More than a quarter of people know nothing about the Criminal Records Bureau six years after its creation, a survey for the agency has found.
The Ipsos Mori study of 3,671 people, published yesterday, found two-thirds of respondents did not have a working knowledge of the CRB, which does not advertise itself in the media.
Gaps in knowledge
Most of those who had a great deal of knowledge of the CRB were those with first-hand experience of checks. Almost one in five did not think CRB records contained the most up-to-date and accurate information.
Despite the public’s weak knowledge of the CRB, support for the checks was strong with nine out ten people saying they were a good way of rooting out unsuitable people who apply for jobs to work with children and vulnerable adults.
However, one in ten said they did not believe the checks made it any less likely that someone with a criminal record history of abuse could get such jobs.
The Home Office said over 18m checks have been conducted since 2002 and claim this has stopped 80,000 unsuitable people getting jobs with the vulnerable. However, a parliamentary answer last November revealed that over 12,000 people had successfully challenged unsuccessful checks in preceding five years.
Recent backlog problem
The CRB revealed last month that it was facing a requests backlog for checks, due to an “unprecedented” demand for services since April 2008. In October, the agency received 22% more requests than it had predicted and it said that it had dipped below its target of processing 90% of checks within 28 days.
The CRB said it was investigating the causes of the backlog.