Headlines: September 17th, 2009

A senior police officer has joined criticisms of a proposed scheme for vetting adults who volunteer to work with children. Sir Hugh Orde, the President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said the scheme was a ‘blunt instrument’ and he warned that police forces might end up paying outside agencies to check their own intelligence if the scheme goes ahead.

Sir Hugh told a meeting of superintendents that the scheme would be expensive but that there would still be loopholes as some criminal suspects would not be picked up. He said: “Many people see it as a step too far and the question is ‘Is it a sledgehammer to crack a nut?’ Is there another way we could be doing this?” Sir Hugh added: “It will be expensive and if police are included, we are going to end up paying an agency to check our own intelligence which we own in the first place.”

The Children’s Secretary, Ed Balls, has already announced a review of the proposed Vetting and Barring scheme, which it has been claimed could see more than 11 million adults undergoing criminal record checks. Sir Hugh said he understood concerns over the plans. “It is a blunt instrument and I utterly understand why some people do not feel they should be subject to a check simply because they want to volunteer to work with young people.”