Thousands wrongly labelled by CRB checks
Compo for job applicants called criminals
The Criminal Records Bureau has paid out compensation of £290,124 to people wrongly labelled criminals during background checks by the agency.
The CRB issued 3,855,881 certificates in 2008/2009. In the same year there were 2,522 disputes handled, and upheld.
These claims were brought by the registered body or by the applicant because they believed the information either related to someone else or was in some other way incorrect.
The organisation said it could not provide any further breakdown of how the money was divided between claimants.
Hat tip to The Sun for making the Freedom of Information request, which also found there have been 15,000 other bungles in the last six years. Most of the mistakes involved either mixing up records checks or incorrect information from the police.
The full response is available as a pdf here. ®
False positive rate is probably quite high
Actually, the false positive rate is probably a lot higher - the 0.07% refers to only mistakes discovered.
ie. If the innocent John A. Smith applies for a CRB check and his check is actually done against the equally innocent John B. Smith, then the check is passed and nobody is none the wiser. You only know there's a problem when he's wrongly linked to John C. Smith, serial killer. If the majority of the population have clean records, then the majority of mistakes won't be spotted.
Also, note that the article refers to 2552 disputes "upheld" - how many complaints were rejected? If you're wrongly labelled a criminal how easy is it to prove your innocence? Obviously if the CRB check claims you've spent five years in prison, you can probably prove you were active in the community. If the CRB wrongly shows up convictions for theft or minor assaults and things that normally result only in a fine or community service, how do you prove it wasn't you?
...which, by extension means
if 2552 people were wrongly labelled criminals, then I would expect there to be 2552 people wrongly cleared who are now working with children ....
*that* is the flipside the Sun should be trumpeting.
With something like this
It should be 0%. It can to easerly ruin someones life.