Cautions and ‘relevant information’ removed from CRB Checks
All cautions (spent and unspent) and 'relevant information' should be removed from all levels of CRB checks.
Why does this idea matter?
Cautions should not be included in CRB checks. Why? a) People with them are not protected by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 b) There is nothing to say that 1) the case would have gone to court or that 2) if it went to court the recipient would have been found guilty c) Most cautions were accepted because the police informed the recipient at the time (verbally) that it is merely a slap on the wrist/it will merely sit on the local police system and be deleted after 5 years ie most people who accepted them do not accept that they are 'guilty' and had they known the goal posts would be later changed, would not have accepted them d) allowing future employers to sit as judge and jury wrt to a recipient's caution is ethically and morally wrong e) the circumstances in which the recipient accepted the caution are most often very grey and police procedures not always followed eg how many people with cautions were offered a solicitor/how many recipients who requested to see a solicitor were told there were none available for several hours – in short how many people with cautions were cajoled into accepting them by the police officer at the time ?- too many! f) Not all cautions relate to something as trivial as stealing a packet of crips, some events (eg domestic violence) are very traumatic and events which have taken years to get over are now brought up for discussion and judgement by all and sundry. g) How many people with cautions are experiencing trauma/depression because they now cannot get a job or because they are having to relive traumatic events in their past h) How many people are claiming unemployment /incapacity benefit because their cautions prevent them from getting jobs i) How many people with cautions are a drain on the NHS for treatment for depression/anxiety because traumatic events in their life resurface each time they apply for a job. j) The standard phrase that 'the recipient accepts the caution because they accept they are guilty of the offence' is bunkum in most cases – most cautions were accepted because of the verbal advice they received by the police officer at the time, and only saw the small print once they had agreed to accept the caution. In business law, verbal agreements are legally binding. Given there is so much verbal 'advice'/cajolling by the police when such cautions are 'accepted, the written document should not be relied upon as an acceptance of guilt..and given the cost and administrative nightmare involved in digging up the cases and proving the circumstances in which such cautions were 'accepted', they simply should be omitted from CRB checks.
An independent review during Labour's government suggestedt that people with only one caution should have their cautions ommitted from CRB checks and those cautions received whilst the recipient was a juvenile should also be ommitted. This is discriminatory and again implies that the the recipient of a caution (or more than one) is of dubious character. The only fair way to ensure people's civil liberties are protected and their lives not destroyed is to have a blanket approach. ALL cautions should be omitted from CRB checks.
Police forces should be made to step-down those cautions which have been 'spent' (and do this automatically rather than at the written request of the recipient) and as they informed recipients they would do when they 'advised' recipients to accept them (the verbal terms which every recipient agreed to 'accept' the caution). DNA samples taken at the time should also be removed once the caution has reached its step-down period.
Give people back their lives or there will be a bigger drain on government's resources in the long run (unemployment/incapacity benefit, NHS costs..and possibly future crime too).
By allowing cautions to be included in CRB checks, and expanding the list of occupations requiring one, the government is simply discriminating against it's own decent people. Soon we will find that all our jobs are taken up by those from countries who don't subscribe to our over-zealous laws (and thus have no 'criminal record') whilst our own decent people (with employable qualifications, skills and experience will become prozac munching, unemployed, state dependent zombies – basically prisoners of the state because their right to work and provide for themselves has been taken away!
'Relevant Information' is most often malicious gossip and spiteful reports made to the police by disgruntled neighbours with a grudge or unproven 'hearsay'. 'Relevant Information' is therefore most often not fact. As such it must be removed for the same damaging reasons as above.