Thursday, May 17, 2007

Where has the trust gone?

A notice has gone up in my workplace requiring all coach drivers to provide 3 to 5 items of personnal identification to enable the company or Cardiff County Council to run a Criminal Records Bureau check on the employee. All because one of the driving duties involves a short school run. This school journey is operated on a service bus fitted with CCTV and the driver has no contact with the schoolchildren because a guide is employed by the council.

Every driver has to be checked with no exceptions. They are treating us like children and not to be trusted. Children should be taught by their parents and schools to be street-wise and cautious of other people. Coach drivers should not be viewed with suspicion and forced to prove their identities. All people should be assumed to be innocent until proven guilty.

What is the value of this identity? Very limited as the television show on Channel 4 the other night clearly demonstrated. Bennett Arron showed just how easy it is to make a new identity, even going as far as obtaining a new driving licence with his photograph on, bearing the name of ex-Home Secretary Charles Clarke. Therefore there is nothing to stop any PCV driver who is on the Sex Offenders Register from creating a new identity for himself and become employed on a school run.

What offends me about this whole identity and criminal record checking is that the trust of employees has gone, gone forever. It is awful feeling that having worked for the same employer for 10 years, clearly nobody is trusted anymore. To employ staff and then show that the state does not trust them is awful. This is in addition to the regular random alcohol breath testing and the provision to take saliva swabs from the driver's mouth.

What will happen next year? Maybe it will be compulsory DNA testing of all PCV drivers and the following year the fitment of embedded microchips under the skin to prove the identity of the driver. Time will tell in what is quickly becoming a big brother state.
My employer was insructed to ask all the 180 workforce to have a CRB check despite no school journeys being operated. Even those drivers who don't operate stage-carriage services had to get one done. It tends to be the fault of the local authority rather than the employer.
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