Bound to Happen

People applying to take up jobs as teachers, nurses, childminders and even those volunteering to work with youth groups are likely to have been among those falsely accused of wrongdoing by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).

I\’m not sure this really counts as news does it? That there will be false positives in any such system is pretty obvious, isn\’t it?

However, figures seen by The Daily Telegraph disclose that in the year to February 2008, 680 people were issued with incorrect information on their background checks by the CRB.

Ministers are planning a massive increase in the number of criminal records checks carried out on members of the public. The number of checks processed annually by CRB has risen from 1.5 million in 2002-04 to almost three million over the past year.

"Since 2004 the CRB has stopped 80,000 unsuitable people working with vulnerable groups with a disclosure accuracy of 99.98 per cent.

Those figures seem to bear that out: a false positives rate off 0.02 %. Did anyone actually think that it would be lower than that? Or that there wouldn\’t be false positives at all?

680 false positives against a claimed 20,000 correct positives seems a pretty good ratio as well. Although. of course, there\’s still the one number we\’d really like to know which is the number of false negatives but there\’s no way of finding that out as far as I can see.

4 thoughts on “Bound to Happen”

  1. “680 false positives against a claimed 20,000 correct positives seems a pretty good ratio as well.”

    Well, firstly, probably not if it’s your name on the register and you face an uphill battle to clear it. This isn’t the NHS getting your sex wrong and sending you callups for smear clinics, it’s a bit more serious than that.

    And secondly, note the ‘claimed’ get-out clause…

  2. I’ll quote you just ONE false negative – the Soham double-murderer.

    If the system were not so clogged with little old ladies needing to get multiple checks done every 6 months to run a junior knitting-circle, then real problems would almost certainly stick out more.

    If there has to be a checking system at all, then one should be able, as in Oz, to get one “license” for say 3 years which covers any and every separate activity.

    Seems to be another stealth tax, or at the very least jobs-for-the bureaucrats scheme.

    Alan Douglas

  3. “I’ll quote you just ONE false negative – the Soham double-murderer.” In what way? He had never even been charged with anything.

  4. Somebody I know is applying for care work this summer. Every single application has to be accompanied by a different, separate CR check, just like the ones she passed last year, the year before and the year before that.

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