Service stonewalls on staff criminal records

Herald Series: Marilyn Hawes Marilyn Hawes

OXFORDSHIRE’s ambulance service is refusing to admit if any other staff have secret criminal pasts after it emerged one of its senior officers was a convicted murderer.

The Oxford Mail revealed Robert King – who worked his way up through the ranks of South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) to become a paramedic and operations manager after his release from jail for murdering a homosexual – kept his conviction secret.

He had been originally employed by the Two Shires service before it merged with other ambulance organisations to form South Central Ambulance Service in 2006.

While new employees were vetted under CRB checks because they come into contact with members of the public, no retrospective check of King’s past was made.

It only emerged when Thames Valley Police did a proper check into King following his conviction in April for drink-driving and crashing his SCAS car.

SCAS employs 2,250 people – which includes around 450 paramedics, 390 emergency medical technicians and 320 emergency care assistants – but refused to answer questions about how many other staff had not been vetted.

It said it would only release the figures if a Freedom of Information request – which gives it 20 working days before it has to respond – was submitted.

CRB checks were introduced to protect vulnerable people and children from contact with criminals, yet SCAS – which only admitted there had been no check into King when he was struck off by the Health and Care Professions Council despite being asked by the Oxford Mail the previous day – issued a statement claiming it was retrospectively checking employees. It would also not say if any unchecked staff were still being allowed contact with the public.

Children’s safety expert Marilyn Hawes, of the Enough Abuse group, said: “Not to reply is outrageous. CRB checks are never the Bible, but they’re there for a reason.”

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “Just because somebody has a criminal record, it does not mean they cannot do a proper job – otherwise no criminal would ever be rehabilitated.”

But he added: “I don’t for the life of me see why the ambulance trust can’t come clean.

“At the end of the day, they are a public body and the public has a right to know.”

A SCAS spokesman said: “Patient care and safety remains our highest priority and since the introduction of CRB checks in 2002, all new appointments to SCAS are unable to commence patient facing duties until they have been CRB checked.

“Retrospective checks to-date have not been a legal requirement.

“We have been endeavouring to get everyone checked in the remainder of this year.”

 

QUESTIONS we put which have remained unanswered by SCAS:

  • How many have been given CRB checks and when?
  •  How many have completed CRB checks?
  •  Were staff who were employed prior to 2005/6 required to complete CRB checks?
  •  When were these handed out to staff who have been in employment prior to 2005/6?
  •  How many staff are having to have retrospective CRB checks?
  •  Why was this issue not addressed at the time of merger?
  • How many staff have come back with convictions on CRB checks?
  • Are frontline staff who are waiting for CRB clearance being stood down from contact with the public until their clearance comes through?
  •  Does SCAS want to apologise to the public for potentially placing them in danger with staff with criminal convictions being able to deal with the young and vulnerable?

 

Comments (9)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:53pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Gunslinger says...

As Andrew Smith says, a 'criminal conviction' by itself does not make a person unsuitable to work with the public - it depends on what the conviction was for, and how long ago.

I suspect it is quite impractical to stand everybody down while retrospective checks are carried out - that is, if you want a working emergency service.
As Andrew Smith says, a 'criminal conviction' by itself does not make a person unsuitable to work with the public - it depends on what the conviction was for, and how long ago. I suspect it is quite impractical to stand everybody down while retrospective checks are carried out - that is, if you want a working emergency service. Gunslinger

9:46am Fri 21 Sep 12

snert says...

Also, surely if a person has committed a crime and they've paid their debt to society, aren't they then entitled to be treated as any other person?

There are habitual offenders and those people will never hold a job down and will ultimately end up in prison but those sort of people rarely, if ever, get into jobs like this.
Also, surely if a person has committed a crime and they've paid their debt to society, aren't they then entitled to be treated as any other person? There are habitual offenders and those people will never hold a job down and will ultimately end up in prison but those sort of people rarely, if ever, get into jobs like this. snert

4:32pm Fri 21 Sep 12

ger elttil OX2 0EJ says...

Criminal records did not seem to Hinder Lord Archer or Jonny Aitkens careers. but then again one law for rich Tories, and one for the rest of us.
Criminal records did not seem to Hinder Lord Archer or Jonny Aitkens careers. but then again one law for rich Tories, and one for the rest of us. ger elttil OX2 0EJ

5:00pm Fri 21 Sep 12

Feelingsmatter says...

What is worrying, however, is how many people in jobs where they come into contact with vulnerable people haven't had any kind of check. Surely the ambulance service has to do CRB check every three(I think!) years, like most organisations providing a caring service? Does this mean that people can lie by omission about previous crimes? I thought that any convictions were automatically flagged up by the checks.

I agree that most people will have paid their debt, but in this case he murdered someone, so surely he isn't suitable for a job which involves being alone with vulnerable people, no matter how much he regrets his past?
What is worrying, however, is how many people in jobs where they come into contact with vulnerable people haven't had any kind of check. Surely the ambulance service has to do CRB check every three(I think!) years, like most organisations providing a caring service? Does this mean that people can lie by omission about previous crimes? I thought that any convictions were automatically flagged up by the checks. I agree that most people will have paid their debt, but in this case he murdered someone, so surely he isn't suitable for a job which involves being alone with vulnerable people, no matter how much he regrets his past? Feelingsmatter

7:09pm Fri 21 Sep 12

ger elttil OX2 0EJ says...

Feelingsmatter wrote:
What is worrying, however, is how many people in jobs where they come into contact with vulnerable people haven't had any kind of check. Surely the ambulance service has to do CRB check every three(I think!) years, like most organisations providing a caring service? Does this mean that people can lie by omission about previous crimes? I thought that any convictions were automatically flagged up by the checks.

I agree that most people will have paid their debt, but in this case he murdered someone, so surely he isn't suitable for a job which involves being alone with vulnerable people, no matter how much he regrets his past?
Well he done the job for 20 years, gaining promotions and accolades. Do you really think that he will start popping off his patients now, re-read your last paragraph, and think again. By your standards Maggie, John (I like peas) Major, Tory Blair, Call me Dave, and most other leaders are not qualified for a job either.
[quote][p][bold]Feelingsmatter[/bold] wrote: What is worrying, however, is how many people in jobs where they come into contact with vulnerable people haven't had any kind of check. Surely the ambulance service has to do CRB check every three(I think!) years, like most organisations providing a caring service? Does this mean that people can lie by omission about previous crimes? I thought that any convictions were automatically flagged up by the checks. I agree that most people will have paid their debt, but in this case he murdered someone, so surely he isn't suitable for a job which involves being alone with vulnerable people, no matter how much he regrets his past?[/p][/quote]Well he done the job for 20 years, gaining promotions and accolades. Do you really think that he will start popping off his patients now, re-read your last paragraph, and think again. By your standards Maggie, John (I like peas) Major, Tory Blair, Call me Dave, and most other leaders are not qualified for a job either. ger elttil OX2 0EJ

7:11pm Fri 21 Sep 12

ger elttil OX2 0EJ says...

Silly me, Feelingsmatter, i forgot to add that 99% of Murderers are first time Murderers, so should we employ nobody just in case?
Silly me, Feelingsmatter, i forgot to add that 99% of Murderers are first time Murderers, so should we employ nobody just in case? ger elttil OX2 0EJ

7:18pm Fri 21 Sep 12

Feelingsmatter says...

ger elttil OX2 0EJ wrote:
Feelingsmatter wrote:
What is worrying, however, is how many people in jobs where they come into contact with vulnerable people haven't had any kind of check. Surely the ambulance service has to do CRB check every three(I think!) years, like most organisations providing a caring service? Does this mean that people can lie by omission about previous crimes? I thought that any convictions were automatically flagged up by the checks.

I agree that most people will have paid their debt, but in this case he murdered someone, so surely he isn't suitable for a job which involves being alone with vulnerable people, no matter how much he regrets his past?
Well he done the job for 20 years, gaining promotions and accolades. Do you really think that he will start popping off his patients now, re-read your last paragraph, and think again. By your standards Maggie, John (I like peas) Major, Tory Blair, Call me Dave, and most other leaders are not qualified for a job either.
I do understand you point, but his latter behaviour has shown that he's unstable. I personally wouldn't want someone who is capable of murder to be alone with anyone who is vulnerable. I know this is a personal view, but the CRB standards are there for a good reason, and as a starting point for weeding out those who could be a risk to the public.

There's really no need to be facetious as I relish a good debate. I thought a lot before I wrote my comment, so no, I don't need to think again thank you :)
[quote][p][bold]ger elttil OX2 0EJ[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Feelingsmatter[/bold] wrote: What is worrying, however, is how many people in jobs where they come into contact with vulnerable people haven't had any kind of check. Surely the ambulance service has to do CRB check every three(I think!) years, like most organisations providing a caring service? Does this mean that people can lie by omission about previous crimes? I thought that any convictions were automatically flagged up by the checks. I agree that most people will have paid their debt, but in this case he murdered someone, so surely he isn't suitable for a job which involves being alone with vulnerable people, no matter how much he regrets his past?[/p][/quote]Well he done the job for 20 years, gaining promotions and accolades. Do you really think that he will start popping off his patients now, re-read your last paragraph, and think again. By your standards Maggie, John (I like peas) Major, Tory Blair, Call me Dave, and most other leaders are not qualified for a job either.[/p][/quote]I do understand you point, but his latter behaviour has shown that he's unstable. I personally wouldn't want someone who is capable of murder to be alone with anyone who is vulnerable. I know this is a personal view, but the CRB standards are there for a good reason, and as a starting point for weeding out those who could be a risk to the public. There's really no need to be facetious as I relish a good debate. I thought a lot before I wrote my comment, so no, I don't need to think again thank you :) Feelingsmatter

10:02am Sat 22 Sep 12

ger elttil OX2 0EJ says...

Feelingsmatter wrote:
ger elttil OX2 0EJ wrote:
Feelingsmatter wrote:
What is worrying, however, is how many people in jobs where they come into contact with vulnerable people haven't had any kind of check. Surely the ambulance service has to do CRB check every three(I think!) years, like most organisations providing a caring service? Does this mean that people can lie by omission about previous crimes? I thought that any convictions were automatically flagged up by the checks.

I agree that most people will have paid their debt, but in this case he murdered someone, so surely he isn't suitable for a job which involves being alone with vulnerable people, no matter how much he regrets his past?
Well he done the job for 20 years, gaining promotions and accolades. Do you really think that he will start popping off his patients now, re-read your last paragraph, and think again. By your standards Maggie, John (I like peas) Major, Tory Blair, Call me Dave, and most other leaders are not qualified for a job either.
I do understand you point, but his latter behaviour has shown that he's unstable. I personally wouldn't want someone who is capable of murder to be alone with anyone who is vulnerable. I know this is a personal view, but the CRB standards are there for a good reason, and as a starting point for weeding out those who could be a risk to the public.

There's really no need to be facetious as I relish a good debate. I thought a lot before I wrote my comment, so no, I don't need to think again thank you :)
I wasn't trying to be facetious, but I am annoyed that this man who proved himself over many years to be no threat, has his life destroyed like that. It is surely no incentive to people that really want to be educated and rehabilitated in prison knowing that the best they can hope for is stacking shelves or pulling pints. Either one is rehabilitated or not. Obviously you would never allow a pedo to work with or even be near children, but if ex-cons that committed other crimes have proved themselves then they should be given the chance. Otherwise the whole ethic of rehab in our prisons comes to a grinding halt.
[quote][p][bold]Feelingsmatter[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ger elttil OX2 0EJ[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Feelingsmatter[/bold] wrote: What is worrying, however, is how many people in jobs where they come into contact with vulnerable people haven't had any kind of check. Surely the ambulance service has to do CRB check every three(I think!) years, like most organisations providing a caring service? Does this mean that people can lie by omission about previous crimes? I thought that any convictions were automatically flagged up by the checks. I agree that most people will have paid their debt, but in this case he murdered someone, so surely he isn't suitable for a job which involves being alone with vulnerable people, no matter how much he regrets his past?[/p][/quote]Well he done the job for 20 years, gaining promotions and accolades. Do you really think that he will start popping off his patients now, re-read your last paragraph, and think again. By your standards Maggie, John (I like peas) Major, Tory Blair, Call me Dave, and most other leaders are not qualified for a job either.[/p][/quote]I do understand you point, but his latter behaviour has shown that he's unstable. I personally wouldn't want someone who is capable of murder to be alone with anyone who is vulnerable. I know this is a personal view, but the CRB standards are there for a good reason, and as a starting point for weeding out those who could be a risk to the public. There's really no need to be facetious as I relish a good debate. I thought a lot before I wrote my comment, so no, I don't need to think again thank you :)[/p][/quote]I wasn't trying to be facetious, but I am annoyed that this man who proved himself over many years to be no threat, has his life destroyed like that. It is surely no incentive to people that really want to be educated and rehabilitated in prison knowing that the best they can hope for is stacking shelves or pulling pints. Either one is rehabilitated or not. Obviously you would never allow a pedo to work with or even be near children, but if ex-cons that committed other crimes have proved themselves then they should be given the chance. Otherwise the whole ethic of rehab in our prisons comes to a grinding halt. ger elttil OX2 0EJ

2:09pm Sat 22 Sep 12

Feelingsmatter says...

Problem is, he went on to commit another serious crime though. Perhaps he hadn't laid his own ghosts and this was why he went on to drive an ambulance service vehicle while drunk. I do understand your point about rehabilitation, but surely rehabilitation would include going on to live an honest life, and he hasn't.
Problem is, he went on to commit another serious crime though. Perhaps he hadn't laid his own ghosts and this was why he went on to drive an ambulance service vehicle while drunk. I do understand your point about rehabilitation, but surely rehabilitation would include going on to live an honest life, and he hasn't. Feelingsmatter

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree