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Tory councillors resist proposals to enforce mandatory criminal record checks

Councillors have argued that recent proposals to make it mandatory for them to have a Basic criminal record check should be abolished as it is an unnecessary measure.

Saima Afzal, councillor and chairman of Blackburn with Darwen council’s standards told The Lancashire Telegraph that she would be against all proposals for a criminal record check to be mandatory for the Conservative group and deemed it as unwarranted when the council already has a code of conduct in place.

Other members of the standards committee concur with this opinion and assert that as it is not legal at present for councillors to obtain a criminal record check, practices should not change when the code of conduct works autonomously.

A basic check can be used for any position or purpose and contains details of convictions and conditional cautions considered to be unspent under the terms if the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Councillor Maureen Bateson, an executive member for children, young people and education, also told The Lancashire Telegraph that she could not see the problem with having to obtain a criminal record check and can only assume that it is a financial concern causing the opposition if members were expected to pay for themselves.

She added that the proposals can only be a positive movement as councillors spend a lot of time liaising with people in the community and therefore meet many vulnerable groups. She considers it important that the public “felt confident the people they talk to from the council are safe”.

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