back to article Anti-paedo vetting boss warns against relying on databases

The man in charge of millions of new anti-paedophile checks has spoken of the "false confidence" over child safety that the scheme could breed. Sir Roger Singleton, a former Barnados chief executive, is chair of the Independent Safeguarding Authority, launched late last year to screen all prospective workers and volunteers who …


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  1. Mr_Pitiful

    Will it?

    " Ministers claim it will provide an extra layer of protection for the vulnerable."

    I bet it doesn't stop anything

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another scheme...?

    Whatever happened to the CRB?

    1. /\/\j17

      ISA != CRB

      The CRB hold details of criminal records, so in effect a list of people convicted of an offence. A CRB check would tell you if someone was a convicted paedophile for example.

      The ISA database will also hold details of a convicted paedophile but will also hold details of people arrested and released without charge and people someone overheard in a pub being called a paedophile...or their neighbour...or someone with a similar name or...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        it also

        It also contains a tick list (do you like hardcore porn? Do you drink to feel calm?) of neo-fascists BS that the powers that be don't like.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        You're thinking of the Enhanced CRB check there. The ISA is something else.

  3. Trollslayer

    What a surprise

    So no real checks, people can be delcared a risk based on unsubstaniated accusations and it will make those in charge less rigorous on proper checking.

    Control freaks? Our government? Never!

  4. Jeroen Braamhaar
    Thumb Up


    "Shadow children's minister Tim Loghton said: "This simply reinforces our view that we need a collective dose of common sense, not more time-consuming, expensive and overly bureaucratic databases." "

    FINALLY. Someone preaching common sense over rules, regulations and privacy-invasive databases - and a politician no less!

    2010 is looking better already.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      common sense my arse - he's just covering his arse.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    A pointless process

    Vanessa George was fully CRB vetted.

    This is a process which declares everyone guilty by default while giving criminal paedophiles a certificate of respectability. It's time to abolish it and return to a culture of accountability.

  6. irish donkey
    Thumb Down

    Oh Ok so......

    just because somebody has passed the check no responsibility will be accepted by the Database Masters in case your child comes to harm.

    Just another example of passing off responsibility to somebody/something else.

    This Government is a joke. Vote for change

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jeroen Braamhaar

    "FINALLY. Someone preaching common sense over rules, regulations and privacy-invasive databases - and a politician no less!"

    And you believe what a politician preaches?

    We all know that politicians practice what they preach, don't we? Especially when they are preaching in the run up to an election.

    1. Jeroen Braamhaar


      Touche - you are correct sir -- but having one of them flap this in public is at least a start, not ?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So What's The Point?

    From what Sir Roger Singleton is quoted as saying, it sounds like the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) is all a bit pointless. If employers, etc, still need to be diligent, can't rely on VBS registration, and all that, then what does the VBS achieve beyond what would already be the case anyway?

    What is the actual, worthwhile difference between a world in which the VBS exists, and one in which it doesn't?

    Is Sir Roger Singleton doing a Ratner?

  9. Tom 15


    Well, everyone is going to be fully CRB vetted until they first commit an offence. Surely the vetting database which simply means that rather than reinvestigating someone every time they go to do a check (like CRB does) all they have to do is look up the results of the last check and see if anything has been recorded since?

    We can talk about a "culture of accountability" but unless you record when someone has done something wrong then this will never work?

    Anyone who is against the new vetting database must surely be able against the Sex Offender's Register, CRB checks and criminal records themselves? All the vetting database is is effectively a view of a person's criminal record.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Hello Labour Toady!

      "All the vetting database is is effectively a view of a person's criminal record"

      And a list of arrests but no charges (so innocence)

      And a list of allegations (so innocence)

      And a list of unsubstantiated rumours (so innocence)

      And a list of behaviour still legal but deemed unaccebtable (so innocence)

      This database catches *Far More* than just a person's criminal record! It has effectively criminalised everyone who's ever been the victiom of a malicious allegation on the basis that "there's no smoke without fire"

      And don't start with the "think of the children" arguement, 90% of child abuse is carried out by memebers of the victim's family, so by that arguement if you concieve then you should be vetted, or you should be immediately vetted if anyone in your family concieves, and if anyone fails the child should be taken into care at birth

      And only bring out the "if you're innocent you have nothing to fear" if you have no curtains in your house and publish details of every journey you make, everyone you phone or email and details of every website you visit in a national newspaper. In fact, scratch that, don't even bring the "innocent have nothing to fear" arguement here, I've outlined above 4 reasons why the innocent have *quite a lot* to fear from this stupid and ill thought out law and I'm sure other enlightened readers of El Reg will think of more.

      And you can tell your boss Johnson that I've said that

    2. Anonymous Coward

      @ Tom 15

      "All the vetting database is is effectively a view of a person's criminal record."

      Except when it's wrong!

      Years ago I had the misfortune to be arrested for an offence that had nothing to do with me -- I have never been in trouble with the law for anything -- but -- I had walked upstairs to my flat, minutes later there was a scuffle on the stairs and someone was stabbed. The first I knew was when I heard sirens, looked out the window and saw police and ambulance vehicles in the street.

      Next a knock at the door, there was two plain clothes police -- a voice behind them was heard saying "that's him" -- I was taken down to the police station and interrogated, once they found out I worked with electronics that was enough "electricians always carry knives" they said "so as far as we are concerned we have enough circumstantial on you so it's you unless you can prove your innocence"

      Quite why someone who works with IT equipment would always carry a knife escapes me.

      Turns out they got the offender during the house to house investigation, he didn't look anything like me so how the witness thought it was me remains a mystery, I think it was just because I had been seen going up the stairs minutes before it happened and the real offender had escaped unseen. Apparently the offender had chased the victim into the building, up the stair and stabbed him before escaping.

      Now fast forward a few years -- need a CRB check? -- Fail! reason, arrested for attempted murder.

      The entry, though completely wrong, cannot be changed as I was actually arrested (although never actually charged -- they got the offender before it reached that stage) -- the fact they had a completely innocent person is immaterial, it happened so the entry stays. THAT is what's wrong with these databases -- there is no means of removing incorrect information -- information that should never have been added in the first place! I can see this sort of thing affecting a lot of people's lives over the years.

      I don't usually post anon but this time yes, I don't want everyone knowing my (alleged) criminal background.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    in other words

    Database is a waste of money like anyone who isn't a f----ing retard already knows, anyone who thinks this whole vetting bollocks has been anymore then an exercise in government control (you can't work with vulnerable people unless you can pass the test that says you're "normal") doesn't deserve to live in a democratic, just, society. Luckily we live in a fucking shit pit of a world and I hate the thought that I have to go bac to the "west" in a few days.

    And this cock is only going on about this now he's got the money, legal, and political backing so when it does prove to be a waste of (my) fucking money he can go "see I told you so, nothing to do with me, it's just a piece of paper" just another thieving thought control basterd covering his pink arse.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This word "paedophile"

    How about El Reg being the first news organisation to stop using it?

    The word is highly emotional but effectively meaningless. I don't think I've ever seen it used in a sensible manner in a news story.

    The issue here is people over a certain arbitrary age engaging in sexual activity with people below a certain arbitrary age. A line has been drawn and we (society) say crossing the line is a crime. Without a lot of context, it's impossible to make any moral judgement. However as soon as we start bandying the word "paedophile" around, people start making assumptions and possibly groundless moral judgements.

    Disclosure (sort of): No, I was not stupid enough to get caught shagging my 15 year old girlfriend when I was 16.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      now days as far as the powers that be are concerned (and a lot of the idiot public - I've dropped some long term mates who seemed to be smart over the issue) if you have pronz of a drawn image that may be under 18 you're a peadophile.

      Ironically they're the only two people I know who've had sex with underaged girls. Go figure. Not that it makes them peadophiles (the girls being teenagers and all, but under the eyes of the law it does make them rapists)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another layer of protection

    Putting on a mosquito net to protect you in sub zero temperatures is a layer of protection. It's just a shit one, like the ISA.

  13. Bumbling Fool

    There's nothing wrong with databases . . . . .

    . . . except

    the data that's on them.

    I have no problem with a record of criminal convictions being kept. It is sensible and necessary. It is a reasonable thing to do to consult this record in order to determine whether an individual has a previous conviction that might cast doubt on his or her suitability for a particular role, such as looking after children.

    However, there are some fundamental requirements that often get overlooked.

    1. The data must be accurate

    2. It must not be possible to tamper with the data

    3. The data must be fit for purpose

    The problem isn't with the notion of databases, as such, but in what the Government believe such databases will achieve. Like anything else, databases, **when used appropriately**, can be very valuable things.

    There are some very serious concerns over the operation of the enhanced vetting database.

    - it would appear that even unfounded allegations will be recorded

    - it would appear that judgements about what constitutes an appropriate 'lifestyle' are made

    - it is not clear how the accuracy of the data is to be guaranteed

    - it is not clear how the data can be effectively challenged

    - it is not clear whether individuals will be able to see the data that is held on them so that it can be effectively challenged

    And these are just a few.

    There have already been cases of individuals being refused work, or effectively sacked, because of the appearance of completely unfounded allegations on their record. In some cases it has taken those individuals many thousands of pounds to attempt to get to the bottom of things and to attempt to set the record straight.

    The saddest thing is that it will do very little to protect the vulnerable over and above the previous vetting scheme. What it will mean is that many more people will struggle to find suitable employment and that many people are dissuaded from working with vulnerable groups.

  14. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Too little, too late...

    ... because now that the database is in place, it's going to be used because "well, if we didn't use it, we'd have wasted all that time and effort and money we spent setting it up, wouldn't we?"

    Of course this begs the quesion of "why the f**k did you set it up in the first place", the answer to which is "because we needed to be seen to be doing something!"

  15. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    @Bumbling Fool

    "-it would appear that even unfounded allegations will be recorded"

    They will. No arrest or conviction is needed.

    "- it would appear that judgements about what constitutes an appropriate 'lifestyle' are made"

    Some fot he questions on the screening questionaire certainly seem to have *nothing* to do with suitability but everything to do with a rather middle-class view of what is *normal*.

    "- it is not clear how the accuracy of the data is to be guaranteed"

    Why should it. Allegations with *no* support are accepted.

    "- it is not clear how the data can be effectively challenged"

    There is no evidence they can be at *all*. There does not appear to be a *mechanism* to do so in the scheme.

    154 days max to go.

  16. John F***ing Stepp

    And false history repeats again.

    @tom 15 and others.

    Jesus Winston quit whining about it; you knew 1984 was coming and even if it were a bit late it had to get here dinn'it.

    Just tell them you hate to go to the beach or something.

    Or immigrate to the free world (while if fucking lasts.*)

    *'cause we do have our own damn problems.

  17. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    So head of Paedo protecting database admits

    It won't protect children from paedophiles.

    But it looks *real* good when governments are asked what is being done.

    Remind me again how much taxpayers paid for this, and what proportion of child abuse is cmmited within the family by family members or friends of family members.

  18. Bob 63
    Paris Hilton


    Well, as I like to point out, often, regarding the Soham murders: Huntley did not work at the same school as the girls. The fact that he was a school caretaker (at a different school) is completely irrelevant - he might have been a VB programmer or something else evil. It was Carr who knew the girls - she worked at their school.

    So all this fucking around, hassling people who might want to help out with clubs, wasting billions of pounds would not have prevented the Soham murders.

    Something must be done

    This is something

    Therefore we must do this

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