CRB trial and identity cards (by )

Last night, I had a funny feeling there was something special about today... sure, it's our third wedding anniversary, but something else...

Oh yes. I'd agreed to go to Bristol about three months ago.

Quickly I checked the time I needed to be there - 1:20pm to 3:20pm - phew; I'd neither need to be up specially early, or be back too late to take Sarah to her writer's circle or stop off at the district scouting supplies shop to pick up some badges my Cubs had earned.

So what was I in Bristol for? The Criminal Records Bureau trial of their planned new identity checking procedures...

If you get a job (or volunteer) to work with children in the United Kingdom, you have to be checked for past criminal convictions that might... well... say something about your character and suitability for the job. I've had to do this to become a Cub leader, and we have to ask that parent helpers go through the same process if we're to let them out of earshot or eyesight with the children. This currently involves filling in a form with current and past names and addresses, passport numbers, and all that sort of stuff, then turning up with your passport and driving licence, birth certificate, and so on in front of somebody authorised to countersign the application (not me; I have to bring in somebody from higher up the organisation to do that part). They then take the form and post it off, and some time later, after checking that the passport numbers and so on match the name and address you've given and then checking for anything interesting in national or local police files, the Criminal Records Bureau reply with a nice letter saying you're either not evil, or are evil but clever enough to have gotten away with it thus far.

However, they plan to change this, and I was given the opportunity to attend a trial of the new process, and give feedback. As a software engineer with some interest in information security, and since ID cards have been such an interestingly polarising issue in my industry lately, I thought I'd give it a try.

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  • By sarah, Wed 27th Jun 2007 @ 8:22 am

    Oh Alaric you are lovely - you just made me cry cos I know you mean that, any child in your care is an extremely lucky child as far as I'm concerned.

  • By David Cantrell, Wed 27th Jun 2007 @ 10:04 pm

    The biggest problem with the CRB checks isn't that nasty people might get through, but that nice people will be offended at the notion that they have to be checked, and so refuse to go through with it. This is already happening. And no amount of fiddling with the process will fix what is a fundamentally anti-civil idea.

  • By alaric, Thu 28th Jun 2007 @ 9:55 am

    Interesting... I didn't know CRB checks were so widespread! I'd heard of them being done for teachers and Scout leaders, where confirming you don't have a relevant criminal record seems fair enough, since you are left in a position of power over lots of children (and, more subtly, you get to handle a lot of personal information about them; my records include all sorts of information that I could probably make a lot of money selling to paedophiles to use in working their way into parents and children's trusts.

    But cricket umpires and library book deliverers? Hmmf. Looks to me like arse-covering. If somebody in such a situation did do something untoward, then the organisation could use the fact they did CRB checks to protect themselves. "But but but the government said she was nice..."

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