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Lancs driving instructors in criminal record shock
8:20pm Tuesday 9th September 2008 in News
HUNDREDS of Lancashire driving instructors may never have received criminal record checks, it has emerged.
The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has revealed to the Lancashire Telegraph that it is in the middle of checking the background of the UK’s 44,700 approved driving instructors.
It means that hundreds of the 2,100 driving teachers in Lancashire may not have been vetted - meaning even some sex offenders could be working as instructors.
Two East Lancashire MPs labelled the news “surprising” and “shocking”, and called on DSA bosses to tighten up the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks process.
Hyndburn MP Greg Pope said: “I am pretty shocked by this because I had always assumed that driving instructors, who work mostly with young people, would be CRB-checked.
“I welcome that they are now doing it but it seems to be long overdue.
“They are often going to be in a car with teenage girls so I am very surprised they have not been vetted.”
Nigel Evans, MP for Ribble Valley, added: “There will be a fair churn in the profession and people will be entering it on a regular basis so they need to ensure that proper checks are taking place.
“I am surprised and I think driving instructors will be surprised it has taken the DSA so long to get to grips with it.”
In response to a Freedom of Information Act from the Lancashire Telegraph, the DSA revealed that it was “in the process” or carrying out CRB checks on Lancashire’s 2,114 instructors.
It said it could not estimate how many were still waiting to be vetted but checks so far had not returned any instructors on the Sex Offenders Register.
However, nationally, only 58 per cent of instructors have so far been checked.