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AIBU to think this isn't the end?

(43 Posts)
FairCopGuv Sat 01-Oct-11 16:46:09

Name changing for obvious reasons..

I received a police caution for drugs a few years ago and haven't been able to get a job since then. My degree is very social-science related and I've been trying to break into the field with very little success as no-one will hire me, and nor can I gain volunteer experience because it comes up on my CRB check.

I always give full disclosure at the interviews, and the employers are always very understanding and positive, whilst viewing the CRB as a formality but then usually refuse me the job based on "company policy". The law states that I shouldn't have such a problem in obtaining a position in my field, given the length of time since the caution and my extremely good character prior and after the arrest. And yet I do. I cannot develop my career path in any way apart from (it seems) in retail. I cannot teach or even train further due to the police checks and being turned away.

I really am at the end of my tether on this one. Am I being unreasonable in tihnking that this shouldn't be so hard, that "offenders" should be given the chance to rehabilitate into working life? How would you feel working with a colleague who had a caution? Would you feel safe? Or am I being very unreasonable?

I need some straight talking before I start hitting the bottle very hard.

Conkertree Sat 01-Oct-11 16:55:32

What sort of job are you looking to get? I would have thought that many many employers would not have a problem with a caution, but obviously thats not been your experience.

I definitely think yanbu for a one off caution, and I definitely think that people who have made a mistake in the past (or served their time for a conviction as well) should not be prevented from getting a job.

Dont have any great advice though, sorry, as obviously you are already being upfront about it at interview stage.

FairCopGuv Sat 01-Oct-11 17:01:34

I'm focussing on counselling or on something therapy based.

Should have been clearer (sorry, definitely not drip feeding!) but I am able to get work but just not in my chosen field. So I am not sitting about moping, but am really making an effort to get out there, work-wise.

Obviously give disclosure at interview stage, am well spoken, well presented, well educated.. just keep hitting my head against this brick wall!

WilsonFrickett Sat 01-Oct-11 17:06:03

It's the CRB check that's the stumbling block then OP?
Are there any jobs in your field that don't need CRB? Or any aligned careers that would use part of your skills but not need CRB?

Sorry, I know that sounds really basic, but sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees. I don't have any massively helpful advice other than I know someone in a similar situation and, while the impact on them has been different, it is very sad that a small mistake can have such major implications.

attheendoftheday Sat 01-Oct-11 17:13:12

Depends what you want to do for work, really. I'm a nurse and I wouldn't expect to work with someone with a prior drugs conviction, in other contexts I think it would be fine. If you're looking for a job in health or social care YAB unrealistic, if not unreasonable.

Sorry, but if you did the offence then part of the consequence for that is limiting the jobs you have access to afterwards. I think the responsibility lies with the person breaking the law, not the employers reacting to the offence.

AuntieMonica Sat 01-Oct-11 17:14:22

I thought many counselling or user services would welcome your knowledge of drug culture and would embrace you as an employee due to the experiences you've had, especially as you've been able to turn your back on it!

where have you tried for employment (if that doesn't give out too much personal info that it)

Conkertree Sat 01-Oct-11 17:35:45

Auntie monicad point is exactly what I was thinking - dh works in a field where some of the jobs are actually more suitable for people with some sort of first hand experience of drug/alcohol misuse. Would have thought that with counselling, some personal experience (however small given that you got a caution and not a conviction) would probably come in useful.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 01-Oct-11 17:58:32

OP... Could you get some specific feedback, from those companies who refuse you due to 'company policy' as to how you can improve your prospects? It does seem harsh to me; no chance of 'rehabilitation of offenders' yet everybody seems to pay lip-service to it.

If those companies have a supposed 'open door' policy then it's reasonable to think that they would consider each case on its own merits... you just need to find out what the pinch-point is. Theres something in your history that's specifically preventing you from getting the jobs and if you're getting through on your application form - you need to find out what it is.

Can the police help advise you on this, do you think?

ragged Sat 01-Oct-11 18:11:21

I am not surprised at all with your experience, OP. Prejudice against people with anything on their CRB check is very strong, ime, on interview/management committees. The CRB code of conduct is a joke, imo. 20% of the population has some kind of criminal record, it's ridiculous to make all those people unemployable.

Am not a careers counsellor... Without knowing what area you want to work in... but you might have more luck working (or volunteering) in a drug counselling related job, because lots of people working there have personal experience with drugs, it's why they have credibility with their client base. It might not be that close to where you want to go, but I am thinking it's a start. It's easier to get a job when you have a job, so perhaps any position where you don't have to disclose is a good bet, too.

fuckityfuckfuckfuck Sat 01-Oct-11 18:14:50

There's no way that 20% is an accurate statistic, surely? shock

ImperialBlether Sat 01-Oct-11 18:16:03

Are you including speeding tickets, ragged, in your figures there? Parking fines? Feet up on the train seat?

Sorry, I really disagree that 20% of the population has a criminal record.

Firestone Sat 01-Oct-11 18:25:39

I'd also suggest looking at drugs/alcohol advice or supported housing with homeless adults both fields I work in/have worked in and recruited into and a drugs caution some time ago, that was mentioned openly at interview wouldn't phase me or cause me to reject someone. There's a rehab unit near me where almost all the workers are former service users, many of whom have histories of multiple police cautions/convictions.

Good luck

ragged Sat 01-Oct-11 18:53:51

tbh, I thought off the top of my head it was more like 1/3 of adults had criminal records. I did have a really good link for this, one of the anti-discrimination websites... "Criminal" record means illegal not unlawful convictions, arrests or cautions. So doesn't include parking fines, fixed penalty notices, or speeding tickets (those are civil offenses, not criminal).

Agcas says there are 4.5 million ex-offenders in the UK. Recruiter.co.uk says 17% of the population age 17-52 in 2006 had a criminal conviction. I think those are just the ones who went to court in some kind of way. It's when you include cautions, arrests and investigations that the figures soar. Remember, Ian Huntley did not have any criminal convictions, either, that's why the CRB check is so indepth now and includes all the cautions and arrests, and charges, even if they were later dropped & you used to not have to declare them after a while. Even if you only went with 4.5 million, that would suggest almost 10% of the adult population.

Duncan Ballantyne has a criminal record, btw.

ragged Sat 01-Oct-11 18:58:25

"...a third of men and around a quarter of the population of working age have a criminal record"... (Nacro)

troisgarcons Sat 01-Oct-11 19:01:43

20% of the population has some kind of criminal record, it's ridiculous to make all those people unemployable

It only makes them unemployable with vunerable people. It doesnt stop them working in a shop or an office. Banks and insurance companies and the like run credit checks on potential staff.

ragged Sat 01-Oct-11 19:09:57

There are some great statistics and links on this thread.
Apologies: I did find somewhere that said 20% hence my quick typing either, but that was obviously poor info, an underestimate.

Contrary to what that thread said, though, conviction for failure to have a tv license is NOT a recordable offense; so whilst dealt with in the criminal courts, and failure to pay the fine can put you in prison, the offense of no TV license shouldn't (nowadays, at least) come up with a CRB check.

toddlerama Sat 01-Oct-11 19:13:22

Exactly troisgarcons. I would imagine more than 20% of the population are unsuitable for working with vulnerable people. May not be the same 20%, but perhaps you will have to resign yourself to a different career path.

featherbag Sat 01-Oct-11 19:14:52

attheendoftheday, it's a little naive to think there are no nurses out there with a slightly less than spotless past! A nurse I trained with was accepted onto the course with a caution for possession of a class b drug 2 years previously. She got a staff nurse post at the same hospital as me on qualifying, and is an excellent nurse. OP, can I ask exactly what the offence was, how old you were/are now and what jobs you're applying for?

pigletmania Sat 01-Oct-11 19:15:05

atthendoftheday that's a bit harsh. So you make a mistake and are penalised for it for the rest of your life hmm. Op has said that she wants to be a counsellor, I think she could use her experience to help others mabey in the fields of drug/alcohol addiction. Not all health and social care jobs are cut off from her, there are still others that could use her life experience to help others who are in the same position.

staylucky Sat 01-Oct-11 19:16:44

Does a Police caution have a limited lifespan on your record? As it's not a conviction and just a warning could it be possible to speak to police/some other suitable authority about removing from your file given your complete turnaround in life and the harm it's doing to your chosen career? Sorry if that's a naive suggestion?? I had a police caution as a child (14
shoplifting) that I'm aware has never shown up on my adult crb's so wondering if these things hang around forever??

pigletmania Sat 01-Oct-11 19:18:25

I am sure many health professionals do not have a spotless past, as one poster highlighted. People should be given within reason the chance to rehabilitate

ragged Sat 01-Oct-11 19:18:35

It doesn't work like that in reality, 3Garcons. I've been on interview panels & even if you nicely quote the CRB Code of Practice to the others, it's obvious that no one (else) intends to actually follow it. One of the links I had above (forget which) found that 75% of employers wouldn't take on somebody with a known criminal record even if their business had nothing to do with vulnerable people/trust, etc.

People are enormously prejudiced against criminal records. One caution, even a teenage one, for being drunk & disorderly... assault (Duncan Ballantyne's crime)... shoplifting... enticement to racial hatred (even if the people of other colour were kicking your head in at the time)... those stick with you for life, leads to the stress OP is now experiencing. I mentioned this before; 10yo DS got duffed up in the skate park by two 13yo boys. The option was put to me to press charges for assault & I flatly refused; I won't be responsible for blighting the boys' job chances for life on the back of a stupid 3 minute altercation/misunderstanding in the park that resulted in no worse than bruises.

Fuck me, this is funny. I thought I was turning into a raving looney closet right winger, but I'm flaunting my true liberal pinko colours now, aren't I? wink

practicallyimperfect Sat 01-Oct-11 19:23:05

I am a teacher and have worked with a teacher who has a police caution for possession of class a substance when they were younger. It showed on crb, but they are so good and it was deemed enough in past that they were employed.

woollyideas Sat 01-Oct-11 19:24:20

Well OP, attheendoftheday's attitude says a lot about the unforgiving nature of some people. She obviously expects you to pay for your misdemeanour for the rest of your life, regardless of how you've chosen to live your life since. Maybe you've just been unlucky and had people like that on your interview panel... In any case, I really hope you find something soon.

What is so stupid is that this sort of difficulty in finding work could easily lead people to decide it's not worth bothering to stay on the straight and narrow. If people can't find legitimate work, they may have to look elsewhere eventually. No wonder so many people reoffend.

purplepidjinawoollytangle Sat 01-Oct-11 19:27:55

I would be sceptical that a single caution would have that much impact on your employability, OP. Can you give us some more information?

CRB check results are subject to confidentiality, and an employment decision should only be made if the offence is directly linked to the job you're interviewing for. I wouldn't have though it'd be relevant at interview, just disclose on the relevant form? Maybe get a friend to help you practice interview techniques...

FWIW I work with vulnerable people. I have MH issues, and was employed in my current role despite disclosing them at interview (the interview was while I was in the throes of PTSD and I had to explain a gap in employment)

Finally, is there any voluntary work you could do that requires a CRB check to enhanced level? It's the old story of "got to have one to get one" wink

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