UK: 3 million checks on criminal records in 2011

By EDRi · February 15, 2012

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Deutsch: [Großbritannien: 3 Millionen Datensätze aus Polizeidatenbank abgefragt |]

UK Privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch has recently revealed that
almost 3 million Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks were carried out in
England and Wales in 2011 by almost 4000 registered bodies.

The figures basically say that 1 in 17 Britons was checked and that a large
number of organizations had access to the individuals’ private data without
the knowledge of the individuals in question.

Big Brother Watch said the figures were “a sad indictment of a country that
has lost all sight of proportion and has substituted common sense for a
piece of paper”.

CRB checks were meant to protect children from coming into contact with
dangerous adults but the reality is that any person with or without a
conviction or a simple caution which has nothing to do with children, based
on a CRB check, may be considered as a dangerous criminal.

And an even more worrying aspect is that the system has proven wrong
time and again leading to perfectly innocent people being considered sex
offenders and losing their jobs.

In 2010, Big Brother Watch already revealed the inaccuracies and
inefficiencies of the CRB system (which should be entirely reliable) which
have been adding up to an average of 7 errors a day since 2004.

On 9 February 2012, High Court judge Kenneth Parker suggested that the CRB
system was disproportionate and not compatible with the right to private
life stipulated by the European Convention on Human Rights and that the
issue fully deserved to be considered by the Court of Appeal.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg stated the system would be scaled back and
the Protection of Freedoms Bill included plans to ease Criminal Records
Bureau checks.

Regarding the respective changes, Home Office minister Lord Henley stated:
“What we are trying to do is create a system that will provide the necessary
safeguards but does not make parents feel that their children are
automatically safe – parents must still have the duty of looking after their
children by warning them of potential dangers,” adding at the same time that
schools and other organisations would be allowed to insist on CRB checks.

3 Million Background Checks in 2011 (10.02.2012)

The Grim Consequences of CRB Mistakes (22.04.2010)

CRB checks ‘near 3m’ says Big Brother Watch (10.02.2012)

Student in legal challenge to criminal record of GMP warning for stealing
bikes when he was aged 11 (9.02.2012)