Labour demands explanation for sharp fall in numbers banned from working with children after sex offences

Fall follows overhaul of system of checks on adults who work with children to make it more proportionate

Deputy Political Editor

The number of people who are being banned from working with children following sex offences has dropped sharply in the last three years, Labour said last night.

Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, raised fears that youngsters were being put at risk and demanded an explanation from the Home Office over the drop.

The fall follows an overhaul of the system of checks on adults who work with children to make it more proportionate.

The reform meant that only people working in sensitive posts or have intensive contact with youngsters and vulnerable adults now have to face police checks.

Freedom of Information answers obtained by Labour showed the number of people barred from working with children as a result of committing sexual offences has fallen from 12,360 in 2011 to 5,758 in 2012 and to 2,800 last year.

The shadow Home Secretary has described the figures as “deeply troubling” The shadow Home Secretary has described the figures as “deeply troubling” (Getty)

And the number stopped working with children as a result of “intelligence sharing” with the police has fallen from 1,542 in 2011 to 471 in 2012 and 351 last year.

Describing the figures as “deeply troubling”, Ms Cooper said: “Parents want to know that if someone has committed serious abuse against children or has a history of grooming or sexual abuse, they will not be allowed to work with children. And schools, sports organisations and other groups need to be able to have confidence in the vetting and barring system.

“Child protection is immensely important and it must not be put at risk because of faulty legislation or failures by the Home Office system.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “It remains the case that anyone committing the most serious offences is still automatically barred from working closely and unsupervised with children.

“The coalition government introduced changes to the barring regime to apply common sense levels, but if someone applies to work with children any serious criminal records or police information are still considered when checks are carried out and, if necessary, they will be barred.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...