The following is an extract from a media release was issued by the Home Office Media Centre on the 11th February 2011 (here)
Millions of people will be protected from unwarranted state intrusion in their private lives, the Home Secretary has outlined today.
An array of reforms in the Protection of Freedoms Bill will put an end to unwarranted local authority snooping and unnecessary scrutiny of individuals.
It will see:
- an end to the routine monitoring of 9.3 million people under the radically reformed vetting and barring scheme
- millions of householders protected from town hall snoopers checking their bins or school catchment area
- scrapping Section 44 powers, which have been used to stop and search 100,000s of innocent people
- a permanent reduction of the maximum period of pre-charge detention for terrorist suspect to 14 days
- DNA samples and fingerprints of thousands of innocent people deleted from police databases
- gay men being able to clear their name of out-of-date convictions for consensual acts
- thousands of motorists protected from rogue wheel clamping firms
This is how the BBC report the story
Millions of people in England and Wales who work or volunteer with children and vulnerable adults will no longer need criminal record checks, ministers say.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he wanted to lift the atmosphere of suspicion and distrust cast over adults who simply wanted to help.
But some child protection campaigners fear it will be easier for adults in positions of trust to abuse children.
The change is part of the government’s Freedoms Bill, published earlier ….
… the bill calls for a merging of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority to form “a streamlined new body providing a proportionate barring and criminal records checking service”.
That body will provide what ministers say will be a more “proportionate” checking service for about 4.5 million people who work “closely and regularly” with children or vulnerable adults.
Teachers will continue to be vetted – but those who do occasional, supervised volunteer work will not.
Job applicants will also be able to see the results of their criminal record check before their prospective employer so mistakes can be corrected.
And the bill promises a “portability of criminal records checks between jobs to cut down on needless bureaucracy” and to stop “employers who knowingly request criminal records checks on individuals who are not entitled to them”.
Home Secretary Theresa May suspended Labour’s Vetting and Barring scheme in June 2010 and ordered a review be carried out.
The scheme was set up in 2009 after an inquiry into the murders of the Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman by school caretaker Ian Huntley.
Children’s minister Tim Loughton said: “The new system will be less bureaucratic and less intimidating. It will empower organisations to ask the right questions and make all the appropriate pre-employment checks, and encourage everyone to be vigilant.
“Protecting children and keeping them safe remains our top priority, but it’s also important that well meaning adults are not put off working or volunteering with children.”
Children’s charity Barnardo’s said the move was “a victory for common sense”.
Chief executive Anne Marie Carrie said: “There is already enough safeguarding in place for people who have unsupervised, substantial access to children.
“This approach will make it easier for grandparents, parents and neighbours who should be able to play an important role in a child’s life without unnecessary red tape.”
However, former police detective and child protection expert Mark Williams Thomas has told the BBC he believes the changes will give offenders more opportunities to gain access to children.
“If it was about keeping children safe then this vetting scheme would continue. CRB would continue in the fashion it is,” he said.
“This is simply about saving money, it’s about scrapping any ideas that Labour had previously. Whoever is advising the government on this position has got it completely wrong.
“Offenders are very deviant, they’re very calculated and they will seek out opportunities and they will go to where those checks don’t exist.”