Thieves, burglars and violent thugs will be free to work in schools, hospitals and care homes after a ruling by judges.Actually I'm with the Supreme Court on this one, caught nicking a bicycle age 11 shouldn't mean that you be denied a job working in a care home at age 25. Under the old rehabilitation of Offenders act, any crime which got you a prison sentence of less than ten years did not have to be declared after ten years had passed. It was presumed if you could stay out of trouble over ten years, you'd reformed. CRB checks, particularly the enhanced ones more or less told your past criminal history back to the year of your birth. Sure it kept the dangerous ones away from the vulnerable, though it couldn't prevent one off's or check on those who did a crime after being offered the job.
The Supreme Court said thousands of criminals should be allowed to wipe their record clean so they are not haunted forever by past offences.
The change means people will not be forced to disclose some convictions to prospective employers – because this breaches their human rights. Those affected by the ruling include people applying for certain kinds of jobs involving work with children or vulnerable adults.
Up to now, anyone wanting to work in these areas has had to disclose any previous convictions or cautions, which stayed on their records indefinitely. But a panel of five Supreme Court judges yesterday upheld a Court of Appeal judgement that blanket checks could breach a person’s right to a private or family life.
The Home Office challenged that judgement, saying it compromised the protection of children and vulnerable groups, but in the meantime introduced a system to filter out single minor convictions or cautions during an enhanced criminal records check.
Some crimes are of course going to remain on the checks, the sex offenders register is not covered by this ruling. Crimes of violence in certain categories will also mean you remain on the register after ten years. Expunging a caution because of drunken folly after five years however will.
It means those who have reformed their lives after perhaps a stupid mistake will now be able to find work in expanded areas. Hopefully the ruling will still keep the dangerous ones out.
But lurid headlines sell papers and the Mail is convinced paedogeddon is on its way because a guy who stole a bicycle when 11 in 2002 is going to have his criminal record expunged.
The blanket CRB check one size fits all was never a good idea. Giving people a chance after time has passed is.