Might this all have got a little out of hand?
The launch of a new Government agency will see 11.3million people vetted for any criminal past before they are approved to have contact with children aged under 16.
Sure, we know why the hysteria:
The checks were introduced to tighten procedures to protect children after school caretaker Ian Huntley murdered 10 year olds Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells in Soham in 2002.
We also know that it\’s rather misplaced:
"And we need urgently to expose the nonsense of \’stranger danger\’ and convince parents that, although the risk of a child of theirs being abused at all is small, that risk comes not from lurking strangers, but from people known by their children – often relatives – who are able to exploit a child\’s trust."
Not totally misplaced you understand, "rather". In fact, we can try and work out how badly misplaced it is.
The CRB said yesterday that it will process 3.6million checks this year – up from 3.4million last year – of which 20 per cent were for volunteers.
I think I\’m right in saying that it costs £70 to have a CRB check done. So thats £250 million odd spent this year (never mind that possible extension). It\’s difficult to put a value on a child\’s life (of course!) but of he various values that we do in fact already use in public policy the highest is probably the £ 2 million or so per life saved for engineering and safety work on the railways.
Using this measure then the CRB checks should save us 125 children a year from such stranger rape and murder. Do they?
Given that we don\’t in fact have 125 cases a year of stranger rape and murder of children, it would be rather difficult for the CRB checks to do this.
Yes, I know, an extreme way of looking at it: but it\’s diffucult to see that we\’re getting sufficient bang for our buck here.