Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Databases and child protection

Retired senior detective Chris Stevenson, who ran the investigation into the Soham murders, has an extremely sobering article in today's Times on why he believes new checks on the 11 million adults who have regular contact with children would not have made any difference in that case:
As a result of poor intelligence, [Ian] Huntley was appointed a school caretaker in Soham. Did that give him access to children? Yes, hundreds. Did he abuse them? No. In fact he reported to the headteacher that several teenage girls had made inappropriate comments. What Huntley did to Holly and Jessica was as bad as it gets, but did he come into contact with them through being a caretaker? Not exactly — he was caretaker of Soham Village College, a school for the over-11s. The two girls attended St Andrew’s Junior School. Different building, different caretaker. Huntley had contact with them because [girlfriend Maxine] Carr was employed at St Andrew’s as a classroom assistant. She worked in a class with Holly and Jessica, who both liked her. Holly’s mother sent Carr a box of chocolates on the last day of term to say thank you for helping her daughter.

Before trying to find policy solutions, it always helps to be sure exactly what the problem is. Headmaster Anthony Seldon adds:
Subjecting everyone in sight to checks, placing surveillance cameras everywhere, subjecting every institution to intimidating inspections, hemming in all relationships with contract and law, and driving everyone mad with bureaucracy is categorically not the way forward.


Anonymous said...

Hi. Are you my cousin Ian Brown from Chelmsford? Write me. Ralph Trayler carxprt@pacbell.net Lost you some time ago.

Coda said...

I am not your cousin Ian but this may be of interest:
Will blog on this later.