I just received an email from a man who has been stringently checked for his role in police custody suites – but who is unable to get access to a school governors’ committee meeting.
‘I am an independent police custody visitor (voluntary and unpaid) and was appointed last year but only after I underwent a stringent police check, which I understand is more rigorous than an enhanced CRB check. I have an identity card issued by the police and signed by the chief constable giving me the right to access police custody suites in my area unannounced at any time of day or night, to go where most members of the public never get to see.
‘I successfully applied to be a school governor and had to fill out a detailed CRB form. I have now been asked to turn up at the council’s offices to produce my passport, driving licence and a utility bill so that the CRB check can proceed. This country is barking mad – I can enter restricted areas of police stations but I’m not allowed to attend a committee meeting until I have a CRB check. I have now decided not to be a school governor. This government is going to have to tackle these jobsworths and weed out the crippling bureaucracy if it wishes to have any hope of seeing the Big Society come to fruition.’
Here we see the twisted definition of ‘security’ now. Secure areas of police stations are seen as less risky than a role in a local school where you somehow might come into contact with a child. This reinforces the point we have often made on the Campaign Against Vetting – that it is harder to get clearance to volunteer in your daughter’s nursery than it is to sell explosives. It is everyday human relationships that are currently vested with most ‘security’ risk.