The Criminal Records Bureau is a wasteful and inefficient quango, unable to perform the impossible task it was given. The CRB check fails to deliver its aim of safeguarding children and vulnerable people as it:
a) It is slow, costly and inefficient – CRB checks take an interminable time to process, months on end, in which time the organisation requesting the check has either employed the person anyway, or has left them sitting on their hands at home doing no work. This prevents people who would be perfectly suited to working with children working with them.
b) It creates a false sense of security – a CRB is no security against someone being a paedophile or sexual predator; it only shows that they have not been one in the past. As such it engenders a sense of false security, whereby dangerous people are not scrutinised as they have the right piece of paper. The tragic events in Soham in 2003 demonstrate this.
c) Poisons society – by requiring the intervention of the police and the state to ensure that every interaction with children is 'safe' (or not, see 'b'), the CRB creates dangerous mistrust between parents, adults and children. The assumption is one of criminality without the correct vetting by the state.
A simple, common-sense approach to child protection, based on both responsible and clear headed thought by those appointing people to work with children and vulnerable people – while also allowing them to personally check on their employment history and other details (as you would for any other job) by directly contacting the relevant police authorities if necessary – would improve child safety more than a CRB check, conducted by faceless and unaccountable officials.
I therefore propose that the requirement for CRB checks be removed, and that the CRB be abolished.
The above also applies to the Independent Safeguarding Authority, the 'mini' CRB – another quango looking to check those who might have contact with children – i.e. everyone!
Why is this idea important?
The CRB is an abdication of responsibility from those employing people who work with children and vulnerable adults to an unaccountable and inefficient organisation which has done nothing to increase child safety, but rather creates a sense of false security which may have dire consequences.
By re-empowering employers with the responsibility to scrutinise their employees themselves, children will be made safer and society a friendlier place.