CRB Checks – Do they work?

The CRB, Criminal Records Office are responsible for searching and vetting people to work with children:

The CRB’s aim is to help organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable to work with children or other vulnerable members of society.

The Stats

The CRB has a turn over of around £110 million, and running costs of just over £100 million

CRB conducts 3.3 million checks a year

According to the CRB’s own data they have over 99.98 per cent success rate. The CRB conduct 3.3 million checks a year, which mean that they have 660 errors a year: This could mean upto 660 people being falsely accured

Out of the 3.3 million checks, 20,000 were found to be “unsuitable to work with children”. Of the 20,000 positive results 660 were wrong, giving an error rate of 3.3%, not 0.02%.

Of the 20,000 “positive results” only 4%  – 800 were related to offences of a sexual nature.

More than 50,000 people who request the “enhanced checks”, because they work unsupervised with children , have to wait more than two months for their applications to be processed;

240,000 CRB forms a year are incorrectly filled out, due to the complexity.

The average sick time per person, at CRB, is two weeks per year.

What is a postive result?

According to The Register 74% of the people identified as “positive results” were not stopped due to previous convictions but “other reasons”. These other reasons can be anything from an false allegation to “intelligence”. For example, in 2005 a John Pinnington was fired from his job due to an unsubstantiated allegation made in 2001.

More Stats

From the 20,000 people positively identified as a “risk” 74% did not have convictions, out of the 26% who did only 4% had convictions relating to a sexual nature. This means that only 592 people were actually found to have convictions relating to sexual offences, compared with a statistical error rate of 660

In 2007 680 errors were reported and in 2005 193 errors were reported

Other Information

PNC – Police National Computer contains a list of offenders in the UK, name, date of brith, last known address, CRO number and PNC ID (two unique numbers that are used to reference a person on the PNC), and previous convictions. PNC can also carry warnings for violence, out standing warrnats, and previous M.O (methods of crimes).  As this relies on conviction information this is “hard information”, however the other databases that the CRB uses are not. For example CRB uses  List 99, and IPLX

Neither of these databases are as accurate as PNC (which has its own errors), as they can contain intelligence and allegations rather than actual convictions.

Reports –

CRB Business Plan

Bichard Report


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