CRB Checks in the News Again

Criminal record checks are in the news again with the press wondering why anybody who might remotely come into contact with a child or young person must have a CRB check these days.

Labour Cllr Stainthorpe brought this up at the council meeting last month and proposed that all councillors must be CRB checked in case they came into contact with children. It is absurd that anyone that might even meet a child in the street must first have a CRB check. Even more absurd when you consider that the great bogey of our time, child abuse, is mainly carried out within the family rather than by strangers. We do not propose to have every parent CRB checked before hvaing their baby. Or maybe this is Labour’s new way of safeguarding families.

Whilst it is right that teachers and other people who work with children should have a CRB check to avoid employing undesirable people with convictions relating to children, this surely need not apply to every council worker in the Civic Centre, every newsagent, every ice cream man.  This is nonsense, another example of Labour’s nanny state overstepping the mark. The state should not be holding databases of 60 million people with intimate details of all our private lives and history, even if it could store data securely, which it demonstrably cannot do at present. 

Community Alcohol Partnership

For the uninitiated this is a scheme to tackle alcohol related problems around known troublespots. Reading are due to give the go-ahead next week for a pilot scheme in Tilehurst around the Triangle. In essence they will make use of government funds to pay for a full-time worker to tackle the well-documented problems around the Triangle area where there is the constant threat of unruly behaviour by youngsters, often fuelled by alcohol. When the council has carried out test purchases in Tilehurst using under age kids, some 33% were allowed to buy alcohol illegally.


Whilst we all applaud this pilot scheme (and the results of a similar pilot in St Neots had a dramatic effect of local alcohol-related problems), it is just a shame that we have had to wait for Home Office funds to pay the £8,000 cost of a part-time Project Officer for the 6 month trial period. Other areas in Reading are not so fortunate and in the current economic climate, may have to wait a long time for similar projects. Despite all the newspaper headlines and trouble for local shopkeepers, Reading cannot run a scheme off its own back.