Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tory/Lib Dem coalition halt Child abuse vetting scheme, cancelled as 'draconian', civil liberties are of such important they must be protected

Dear All

Prior to being kicked out on the street, the Labour Government sought to introduce a stealth tax, along the lines of ‘prove you’re not a paedo’.

The vetting scheme would also be ‘ID Card registration by stealth’ for nine million people working with children and vulnerable adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Tories keen to rebrand themselves as a listening government have halted the scheme which had several high profile critics including children’s authors.

Author Philip Pullman attacked the vetting plans as "insulting"

Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that registration has been put on hold for the foreseeable future.

She believes that the entire vetting and barring scheme is in need of review and that future measures need to have a strong dose of common-sense citing the current situation as "disproportionate and overly burdensome".

The Home Secretary said:

"You were assumed to be guilty until you were proven innocent, and told you were able to work with children.

A while ago, I was on the bus and a woman had a heart attack, I went to her aid to do CPR until the ambulance crew arrived but under the Vetting scheme because I hadn’t been clear to help this vulnerable woman, I might have transgressed the law in trying to save her.

The coalition government is now contacting 66,000 organisations, including charities, voluntary groups and education authorities, to tell them that the planned registration is being cancelled.

As well as the insulting nature of the scheme, head teachers who reply on the goodwill of parents feared this scheme would deter valuable volunteers from helping schools.

And in the current economic climate, any organisation would be glad of free help such is the financial pressure.

Given the distrust of the ID card database; this scheme and others in my opinion was a concerted attempt to lay the foundations of that ID database which has provoked such strong opposition.

The vetting system will now be "fundamentally re-modelled" and we will wait and see what proposals come forward.

It was a good call by the coalition as civil liberties are important and should be rigorously protected.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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