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UNIONS SAY 'NO' TO STAFF 'SNOOP' FOR POLICE PLAN

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Home Office proposals requiring council staff to tip off police about anyone they believe could commit a violent cr...
Home Office proposals requiring council staff to tip off police about anyone they believe could commit a violent crime have been leaked to The Times newspaper.

The proposals for 'multi-agency information sharing' come from Simon King, head of the Home Office violent crime unit.

The leaked document states: 'Public bodies will have access to valuable information about people at risk of becoming either perpetrators or victims of serious violence.'

It says when staff become 'sufficiently concerned' about an individual, that person should be should 'risk assessed' and, if necessary, referred for further attention.

Unison said the plan to place local authority workers, health and

charity staff under a legal obligation to provide the police with

information about service users would build a 'barrier of suspicion'.

National secretary for local government Heather Wakefield said:

'It should not be the job of health and council workers to be the eyes and

ears of the police and they already work in close partnership anyway.

'There are also huge civil liberties concerns about these proposals which

potentially build a barrier of suspicion between service users and service

deliverers.'

The GMB said the proposals went 'way beyond the duties of citizens and employees to co-operate with the police'.

National secretary for public services Brian Strutton said:

'If these proposals were enacted this would create the need for some form of reporting system. Council workers making reports would live in fear of recriminations. Reports could put employees at risk. There is no question that these proposals would give rise to very grave dangers for council workers.'

And Enfield LBC said the proposals smacked of Stalin's Russia.

Cabinet member for community safety Ertan Hurer (Con) said: 'It's deeply worrying that the government are thinking about asking council workers to snoop on their clients who have not committed a crime.

'When I heard reports of these proposals it sent a cold shiver down my spine - they smack of Stalin's Soviet Union. Not only do the plans compromise client confidentiality and will lose users confidence with social workers, it also places vulnerable people under surveillance even though they are innocent.

'I whole-heartedly agree with council staff passing on information they suspect would be liable of carrying out a terrorist act, but these proposals are a step too far. They dilute the cherished ancient English principal, enshrined in our law, of being innocent until proven guilty.'

Policy & politics

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