back to article CRB looks to ID cards to solve accuracy woes

Millions could be asked to provide ID card and fingerprint data to get a job under new systems being developed by the Home Office following a collapse in the accuracy of background checks. News of the plans emerged in the response to a Register Freedom of Information Act request to the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). Today …


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  1. Eponymous Cowherd
    Big Brother

    As predicted.

    Nooooo, ID cards won't be compulsory.

    It will be almost impossible to live your life without one, but they won't *actually* be compulsory.


  2. David 105
    Big Brother

    Government department claims ID Cards will solve the worlds woes

    And in other news, The Pope confesses to Catholic tendancies, and a bear is given an ASBO for shitting in the woods.

    What part of DO. NOT. WANT. Don't they get?

  3. Ray0x6
    Big Brother

    welcome to britain

    did you pack your bags yourself? are you carrying any liquids? are those your own fingers?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Well that settles it for me.

    I live in one of, if not the most, marginal constituencies in the country. Currently we have a Labour MP with about as solid a record of voting for ID cards as you can get (he's boasted of it in his literature) and a wafer-thin majority.

    Now, I'm a Lib Dem, but they're in a poor third in my constituency so I know that a vote for them is going to help the Tories.

    I've always hated the Tories, and the recent bollocks from Alan Duncan about being unable to make ends meet on £64K, and Dan Hannan saying the NHS is "a mistake" makes me despise them even more, and so I have been thinking to myself, maybe I should vote Labour next year - how I can I let people like that in?

    But thank you for this article El Reg. My mind is made up now. There's no way I could possibly vote for this bunch of wannabe Stasi.

  5. Elmer Phud

    What a shame

    I don't want to have an ID card - does that mean I'll have to give up all the voluntary things I need a CRB for? It's bad enough having several CRB's, using this an an excuse for ID cards is lame.

  6. Paul 4

    Why together

    I would have thought something suposidly so important would have justified a separate system.

  7. PaulK

    CRB check is ineffective

    The CRB check is not an effective tool to protect our children. It only filters out kiddie-fidlers who have been caught.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    I wonder which end of the scale the ID card adverts will be on..

  9. The Mole 1
    Black Helicopters

    Next step

    As a next step the government will announce that anybody applying for an ID card will automatically, entirely voluntary (with a small additional charge) will also be CRB checked and results printed on the ID card. The government will claim this is a result of public demand so that shop keepers will know when to refuse to sell knives or copies of high school musical too violent offenders and paedos...

  10. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Try it.

    I work in schools. I'm not a teacher, I work in the IT side on school sites. I don't earn that much. I have next-to-zero actual contact with the children but am required to undertake "Enhanced Disclosure" (so even cautions, suspicions etc. appear on the check).

    Try requiring me to have an ID / fingerprint JUST to do that job and you'll lose me. Additionally, we have to check our suppliers who work on-site if the kids are in (e.g. people who run cables etc.) - you're now requiring that they need to give fingerprints etc. And annual renewals of that for all concerned.

    There won't be 100% refusal, of course not, but this is likely to kick up a stink even from only an administrative point of view - what a ton of hassle to go through to put a few computers into a room.

    And you know what? The next Ian Huntley will have been found to have ID cards, fingerprints perfect background checks, etc. You don't solve the problem that you say you do.

    But seriously - if you want to do this, I'll just go and work in the City (which I've been avoiding for years) - I'd rather sell my soul to the corporate devil than give up certain rights to freedom, and I have absolute confidence that this is *nothing* to do with Child Protection and won't help at all. There are too many avenues and side-roads to cover that angle (I regularly stop parents who have inadvertantly wandered on-site while the kids are in and have got lost) and the checks we have can be pretty damn good if they are handled properly by the agencies that are supposed to check them (I know of a school that has caught several people applying for jobs who were in no way allowed to work with or near children).

    Introduce it - lose a substantial proportion of your workforce (though probably not a majority) and spend another ten years wondering why no-one wants to teach still.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 13:28

    Spot on; I feel exactly the same way although living somewhere in the Midlands.

    I do wonder with all this stuff why I still live in this country.

    Shame of this is that I'll be one of the poor buggers having to go through all the crap (and cost forced onto us by the Government) in getting the card as well as the usual fees and rubbish to get a CRB. SO I'll be paying for in Tax, application fees or both. Great.

  12. Christoph
    Black Helicopters

    @ Elmer Phud

    You have several CRBs? You voluntarily spend a lot of your time with children and vulnerable adults? Well that obviously makes you suspicious then, we'd better make you have an ID card so we know you're safe.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It amazes me how assiduously the government is trying to kill the voluntary sector.

  14. Dave Ross
    Thumb Down


    Aren't these the same ID cards that were recently duplicated in 12 minutes? Because I can see how that would make it difficult to work with children, yeah...

  15. Anonymous Coward

    You can have my fingerprints

    when you print them off my cold dead hands.

    I would happily join a social underclass of unidentified people and lose my access to "the modern world" if need be.

  16. M Room

    This is getting out of hand

    Why do not the Government come up with the bright idea of just chipping babies at birth and anyone arriving in the Country - save all this hassle on ID.

    Next bright idea will be for all those that fail the employment test will be for them to wear a yellow badge - now let me think - was that not tried somewhere in Europe about 60 odd years ago!!!!!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Once upon a time...

    ...not too long ago my first child went to school. This was less than 10 years ago right in the middle of England.

    Back then it was common to see parents helping out (listening to reading etc) in school. Now its virtually impossible for the school to persuade any parents to help. Who the hell wants all and sundry in the school knowing that you're not squeaky clean when your CRB report comes back?

    Once upon a time it was possible to turn over a new leaf - Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Now if you're caught doing anything illegal in the land of New Labour, well you may as well just continue offending because you won't EVER be able to leave your past behind you. "Social exclusion"? You haven't seen anything yet.

    Not a problem though because, as in the land of the not-so-free (California spends more on prisons than schools), prison/police will become the major part of the budget and will in fact become a VERY important employer. Now there's a thing to ponder - mmmm?

    Labour are scum. All of them. I sincerely hope that a fair few of them end up at The Hague before they die too.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @CRB Check is innefective

    "The CRB check is not an effective tool to protect our children. It only filters out kiddie-fidlers who have been caught."

    Don't be silly, it also filters out those who've been caught having a pee in a back alley after a night out, it even filters out those evil people who have unpaid parking tickets.

  19. Dennis

    Re: This is getting out of hand

    "chipping babies at birth" .... will this really work?

    A brief Google didn't turn up any suggestions of pet microchips being tampered with. But is it really impossible to remove, replace or modify the chip?

    Much better to have a WiFi connection wired into the cortex. That way our NuLabor overlords will be able to control us without the tedium of filling in forms or enacting laws.

    Was it Dr Who that exposed the Prime Minister as an alien? I always thought this was fiction, but perhaps it was a documentary.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ M Room

    "Why do not the Government come up with the bright idea of just chipping babies at birth and anyone arriving in the Country"

    It's only a matter of time ....

  21. MnM


    So the existing system fell apart in March, but rather than identify what went so badly wrong there, they want to carry on with a far more insidious system which is harder to doubt.

    They are fools.

  22. Catkins

    @John Naismith 14:55

    Nail. Head. Hit. There are literally millions of people who would now hesitate to undertake any voluntary activity, for fear that their community and family would find out about an (irrelevant) old conviction. Would you offer to help at your child's school if you knew the teachers would be made aware of a 20 year old shoplifting conviction of which you are deeply ashamed? Could you guarantee that the school secretary wouldn't blab that you were caught urinating in public as a student? Would your kids be bullied if it leaked out that daddy was once caught with a spliff?

    At a time when the government and the police want to keep unconvicted people on the DNA database on the grounds that if you've been arrested then you're a bit dodgy and only innocent-ish, sadly few people will defend the rights of people with actual minor or non-violent convictions, most of whom will not reoffend or pose any risk to children. Sod rehabilitation, why not just brand people for life?

    Oh, and even the "innocent" have much to fear. "Enhanced disclosure" means that potential employers will find out about any crimes you've been fully acquitted of, arrests that never led to charges, or even mere allegations.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Re: welcome to britain

    "are those your own fingers?"

    We'll detach them and keep them safe for you. You can have them back when you leave. This is a precaution to protect you from identity thieves who may steal your fingers for the purposes of criminal activities such as gaining employment or buying property. Finger storage costs will be debited from your account.

  24. Nebulo

    Never mind, though, eh?

    All this creepy biometric stuff will stop when David Cameron gets in!

  25. D Moss Esq

    Sticking to the script that has already bombed at the box office

    "News of the plans emerged in the response to a Register Freedom of Information Act request to the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). Today campaigners warned it could be used to help impose ID cards through the back door."

    This is not entirely a new development.

    Back in October 2006, the Home Office issued their first cost report on the National Identity Scheme (NIS). The report included very little by way of costs information. Instead, the Home Office took the oportunity to market ID cards, saying they would help to improve the accuracy of CRB checks:

    "It is currently very difficult for Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Registered Bodies to establish an applicant's identity efficiently ... It is already known that on some occasions, individuals are matched against the wrong criminal record ... this can lead to delays in processing their applications. In a small number of cases, people known to the police have been able to proceed through the system undiscovered", see, p.5.

    How are ID cards supposed to help with CRB checks? There's a one-word answer – biometrics. The cost report is only 13 pages long, but 41 times the Home Office mention biometrics. Biometrics is the answer to everything, illegal immigration, illegal working, sex offences, false asylum claims, terrorism, identity fraud and inefficient public services.

    The Home Office have got a lot riding on biometrics. It's a shame they're not up to it,

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The future...?

    I'm somehow struggling to understand how the CRB adding dirty and unreliable police & public domain information to your clean biometric ID card is going to make anyone safer at all. Once your NIR data is contaminated you will be tainted for the rest of your life. No matter that the CRB is already collecting unsubstantiated gossip and adding that to people's records as if it were fact.

    I see a lot of lonely kids in the future...

  27. Dave 3

    NHS was a mistake

    @Anonymous Coward 13:28

    The NHS was a mistake. The Thatcher/Major and Blair/Brown governments have been trying to create a market within a monopoly supplier, because the nationalisation of the existing charity/insurance/private/ratepayer model destroyed a well functioning mixed market system.

    James Bartholowmew's "The Welfare State We're In" gives a good pre/post NHS history of British medical care.

  28. JimC
    Black Helicopters

    > community ... find out about an ... old conviction.

    Or if you really want a nightmare scenario consider it coming up with someone *else*'s conviction. Noone who's had experience of data entry by unskilled staff on systems built on the cheap because the budget is overrunning will ever doubt that it will happen, and when it does the rumour mill and "no smoke without fire" will ensure that you are completely and utterly stuffed...

    [I wanted a fail and a blackhelicopter icon on this one]

  29. TeeCee Gold badge

    What a bunch of dickheads!

    Let's see. The problem is that when you get a CRB check, it looks at a database and, like as not, finds a load of crap that's erroneously linked to your details.

    With ID card: You get a CRB check, it looks at a database and, like as not, finds a load of crap that's erroneously linked to your ID card.

    This is an improvement how exactly?

    Nothing like not addressing the root cause of the problem, that the whole thing's a piss-poor, pointless bit of knee-jerk bureaucratic control freakery run by clueless gits and based on data entered and validated by drooling morons, is there?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Ian Huntley / @Biometrics

    "And you know what? The next Ian Huntley will have been found to have ID cards, fingerprints perfect background checks, etc. You don't solve the problem that you say you do."

    Well given that he snatched kiddies from a school he wasn't working at, he doesn't need an ID card to NOT work at that school at all! The Bichard Inquiry said that extended background checks would be unlikely to have stopped him.

    You know what might have stopped him?... If he's been prosecuted for one of the previous 9 kiddy diddling incidents! Ahh but the rozzer who messed up blamed data protection laws so 'remove data protection laws' was the fix for NuLabour.

    @Biometrics, god only knows why NuLabour are so obsessed with this stuff. They pushed it hard during their EU presidency and all the way through their term, as though you can't trust a PERSON to match a photograph to a face, yet you can trust a COMPUTER to do it?

    They use the biometric face readers at the gate, but they're not trusted at any of the staff security doors because they just not secure. It's like those fingerprint readers on laptops, they don't work and are easily fooled, yet the same technology when applied to a security door is claimed to work!

    The biggest problem seems to be the inability to do a U turn. If you hit a dead end, it's best to do a U turn and try a different way, but Brown is so insecure, he just can't U turn. It's like we have a 7 year old running the country!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    I must have something to hide...

    ... only I don't.

    For 15 of the last 20 years, I've been taking photos in schools (certain people will doubtless already be tutting). Not the annual mugshot, but reportage images for various educational publications, news and some PR. It was only a part of my wider work that would pop up every few months, when I'd do a couple of weeks at various places, but I really really enjoyed it in comparison to the other stuff. A class full of kids hard at work in an old Victorian school with big, high windows, fabulous available light and a wide angle lens and you really couldn't go wrong - just great images that were a real pleasure to produce, and - I like to think - did justice to the schools I visited. I don't think I ever once was viewed with suspicion or hostility by staff, pupils or parents, who were all very proud of their schools.

    I left the country for a while, and made the mistake of coming back around when the pedo/photographer/terror histrionics were working up to fever pitch, and it was quite evident the mood had changed. I had been thinking in the last couple of years of maybe getting back into it as was it was so enjoyable, but with the febrile atmosphere and insistence that you are essentially guilty but just don't know it yet, I think I've concluded that the pain would outweigh any pleasure and in any case principle simply stops me in my tracks.

    I really do have nothing to hide, like most of the blameless people forced into feeling that they just must have some dirt on them somewhere. I just won't submit to a CRB check for the same reason I won't visit the US and be humiliated by their entry requirements; because it's invasive, unnecessary and makes me feel like a piece of government property or a product undergoing some quality control check with arbitrary parameters. It makes me feel, frankly, less than human and more like livestock.

    Eventually, it will doubtless be impossible to avoid if you want to eat, and I suppose I'll have to roll over, sing the New Labour anthem and say "tickle my tummy". Or more likely I'll bugger off again to somewhere where children are protected by a functioning society, rather than the arbitrary diktats of preening politicians so taken with their own self-proclaimed greatness that they are quite happy to destroy this country to inflate their egos by a couple of PSI.

    I've no real idea if my schools photography made the world a better place, but I am certain the general paranoia surrounding children is systematically wrecking their childhoods, development and ultimately, life opportunities.

    The oppressive atmosphere gripping this country is simply appalling, and diminishes us all.

  32. Justabloke 1

    can't be bothered today..

    @AC 09.32

    Couldn't have put it better myself....

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Amazes me anyone would want to work with children if they have to go through all this. There are other jobs. Oh hang on, I can think of at least one grouping.

  34. Scott 19
    Thumb Down

    Finger print removal

    and when will it become illegal to remove your finger printers or alter them by plastic surgery?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    CRB, ID, already done...

    That's one reason I stopped being a Scout leader, the I.D. lot got an 'agreement' with the Scout ass. to use Scouters data to test parts of the system...And yes enhanced CRB is nothing more than a liars charter to fuck up someone elses life, unsubstanciated (sp?) or not it gets added to the database, and if the liar is a plod, real or plastic, with a grudge it adds even more weight to it, though the whining wimin seem to be pretty good at planting hatred too.

    And you can bet the card reader will show any embedded CRB data to any official, plod or not, who has cause to read an I.D. card, so they are alerted to any opertunity to accuse and arrest on past history, unproven or not...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    CRB Bollox

    I recently did some IT work in a primary school (Setting up computers etc) and I was in the middle of the summer holidays.

    For some strange reason I was required a CRB check to work in an empty school.

    What could I have done. Touched a chair a child had sat on?

  37. Mitch Kent

    Paid up NO2ID member, who they'll successfully sneak in if this goes through.


    I'm a paid up member of NO2ID, even whilst I'm currently living abroad, and have sworn blind they'll never have my biometrics off me.

    Now, as of literally last week, my parents came out of the process and are officially viable Foster carers, for which their current children required CRB checks.

    How could I possibly say no to this, and not jeapordise my parents trying to Foster? That's not a rhetorical question, I'm actually asking - cause I couldn't do that to them, not after 16 months of social workers and training and decorating the bedroom and thats not even to think of the kids who would be worse off for it. So, I'm asking. If this comes to task - how do I fight it?

  38. Anonymous Coward

    @ Mitch Kent

    What you're describing appals me.

    You ultimately have two options:-

    1. Live free or die.

    2. Slavery.

    If you settle for anything less than option one, you and your parents can be enslaved by an evil government that will somehow threaten you with worse than you're prepared to settle for. That's why the only viable alternative to option one is ultimately option two.

    Having said that, Sun Tzu (I believe it was) wisely explained that it's a mistake to try to always avoid losing battles. If you make that mistake, you end up fighting a war according to your enemy's agenda, dancing to your enemy's tune. And your enemy then only has to win just one battle to wreck your strategy. This, I think, is what people are referring to when they say, "You have to lose a battle to win a war." So maybe this is one of those battles you don't have to win.

    Perhaps the thing to do is to explain to your parents that if we crumble when faced with this kind of insidious emotional blackmail by the State, then we'll all end up a lot worse off in the long run. Can you, with a clear conscience, become complicit in the destruction of our rights and freedoms?

    But suppose you and your parents fight this. If you refuse the CRB check, and your parents and the potential foster children are denied the opportunity of fostering as a result of you, a paid-up member of NO2ID, sticking to your principles, how will the authorities look then? Do they want to risk a public fight like that with NO2ID? If NO2ID members, and their families, are being discriminated against, with children in need of fostering being held as emotional hostages by the State, doesn't that show how evil and anti-democratic this State is becoming?

    What I'm thinking of there is the potential to turn this whole thing around. Give the authorities the choice between either dropping plainly unnecessary, irrelevant CRB checks, or face a public fight and public backlash. And make references to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act as well, since what the authorities are doing is interfering with your democratic rights.

    Perhaps the way to do it is to write a letter, explaining your position and expressing your outrage, for your parents to then hand on to the relevant authorities when it comes to your refusal to accept a CRB check.

    Those are just my thoughts, of course. However you decide to deal with it, I hope it all gets satisfactorily resolved in the end.

    Megaphone - because this is something to make a noise about.

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