Reform of CRB Practice

The majority of who contact  F.A.C.T. broadly fall into two groups: –

  • those who are (or have been) subject to criminal proceedings,
  • those who have not been subject to criminal proceedings but are (or have been) under investigation by their employer, and/or by a local authority child protection team.

In one respect both groups have something in common. In almost every abuse investigation the police are involved either as the lead investigative agency or as part of a multi disciplinary group tasked with the responsibility of developing a strategy for safeguarding the person (child or adult) who is suspected of being abused, and for managing any necessary investigation.

The inter agency arrangements that exist are such that even if they are not present the police are provided with full details of the allegations made, and of the person(s) against whom they are made.  This information is then filed on that person’s ‘criminal’ record as ‘soft intelligence’. 

In March 2002 the Criminal Records Bureau was established primarily to enable prospective employers to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who might be unsuitable for certain work.  The CRB were tasked with a responsibility to issue enhanced certificates of disclosure in respect of staff seeking to work with children and/or vulnerable adults.  These certificates of disclosure not only include details of any convictions the employee has had but also, at the Chief Constable’s discretion, details of any additional ‘intelligence’ which the police hold – including any not guilty findings and any allegation history.   

Following the Soham tragedy the police now routinely record the fact that an allegation had been made even if it turned out to be demonstrably false. What this means in practice is that employers will not engage anyone who has been the subject of an allegation in the past – even if they were found not guilty, or were cleared by their employer.

There are many people who believe that this practice, against which there is no appeal, is inherently unjust.  Although  there have been a number of challenges in the courts, and  judges seem  sympathetic to the plight of the accused their hand are tied and there is nothing they can do without a change in legislation. 

This is an issue which affects hundreds of innocent people every year.and is by far the most common reason why people contact F.A.C.T.

If this is an issue which affects you write to your MP now.

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