Category: Justice

Updated definition of Regulated Activity for Adults

comments Comments Off
November 2, 2012 5:49 am

From 10 September 2012, the definition of regulated activity related to ‘vulnerable adults’ will change. The Department of Health has published information on the scope of regulated activity in relation to adults: link here: Regulated Activity (adults)

Regulated activities are the activities that the Independent Safeguarding Authority can bar people from doing. It is a criminal offence for a barred person to seek to work, or work in, activities from which they are barred. It is also a criminal offence for employers or voluntary organisations to knowingly employ a barred person in regulated activity.

Regulated Activity (adults) sets out the scope of the barring regime for adults from 10 September 2012. For people who work in these roles the Criminal Records Bureau can provide an Enhanced Criminal Records Certificate with information about whether the individual is barred from working in regulated activity.

Some of the changes were made by secondary legislation – links available here:
• The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/2112)
• The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Miscellaneous Provisions) Order 2012 (SI 2012/2113)


‘Death in Custody’ crime created

comments Comments Off
September 1, 2011 9:31 am

A ‘Deaths in custody’ corporate manslaughter crime has been created so that Police and other authorities can now be prosecuted over deaths in custody in England, Scotland and Wales.

BBC News highlights that the new legislation of  The Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act, which has now come into effect means police forces, the MoD, UK Border Agency and private firms managing people held in custody can be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter. Corporations can already be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter or for the equivalent offence (corporate homicide) in Scotland.  The extension of these offences to public bodies involved in detention means they could be prosecuted if they failed to ensure the safety of someone in their care.  Examples could include deaths during an immigration removal or when someone has been restrained using an unauthorised or badly taught body hold.

The law does not cover incidents abroad, such as where someone dies in the custody of British forces. However, British nationals can be convicted of causing a death through gross negligence, even if the fatality occurred overseas.  The provisions are not retrospective, meaning the law could not apply to cases such as Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan man who died during his deportation in October 2010.

Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act of 2006, priosoners were included as ‘vulnerable adults’.  However the Protection of Freedoms Bill will remove this status when it becomes law.

Continue reading '‘Death in Custody’ crime created'»


Female prisoners assaulted by Governor

comments Comments Off
July 17, 2011 5:34 pm

Continue reading 'Female prisoners assaulted by Governor'»


Launch of Police National Database

comments Comments Off
June 20, 2011 2:37 pm

The new Police National Database ((PND) will be launched nationally on 23 June 2011.   The information held on the PND is not new information but comes from existing force systems that support force intelligence, crime, domestic abuse, child abuse and custody business areas.  The PND now offers forces direct access to that information, and details of intelligence about vehicles, locations and events.

A case study demonstrating the benefits for police users working in child protection  is available here.

Only Enhanced Disclosures will contain reference to  any ‘relevant and proportional information’ held by local police forces,  so employers will need to utilise safer recruitment and other HR policies to ensure that people working on the periphery of Regulated Activity are appropriate to do so.   Continue reading 'Launch of Police National Database'»


Ceop Annual Report highlights internet child abuse

comments Comments Off
May 31, 2011 11:37 am

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (Ceop) has presented it’s annual report which shows that 414 children were helped, 513 people arrested and 132 offender networks broken up in the UK in the past year. This is a record number of children and a record number of arrests for the centre. 

Ceop was set up in 2006 to track online paedophiles and bring them to court.  Over a five-year period the agency said it helped to dismantle more than 394 high-risk sex offender networks and arrest 1,644 suspected paedophiles.

According to the report, images on the internet appear to show that younger children are increasingly becoming victims of abuse.   But the “great tragedy” is that much child abuse goes unreported, said its chief executive Peter Davies.   He added that Ceop was trying to stay ahead of developments in technology, including in the area of social networking sites.

Jon Taylor, an internet safety expert and former police officer who went undercover posing as a 12-year-old girl, said it was relatively easy to pose online – either as a child who may be groomed or as a sexual predator – to “mingle” and find out what people were doing.  But he said it was difficult because the internet is not “proactively policed”, and instead reacts to intelligence and information.

Ceop is currently affiliated to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), but is to be merged with the new National Crime Agency when it is formed in 2013.

Safeguarding Matters is organising a conference about the topic in November 2011.  Speakers include Mark Williams-Thomas and international police forces.  Please register with us to be kept updated on the conference programme.


Police pick up charging powers from CPS

comments Comments Off
May 23, 2011 8:57 pm

The power to decide charges for those suspected of crimes will be passed from the Crown Prosecution Service to the police under plans announced by the Home Secretary on 9th May.   Theresa May said the Home Office will pilot doubling the number of charges transferred to the police, making them responsible for 80% of charging decisions, including shoplifting cases.

Rationale for change

Charging defendants by post was among other measures outlined today to provide a ‘new, simpler and potentially quicker’ way of bringing a defendant to court for a prosecution.  May said that in ‘appropriate bail cases’, this will allow officers to send a written charge by post, requiring the defendant to attend court on a specific date to answer the charge, rather than calling the suspect back to the police station.

The moves are part of raft of changes  aimed at reducing police bureaucracy and giving police more control over the way they operate. They follow up a pledge made by the home secretary a year ago to give the police more freedom.

The Home Office estimates that the package of reforms could save over 2.5 million police hours every year, the equivalent of 1,200 police officer posts.

Background statistics

Under the present arrangements the police can only charge in these cases when a guilty plea is anticipated. 

The CPS took over charging decisions in the most serious, sensitive and complex cases in 2006, but police always retained around 67% of all charging decisions – made up of high volumes of less serious cases.  The CPS will continue to make charging decisions in the most complex and serious cases.   ‘The ‘Public Prosecutions’ Guidance on Charging’ set outs these new charging responsibilities for police officers and the role of prosecutors.


NSPCC quantify child sex abuse cases

comments Comments Off
May 12, 2011 3:54 pm

NSPCC research via a freedom of information request to all 43 police forces in England and Wales show that at least 64 children are sexually abused every day in England and Wales.

More than 23,000 offences – including rape, incest and gross indecency – were recorded by police in 2009-10, an 8% increase on 2008-9, the charity said.  The figures showed that more than half of the victims were aged between 12 and 15, one in four was aged five to 11, and more than 1,000 were aged four or younger.  Girls were more than six times more likely to be assaulted than boys, with 86% of attacks taking place against females, the figures showed.

For the first time, its research also looked at the age of abusers and found a quarter were aged under 18. One in four victims was aged 11 or under. 

Continue reading 'NSPCC quantify child sex abuse cases'»


PQ on EU Criminal Record exchange

comments Comments Off
March 22, 2011 3:37 pm

In a Parliamentary Question Anas Sarwar  asked what steps the Home Office is taking to increase sharing of criminal records files with other EU member states.  Lynne Featherstone  replied in a written statement as follows:

Criminal record exchange within the European Union takes place within the framework of Council Decision 2005/876/JHA on the exchange of information extracted from the criminal record. Between 2007-08 and 2009-10 the amount of criminal convictions exchanged has increased:

  • Notifications received of UK nationals convicted in the EU increased from 3,120 to 6,298.
  • The number of notifications from the UK to other member states about the convictions of one of their nationals here has increased from 12,736 in 2007-08 (when only the first conviction of an EU national was sent) to 33,583 in 2009-10 (when all convictions were sent).
  • The number of requests received for the criminal record of UK citizens subject to criminal proceedings in other member states has increased from 190 to 341 in the same time period.
  • The number of requests made by the UK police and law enforcement agencies in relation to EU nationals subject to criminal proceedings here increased from 2,372 to 6,513.

Continue reading 'PQ on EU Criminal Record exchange'»


Public access to Sentencing Records

comments Comments Off
March 8, 2011 4:39 pm

Policing Minister Nick Herbert has indicated that details of sentences handed down to criminals could be published online in future, making public access to sentencing records much easier. 

He said he hoped to build on the success of the new crime-mapping website which shows how many offences have been committed in particular streets:  ”This website is a strong example of this government’s commitment to greater transparency in public services, giving communities the information they need to hold their local police to account.” Continue reading 'Public access to Sentencing Records'»


Children leaving custody at risk

comments Comments Off
February 28, 2011 11:55 pm

Barnardo’s has published a report highlighting that children as young as 13 are being released from custody into unsafe or unsuitable accommodation, which can lead to a cycle of homelessness and reoffending. The research found that supported accommodation could provide savings of more than £67,000 per child over a three year period. Continue reading 'Children leaving custody at risk'»


Your chance to be heard

comments Comments Off
February 25, 2011 1:11 pm

The Protection of Freedoms Bill is the first time that a new element called a “Public Reading Stage” will be introduced.  It means that members of the public can comment directly on clauses of the Bill. These comments should contribute to the points made by MPs across all parties during the debates and committee stages – so it is an important opportunity.  

The website can be found here – http://publicreadingstage.cabinetoffice.gov.uk  – do add your perspectives with practical examples from your sector as this a very complex area which has been subject to  sweeping misrepresentation in the media.  Since only very low level stakeholder engagement is likely this is the best opportunity to amend some aspects of the legislation such as the availability of disclosures, scope of regulated activity and the level of guidance available. 

Also register with us so that you receive our briefing papers on each of these topics and more.


Judicial review of unlawful child restraint

comments Comments Off
February 16, 2011 9:41 am

The Children’s Rights Alliance for England (Crae) has applied for a judicial review of the refusal by the justice secretary, Ken Clarke, to identify and contact children who may have been unlawfully restrained in privately run secure training centres.  

Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act,  all prison and probation officers would have been checked and monitored for their ongoing suitablity for the role as prisoners and people on probation would have been considered as being ‘vulnerable  adults’.  It remains to be clarified whether this promised level of protection will be compromised under the halving of the numbers defined as doing ‘regulated activity’ under the Protection of Freedoms Bill. Continue reading 'Judicial review of unlawful child restraint'»


Reduced CRB regime announced

comments Comments Off
February 11, 2011 8:50 am
Details of the new Criminal Records regime will be announced today as part of the all encompassing Protection of Freedoms Bill.  Points that are likely to emerge  when it is published are:
  •  The need for checks to be drastically reduced to ‘common sense’ levels -now it will only apply to those who have the most close and regular contact with children or vulnerable adults, such as professional childcare workers or teachers.  The total number who will need to undergo background checks will halve to around 4.5million, although who this includes does not appear to have been defined judging from the  interview given by Nick Clegg his morning on BBC.  
  • Continual updating and portability will be enabled so that teachers and care home workers who do require checks will have their records constantly updated.  This is seen as a key benefit and was already planned in by CRB.
  • The content of CRBs will be reviewed  – for instance the changes will also drastically cut the use of ‘soft intelligence’ when examining a person’s history. Unproven allegations will only be placed on a person’s record if a Chief Constable believes they are true.
  • Checks that are unnecessary and which breach an employee’s privacy could be referred to the data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner, and any employer found knowingly to have requested an unlawful check could face fines running to thousands of pounds.  This will prevent the over zealous use of CRBs such as the school in Warrington that would not be allowed into the premises to see their children.
  • the Independent Safeguarding Authority will be merged with the Criminal Records Bureau. Continue reading 'Reduced CRB regime announced'»

New guidance to tackle child trafficking

comments Comments Off
February 8, 2011 1:15 pm

The London Safeguarding Children Board has launched a new set of guidance and tools to help social workers, teachers, police, health workers and other agencies identify and support children who have been trafficked.  These children can be subjected to sexual exploitation, enforced labour or drug dealing, sold or forced to commit crime by the organised gangs or individuals who have brought them into the country or trafficked them between cities within the UK. Continue reading 'New guidance to tackle child trafficking'»


Reaction to VBS & CRB changes

February 6, 2011 3:24 pm

On BBC News, Mark Williams-Thomas a ex-policeman and specialist in child safeguarding gave the following interview:



Click to play

See also our page tracking  stakeholder comments


500 referrals to Pilkington unit each month

comments Comments Off
February 5, 2011 9:19 pm

About 500 people a month are being referred to Leicestershire police’s newly formed specialist adult referral unit.  It was created to ensure vulnerable adults do not slip through the net following criticism after the death of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter in October 2007.  Ms Pilkington killed herself and her daughter Francecca after years of torment from yobs.   Continue reading '500 referrals to Pilkington unit each month'»


CRB & ISA to merge into new body

comments Comments Off
February 5, 2011 9:32 am

An article in the Telegraph pre-empts the announcement about the results of the criminal records regime review by Sunita Mason and the parallel one into the Vetting & Barring Scheme. Headline: “An anti-paedophile vetting scheme that would have involved nine million adults will be ripped up next week in a major reworking of how background checks are conducted.” Continue reading 'CRB & ISA to merge into new body'»


Lords debate exploitation of children

comments Comments Off
February 2, 2011 12:17 pm

The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, raised five areas of concern about children being groomed for sexual exploitation. His question in the House of Lords was  what steps are being taken to ensure the safety of children, especially of children in the care of local authorities, from being groomed for sexual exploitation. Continue reading 'Lords debate exploitation of children'»


Scottish crime statistics

comments Comments Off
January 31, 2011 12:07 pm

09-10 Scottish crime statistics have been released.  It reveals that there were 380,000 serious crimes recorded in Scotland in 2009-10, including murder, rape and serious assault – a fifth lower than in 2000-1.  Continue reading 'Scottish crime statistics'»


Justice quangos spared cull

comments Comments Off
January 25, 2011 9:31 am

Ministers have withdrawn 18 bodies from the Public Bodies Bill, which contains the list of  192 bodies to be abolished or scrapped and the 118 to be merged.  The Parole Board, the Criminal Cases Review Commission and the Surveillance Commissioners have been withdrawn along with bodies that select judges, draw up sentencing guidelines and investigate miscarriages of justice in England and Wales.

The government amendment of  the Public Bodies Bill followed concerns raised in the House of Lords, after peers expressed fears that the proposed cull could put the independence of the judiciary at risk.  Liberal Democrat peer Lord Goodhart welcomed the change of heart:

“I thought a lot of the proposals in the bill were wrong but I thought this was the worst of them, because it is an absolutely essential part of our constitution now that it should be a role of an independent body to select the judicial appointments,” he said.

BBC news report


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: