Those Enhanced CRB Checks

This is highly amusing:

Mr Yeomans, who has an otherwise impeccable record in 38 years as a teacher, was prosecuted after he went fishing at his favourite spot on the River Dove in Derbyshire last summer.

Asked by a water bailiff to produce his rod licence, he discovered to his horror that he had forgotten to renew it.

Fishing in a freshwater course without an Environment Agency rod licence is a criminal offence under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.

Mr Yeomans immediately pleaded guilty, was fined £50 and £70 costs by magistrates, and promptly forgot about the matter.

But officialdom had not finished with the popular head, whose 355-pupil school was rated "good with some outstanding features" in its latest Ofsted report last year.

Nearly a year after his illicit fishing trip he was confronted by a rather embarrassed chairman of governors who had been notified that his name had cropped up in an enhanced CRB check.

Although principally used to identify potential paedophiles, the checks pick up every contact a person has with the police. Mr Yeomans, who has been head of the school for 26 years, recalled: "The chair of governors was notified that there could be an issue with a CRB check in the school and rang to tell me. I said, \’Is it a member of staff?\’ and he said, \’No, it\’s you.\’

"I was shocked. He had to visit me and, in effect, he was being asked if I was fit to work with children for forgetting to renew my rod licence."

If you create thousands of new criminal offences, then you\’re going to catch and tag all sorts of people as criminals: people that we wouldn\’t normally really think of as a danger to children, for example. If you then go on to insist that everyone in just about any position of trust whatsoever must have their records checked, then you\’ll end up with situations like this.

A spokesman for the Home Office, which is responsible for the CRB, defended the system.

"It is better and safer for any contact the person has had with the police to be mentioned. Otherwise, where do we know to draw the line?" he asked.

Umm, how about drawing the line with the original offence? That such and such is indeed a criminal offence, and thus must be logged into the system? And that such and such other is a trivial breaking of the rules, something for which a fine might be approporaite, but it isn\’t a criminal offence. Like, for example, fishing without a rod licence?

A line might be that GBH is a criminal offence, yes, one to be recorded. Calling a policeman\’s horse gay might not be.

You know, applying the same basic common sense to the definition of "criminal act" that we did for some centuries before the current lot of control freaks came to power?

11 thoughts on “Those Enhanced CRB Checks”

  1. I’m a Conservative in (newly) elected office. I’d fix it if I could…but I can’t. I can only stare blankly at the idiocy of it all, like the rest.

    On a side note, does this mean my speeding ticket a few years back will appear on these things? It hasn’t on the disclosure I’ve had since.

  2. “Can we trust the Conservatives to do it?”

    You mean the party that wants to interfere in whether supermarkets put choccy bars at the checkout? Yes, I’m sure that they’ll put personal liberty over populist madness.

  3. “Although principally used to identify potential paedophiles”

    Don’t all government programs start out for one purpose and continue to grow until their very existence requires another program for oversight? It sounds like this one has finally grown to that point. Who’s to propose the new program to oversee this one?

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  5. my crb is has now taken 57 days to come back from its enhanced check with still no reply from the police. I have had no contact with the police except a speeding fine when i was 18 and im now 43. does anyone know why it may be delayed and has anyone had similar experience?

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