Charity worker granted judicial review over CRB check contents

A man has won the right to challenge a decision of Thames Valley Police to include allegations of which he had been exonerated in his Criminal Records Bureau check. The case is the first of its kind to go to judicial review.

John Pinnington lost his job working with autistic young adults after the charity he worked for received his enhanced CRB check, which contained unsubstantiated allegations of sexual misconduct.

The allegations were dismissed by the police and the charity. Pinnington received an apology from the Police Complaints Authority. However, the police still listed the false allegations on Pinnington's check.

When the charity Pinnington worked for was taken over, new management required all staff to supply CRB checks. Pinnington's check was returned with details of the false allegations and the charity terminated his employment.

Chris Saltrese, Pinnington's solicitor, criticised the police. "They can include information that's relevant, but we believe they should investigate to find out whether information is true or not before making a disclosure," he said.

"It appears in this case that the police just wanted to cover their own backs."

Saltrese said he thought that the role of the police should be more clearly defined and that the new Independent Safeguarding Authority, which will take over from the CRB later this year, would not be able to improve the situation.

"The legislation in this area is nonsense because it's trying to legislate for a risk-free society," he said. "Ultimately, vulnerable people will suffer when good people lose out on jobs."

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The police gather non-conviction data. When a person subsequently applies for a job requiring a disclosure, this information is considered. If an applicant thinks something on the disclosure is incorrect, they can have that information reviewed."

Mervyn Barrett, communications manger at crime-reduction charity Nacro, welcomed the case. "It's a huge problem," he said. "We know of numerous cases in which people have lost their jobs after disputed information is included in enhanced disclosures.

"Even where police specify someone was acquitted, employers will play it safe."

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