecution evidence shows clearly that most abusers are known to the child and are often within the family.
Neither the government, MPs or the tabloids will countenance saying anything against families however as to do so will surely result in lost votes, criticism or lost sales. It is precisely for the same reason that any measure labelled ‘public protection’ will sail through Parliament with absolutely no opposition and with minimum parliamentary scrutiny.
The somewhat dubious, tabloid driven measure that is the Sex Offender Register had no real scrutiny in Parliament and no opposition and neither did the IPP sentence, CRB checks or the Vetting and Barring Scheme. After all, given Bulger, Soham and Sarah Payne’s murder, which MP is going to be brave enough – or stupid enough – to vote against the memory of a dead child?
CRB checks – introduced and expanded after the Soham murders – are just another measure directed at ‘stranger danger’. This measure, like other child protection laws, has spawned its own industry and allowed considerable profits to be made by charging a fee for carrying out CRB checks, running expensive and highly profitable training courses and the like.
Take a look at this page from Google (try it yourself if you like) and see what you get when ‘CRB checks’ is entered into the Google search box. Do you get information on what you can do if you fail a check? Information perhaps on how these critical decisions are made by the faceless wonders responsible?
No. What you see is what you get; entry after entry of companies willing to undertake CRB checks – for a substantial fee, of course.
There is no support mentioned for those who cannot get a job because employers won’t give them an interview; no support for families in poverty because the bread winner cannot work and no guidance to employers pointing out that just because someone has a record, it is not true that they cannot do a good job.
The Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) also sounds on the face of it like a good idea – until that is you realise that the decisions on who may and who may not work with children and vulnerable adults are made by the very same people who operate the CRB checks.
The Protection of Freedoms Bill does not address any of these problems because, with 2,000,000 people now employed in some form of public protection role, the government are afraid of losing votes and being crucified by the Sun and the Daily Mail.
We all want to protect children and vulnerable adults but there has to be an understanding that the evidence shows that over 90% of threats to them come from people known to the potential victim, not strangers. Even the NSPCC recognise this fact, yet when faced with a potential drop in income, chooses to remain silent on the issue.
Violent offenders, particularly those convicted of Domestic Violence, are now often cited as the reason why CRB checks and the VBS are necessary. With more and more people realising that the child protection argument has breached credibility, the relatively new recognition of the dangers from violence within the home has produced a lifeline for protection charities.
Few would argue that it is a good thing that this appalling crime is receiving the recognition that it deserves yet, in a typically false and hypocritical measure aimed at securing praise from the tabloids and the charity ECPAT, the Home Secretary instead wants to ‘close the loopholes’ in the Sex Offender Register.
She has stated that it “will be helpful to the police” if those on the register are required to notify the police of even one day’s travel abroad. However, she is doing nothing about sex offenders from abroad who can freely enter the UK whenever they please because they do not have to tell the police about their sexual conviction.
One has to ask how many sexual and violent offenders there are now living in the immigrant communities across the country who are completely unknown to the authorities. What exactly are the Home Secretary, Theresa May and the drum-bashing child and women’s protection charities doing about them?
TheOpinionSite.org is dismayed to point out that if anyone with a criminal record who is prevented from getting even an interview for a job thinks that significant change is around the corner, think again. The government and others may be afraid to state the truth but we are not. For those who desperately require it most of all, along with their families, there will in fact be no real change to speak of.
The number of people unemployed because employers won’t give them a chance will continue to increase. The police and probation authorities will also continue to try to dissuade employers from employing sex offenders and violent offenders. Why? Because if such ex-offenders have no money they are easy to control and may even prefer to be in prison, especially given that they will have no real life outside of a custodial setting.
The famous ‘Rehabilitation Revolution’ announced by Ken Clarke has an invisible but well understood caveat attached to it by David Cameron. Essentially, this hidden condition says to Mr Clarke:
“Do what you like but do not upset the child protection charities or women’s groups and ensure that sexual and violent offenders remain segregated from the rest of society. If they have nothing, they are much less of a problem, especially if they go back to prison.”