Frozen anti-paedophile plan would not protect childrenBy Victoria Corbett
June 29, 2010
Plans for an anti-paedophile database that has since been put on hold by the Government would not have prevented inappropriate adults working with children, according to a local counselling charity.
Paul Cassidy, of ARC counselling service in Reading Road, said the vetting and barring proposals would have failed to catch paedophiles who have yet to receive a criminal conviction.
Theresa May, home secretary and MP for Maidenhead, including the Twyford area, described the measures proposed by the Labour Government as “draconian” when she announced they had been put on hold pending a review.
There were up to one million new staff starting jobs in schools, charities or sports clubs who would have had to pay £64 to have their backgrounds checked for abuse convictions.
The scheme began last year however it was due to roll out further next month. The database would have been the biggest for child protection in the world and would have brought together information from several separate lists.
Mr Cassidy, who has volunteers at ARC trained to work with children to provide information and youth counselling, said: “We were getting prepared for it to start from next month. We would have had to start the registration process as well as police CRB checks. It was going to be another layer of bureaucracy.
“Because we work with children it is pretty essential we have the police checks. This new scheme was like that. The principle was good but it did seem it hadn’t been thought out that well or taken into account what we were already doing.
“A lot of these schemes do not prevent inappropriate people working with children because some of these people haven’t been caught, so it can give people a false sense of security.
“Just because someone has had a police check it doesn’t necessarily mean they are not a bad person.”
Berkshire Sport, which supports clubs across the county with training and other areas, had been due to host a seminar at the end of May at Bearwood College in Sindlesham to inform local clubs how to deal with the change in the law.
However, the seminar has since been cancelled.
David Simkins, head of Berkshire Sport, said: “We are very keen to work with the national governing bodies and agencies to make sure we have quality skills across Berkshire, vetting and barring being part of that. I thought the proposals were sensible and would in time make sure we have a quality information structure.
“I think there is no point in doing something for the sake of it. It has to be a means to an end if we are looking at ways to make sure young people are going into a situation where we know they are safe.”