12 November 2009

CRB Checks

The Daily Telegraph has a shocking story, "15,000 people criminalised by Criminal Records Bureau over past six years".

"Up to 15,000 people have been wrongly branded criminals or accused of more serious offences by the Government agency which vets the backgrounds of people who want to work with children, The Daily Telegraph can disclose."

They also report that, "[a] spokesman for the CRB said that the agency’s work had prevented 100,000 people from working with vulnerable people over the past five years."

Unfortunately, they don't give the total numbers of people checked over the period so that we can't get values for false positives etc. (See An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes' Theorem).

There isn't a lot else to say about the story. Frightening, shocking and most probably useless.

Here are two reported cases of what happens when the system fails ...

Desmond v The Chief Constable of Nottinghamshhire Police [2009] EWHC 2362 (QB).

S, R (on the application of) v West Mercia Constabulary & Anor [2008] EWHC 2811 (Admin).

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