Would you dare to help this child?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Semper_Flexibilis, Oct 28, 2009.

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  1. New Liebours Peadomania strikes again…



    Criminal record checks are turning us into a nation of suspects





    Ignoring a child in distress used to be unheard of. But vetting by the new Independent Safeguarding Authority will mean every adult is a potential criminal – and children will be no safer, argues Philip Johnston.

    By Philip Johnston
    Published: 7:00AM GMT 28 Oct 2009

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    Must we regard the entire adult population as a potential pool of criminal suspects? Photo: SPIKE MAFFORD




    Have you been ISA-cleared? If you want a new job then you had soon better be. According to Sir Roger Singleton, head of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (the aforementioned ISA), a clean bill of health from his fledgling organisation will become as important as a professional qualification for any aspiring employee. It will announce to the world that you are not a paedophile, that you have not assaulted a child and do not pose a danger to vulnerable old people. The state will have decreed that you are not a monster.

    If you are coming around slowly to the view that this country is going mad then confirmation came yesterday with Sir Roger’s comments in this newspaper. It is now, apparently, considered perfectly reasonable to regard the entire adult population as a potential pool of criminal suspects. Indeed, new figures from the Justice Department show that an increasing number of people is being criminalised, principally the over-40s who have never been in trouble with the police and have never really done anything wrong apart from breaking the speed limit occasionally. The number of over-40s receiving a first conviction or caution has increased by half since 2001 and is now running at 65 a day. The figures reflect the fact that many of Labour’s new spot fines for ''crimes’’ such as overfilling a wheelie bin are aimed at householders

    As Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: ''Labour have criminalised a generation and treated tens of thousands of law-abiding middle-aged and elderly citizens like villains.’’ Since October 12, an estimated 11.3 million people have been subject to a new “vetting and barring” regime that means it is now a criminal offence, punishable by a £5,000 fine, for individuals without ISA clearance to work or apply to work with children or vulnerable adults in a wide range of posts – including most NHS jobs, the Prison Service, education and childcare. Most will have to pay £64 towards the cost of setting up the database. Employers also face criminal sanctions for knowingly employing a barred individual across a wider range of work. Although the scheme is now running, registration is being phased in and starts for new workers or for those moving jobs in July.

    The ISA was set up in response to the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman by Ian Huntley in Soham in 2002, and employs about 200 staff with an annual budget of £40 million. Even though the Soham inquiry reserved much of its criticism for a failure to follow up Huntley’s references when he was applying for a job as a school caretaker, the Government decided that an all-embracing vetting agency was required.

    A few weeks ago there was uproar when it became clear how far the tentacles of the new authority would extend. Even the NSPCC said it threatened “perfectly safe and normal activities” and risked alienating the public and discouraging volunteers. Other campaign groups and opposition parties denounced its scale and scope.

    Ed Balls, the Children’s Secretary, responded by calling on Sir Roger to carry out a review, invariably a government’s way of cooling a furore while changing nothing. He was asked to look again at whether the definition of “frequent” contact in the legislation would mean that ad hoc arrangements – such as taking children to football matches – would fall foul of the law. It seems that they will. “It is reasonable to expect of the person who is doing that driving that there’s no known reason why he shouldn’t work with children,” said Sir Roger. Unsurprisingly, the ISA has been inundated with letters criticising the scheme and Sir Roger said it would be “foolish to blindly ignore” the public outrage over the pervasive nature of the scheme.

    Yet far from reducing the scope of this scheme, Sir Roger suggested that the reach of the database could actually increase because companies, even those whose work did not normally involve contact with children, would see commercial advantage in asking employees to get an ISA check. “The electrical contractor who wants school business may decide that although he is not required to have all his electricians registered with the ISA, there is a tendering advantage to doing so,” said Sir Roger.

    It had been thought that this scheme would be limited only to those who regularly come into contact with children as an essential part of their jobs, notably teachers, though they have long been subject to special checks. But the ISA registration will be needed by doctors, dentists, opticians and others whose clients might include children. If Sir Roger is right and businesses believe that it is important to be ISA registered, where will it stop? Sweet shop owners whose regular customers are children may feel obliged to sign up and display their ISA certificate. So, too, would plumbers, decorators or electricians who need to enter homes where children could be present. Corgi-registered and ISA-cleared will become the dual badges of professional competence and moral respectability. Suddenly, hundreds of thousands more people are being drawn into the clutches of the ISA and information about them placed on its database indefinitely.

    The problem is that it is likely to put children at greater risk. This is because someone “cleared’’ by the checks (which might, after all, be based upon false or incomplete information) will be assumed to be trustworthy and no other questions will be asked. When the task of checking the bona fides of people is proxied out to state agencies they are then considered infallible, when invariably they are not. Direct checks on personal references and testimonials of the sort that used to be carried out are likely to be far more effective. Moreover, we are developing a poisonous culture of suspicion that discourages adults from stepping in to help children in trouble for fear of being considered a potential molester or of being reported to the police. In France and several other countries, it is an offence not to help anyone, including a child, in difficulty and distress. In this country, we are being encouraged to walk on by in case we are considered an assailant.

    Child protection has become a vast, self-perpetuating industry whose very existence depends upon maintaining the fiction that all adults are potentially harmful to children. Perversely, even though most abusers are known to the abused, and children are most at risk from relatives or their friends, the new ISA scheme excludes family or private arrangements. What sort of society is it where adults suspect other adults, and children are taught to suspect anyone other than their parents, who are often the people who cause them greatest harm?

    Adults who volunteer their time to coach children in sports, or run Scout and Guide organisations, or adventure outings are being put off doing so in their thousands. There are stories of people who have a conviction from childhood for stealing sweets from the village shop being told they cannot enter a scout hut to collect their own child. For those who have never been in trouble with the police and never will be, there is the ignominy of being subjected to a criminal check, the assumption being that they might offend one day. The hoary old justification that “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear” just does not wash. Why should everyone be placed on a government database in the belief that they might turn out to be an offender? The same mentality seeks to justify retaining the DNA of innocent people on a database that now contains the profiles of 10 per cent of the population and seeks to make everyone possess an ID card.

    Volunteers used to be the bedrock of society; yet adults whose experience and advice are invaluable to youngsters are giving up because it is no longer worth the candle. Surveys have found that one in three men has been put off offering to train a sports team or run a scout group – at a time when the Government wants all children to have adult “mentors” to guide their career choice from the age of seven.

    An obsession with health and safety, an unwillingness to accept that there is an element of risk in everything we do and a requirement for virtually everyone dealing with children to be subjected to a criminal record check have turned volunteering into something unwarrantedly expensive, bureaucratic and intrusive. And to what end? As Sir Roger admitted, cases of abuse will never be eliminated. “Every now and then something inexplicable happens that will defy our best attempts to understand and explain it.”
    Precisely. The same could be said about turning the entire country into a nation of suspects.


    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/6448260/Criminal-record-checks-are-turning-us-into-a-nation-of-suspects.html
     
  2. Of course i would...stupid question!
     
  3. Yes I would. I am a human not a politically correct robot.
     
  4. What giles me is that in most of the more shocking crimes in the last 20/30 years Huntly, Dumblaine,Michael Ryan and baby Peter, if the people involved,the police and Social services had just got off their fat arrses and done their job in the first place the would not have happened,
     
  5. Yes. Unless you were planning to bring him around by rubbing your penis on his face, you'd be fine.
     

  6. Ah, you mean like Hamiltons FEO who reported that he'd had a gat waved in his face by Hamilton and felt 'uncomfortable', but OK'd Hamiltons Firearms Licence?

    "…by 1995, a police officer sent to assess Hamilton's latest gun application was more strident, saying he "didn't feel comfortable in his presence and was glad to get out of the house". The officer said he believed Hamilton had tried to "intimidate" him by showing him a revolver in an oilskin. But, again, he saw no reason to deny the firearms application.…"



    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/oct/04/ukcrime.ukguns
     

  7. So tell us paperpuke, why did you feel the need to mention rubbing a penis on a childs face? Something in your subconcience you wish to share with us?
     
  8. No, just trying to highlight what a silly question it is.
     
  9. In some of those cases the CRB/ISA checks they talk about would have made no difference anyway. I am currently the proud owner of 7 different CRB checks, all from the same agency and all within about a year just so I can:

    a) Hold a firearms certificate
    b) Help out at my children's school
    c) Help out at my son's rugby club
    d) Enter school premises for my work
    e) Help out at my daughter's football club
    f) coach at the local cricket club
    g) Run events in the village hall.

    Its all bloody mental
     
  10. Sadly I only own 3 CRB checks, as I always say the only thing it proves is I've never been silly enough to get caught
     
  11. No its not, how much did all that cost you
     
  12. But you couldn't put something a bit more succinct instead of that :roll:
     
  13. Yes, unless it was me who knocked him over then I would stop and plant a knife and claim self defence.

    Joking aside yes I would stop and hope others would as well.
     
  14. msr

    msr LE

  15. CRB checks seemed a good idea then somebody panicked what if someobdy not checked does something OMG check everyone :roll:
    next stage will be 24 7 electronic monitoring of everyone all the time :x