It turns out that around 10% of those identified by Criminal Records Bureau as criminals when undergoing background checks before taking up jobs involving children or vulnerable adults weren't actually criminals. That's around 2,700 people who presumably didn't get jobs they were perfectly suitable for because the Home Office can't keep accurate records. Given the problem they're having with false positives, you have to wonder whether they are - for all their 'we are erring on the side of caution' shtick attempts to justify smearing people with the potential child molester brush - having a similar one with false negatives. And this is the lot we're supposed to trust to deal with, at great expense one might add, ID cards. All systems contain the potential for error, and some of that has to be lived with, because the costs of not doing so are so great: after all, there are other jobs, whereas abuse not only cannot be undone but is a rather more serious harm than short-term unemployment. But 10% strikes me as very high, incompetently so.
Update, 23/05/06: Jarndyce makes explicit the connection I was particularly interested in here.