How 'Dangerous People' Are Kept from Children; as Thousands of Teachers, Caretakers and Classroom Assistants Wait for Results of Vetting Tests, Investigations Editor Richard Warburton Examines How the Criminal Records Bureau Works

Article excerpt

Byline: Richard Warburton

A rise in the number of cases where children were abused by workers in positions of trust during the 1990s led to the Government drawing up plans to stop 'dangerous people' working closely with youngsters.

In 1997 the Criminal Records Bureau was conceived to carry out checks on would-be employees.

Before the CRB police checks were mainly confined to people employed in the statutory sector.

However, many working in the sector were not checked nor were a number of people in volunteering organisations.

What checks were made were carried out by the police but the increase in demand meant it was obvious that an agency like the bureau was needed.

The CRB was finally up and running in Liverpool in April as a joint venture between the Home Office and Capita, a private services company at a cost of pounds 940 million over ten years. Jack Straw, then Home Secretary, said the bureau was essential if dangerous people were to be 'stopped from working with children and young people'.

Recently David Blunkett, the current Home Secretary, has also underlined the general concern about issues surrounding the number of young people being abused by adults in positions of trust.

'We all have a responsibility to ensure that we build a safe, just and tolerant society,' he said. 'A vital part of this is to ensure that we protect children and other vulnerable people.'

When fully operational later this year, the CRB will supply three kinds of check or 'disclosure' - basic, standard and enhanced - at a cost of pounds 12 each.

All employers and volunteering organisations are entitled to ask prospective workers to obtain a basic enclosure.

It shows all convictions held at national level which are not 'spent' and is available to all members of the public. …