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"Wargames Clubs & Protection of Children" Topic

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Jemima Fawr20 Jul 2009 8:11 a.m. PST

I'll see what I can find out. My girlfriend is a solicitor and know a great many people who work in the child protection field. If there really is a need to be concerned (and I think that there already certainly is as far as club officers are concerned – even without the 2010 regulations) it might also be something worth publishing as an article in the national wargames press (though I don't have anywhere near enough knowledge to do that).

KatieL20 Jul 2009 8:16 a.m. PST

"What is the situation with wargaming shows? "

There is an unofficial interpretation of "regular" as being >once a month.

So, as long as you don't go to more than (say) half a dozen shows a year, you don't need one.

Traders, who go to one a weekend… Yeah… Probably going to have to get one…

Personally, I can see under-18s being banned from clubs and shows.

Now, bear in mind here, this isn't just wargaming. This is all sorts of hobbies. Re-enactors. The sealed knot. Traders who go to dolls house shows. Car booters…

Yeah. That's going to be long list of people needing clearing.

Jemima Fawr20 Jul 2009 8:17 a.m. PST


My 2ic on the squadron (who was also the guy who used to give me lifts to wargames years ago) is also in the SK and he tells me that their regiment's 'management' already have CRB checks for not only working with children within the organisation, but also with the children who come to the events. They're also looking closely at the 2010 legislation.

Jemima Fawr20 Jul 2009 8:22 a.m. PST


Traders?! Does everyone who works in a shop need CRB'ing?!

I can understand it with GW, as they're effectively running a children's club and I could also understand companies who employ youngsters or vulnerable adults, but checking every employee who might serve a youngster seems WAY over-the-top…

But then, why am I surprised…? :o(

Re the numbers; the CRB itself states that roughly one-quarter of the population (i.e. 15,000,000 people) will need to be checked, which is indeed a long list.

Guthroth20 Jul 2009 8:23 a.m. PST

Oh, many of us have CRB's anyway for school talks etc – as it happens I renewed mine last weekend – but that's a choice thing at the moment.

We seem to be heading for a situation where all club officers will be requirted to have one as well. Is that the minimum you see coming out of this ?

Gwydion20 Jul 2009 8:28 a.m. PST

'Like most of Labour's knee-jerk laws,'
Why 'Labour'? out of interest? ALL laws made in haste by whatever party are usually bad laws – dangerous dogs legislation 1991 Act and the ban on handguns were both introduced by the Conservative Party and fail in their aim whilst penalising legitimate owners. Can we get off the anti-Labour bandwagon please.
I agree the CRB legislation is flawed but don't see it as a party political issue.

AppleMak20 Jul 2009 8:28 a.m. PST


As far as I am aware, there is existing legislation that officers in clubs that have access to minors must have a check. I can recall this happening in a drama society I was the treasurer for many years ago. So, all officers should have a CRB, even if it seems they might not have direct contact with kids.

The other areas are more grey. I also wondered about the wargame shows, as there is a distinction between frequency "at the same venue" which should preclude a trader going to many different shows in a season. If there was a regular event (say every month) then it seems clear they need a CRB, but if it's a different place every month (or even every week) I think they don't need one.

BUT … I am not a lawyer!

Guthroth20 Jul 2009 8:33 a.m. PST

Picture the scene ..

13yr old spotty GW gamer walks into shop – "What colour paint do I need for Ultramarines mate ?"

GW Staffer- "Sorry I can't advise you as I don't have a valid CRB. I'll have to get the manager … "

God save us please !

AppleMak20 Jul 2009 8:34 a.m. PST


Re the numbers; the CRB itself states that roughly one-quarter of the population (i.e. 15,000,000 people) will need to be checked

And, some of them will need multiple certificates, so if we assume 20,000,000 certificates at 64 each = 128,000,000 for the tax man and IT company to share. Nice work if you can get it.

Connard Sage20 Jul 2009 8:34 a.m. PST

Why 'Labour'? out of interest?

Because they've been in government for the last 12 years

This ought to be on the Fez, but NeuLabor have quite a record

Since 1997, an average of 2,685 laws have been passed every year a 22 per cent rise on the previous decade.

Read more: link

Sorry it's from the Mail, it was the first hit



Gwydion20 Jul 2009 8:37 a.m. PST

Or even 1,280,000,000

Gwydion20 Jul 2009 8:38 a.m. PST

It's from the Mail – I rest my bandwagon.

Connard Sage20 Jul 2009 8:40 a.m. PST

Suit yourself. It's a matter of record. If you want to be an apologist for the idiots feel free to carry on, I won't try to curtail your freedom of expression

KatieL20 Jul 2009 8:41 a.m. PST

"Does everyone who works in a shop need CRB'ing?!"

Yes. Regular contact with children. I don't see any exemption for "unless it's in a shop".

AppleMak20 Jul 2009 8:41 a.m. PST


Or even 1,280,000,000

My God you're right. I should have spent less time in the hay field with Jenny when I was 16, and more time at my lessons ;-)

Gwydion20 Jul 2009 8:42 a.m. PST

I said I don't see it as a party political issue – bad law is bad law whoever makes it. I wouldn't defend New Labour if you paid me – they're far too right wing.

Gwydion20 Jul 2009 8:44 a.m. PST

Apple Mak – I wish I had spent more time…no you never know who's listening! :^)

miffy science20 Jul 2009 8:44 a.m. PST

If it is not linked to paid employment / or for profit and if you can find a friendly umbrella body, there may be opportunities for cheaper CRBs.

Umbrella bodies must process a minimum no. of forms each year to retain their status. The current rate for a volunteer CRB from my local CVS is £4.00 GBP Up to this year it was free.

Might be worth a try.


borrible20 Jul 2009 8:47 a.m. PST

Since most cases of crimes against children are committed by family members and acquaintances who will check them?

KatieL20 Jul 2009 9:06 a.m. PST

"there may be opportunities for cheaper CRBs"

Still, it sort of makes joining the local wargames club a bit more of an aggravation than just paying the subs money over if you need to find a driving licence, passport, utility bill and faff about filling the forms in…

Jemima Fawr20 Jul 2009 9:29 a.m. PST

Here's a (semi) useful link:


Sadly it doesn't really answer the big questions, as it keeps referring to 'employees' and 'volunteers'. However, I've spoken to three lawyers this afternoon, who are all of the opinion that this will be the death-knell of mixed adult/children hobby clubs.

Jemima Fawr20 Jul 2009 9:37 a.m. PST


A neighbouring unit had a lad join them who was only sixteen, yet was already a bona fide convicted child-molester (convicted when he was thirteen for molesting a toddler). He was from another part of the country and was in care, yet his carers and the local authority thought it appropriate to allow him to join a youth organisation and chose not to tell anyone about his background…

Thankfully, someone informed the unit concerned and his carers responsible were told in no uncertain terms not to send him again.

Again, CRB did not stop him joining our organisation.

AppleMak20 Jul 2009 9:50 a.m. PST

RMD Interesting case – but surely the new CRB would explicitly identify him, that's the whole point. An exceptional case like this is being used as the basis for a law that affects 99.99999999999% of innocent people.

Architectus Militaria20 Jul 2009 9:54 a.m. PST

Cutting through all the above, I e-mailed the CRB this afternoon. my question being:

"I am one of a group of friends who meet once a week to… well, basically play with toy soldiers. Actually we consider that we recreate historical battles from the past using miniature figurines. We also have model making evenings where we exchange hints and tips.

Most of us fit into the 40 -60 age bracket, with one 20 year old. However recently a young lad started to come along who has just taken his GCSE's, and thus is under 18. We have met his father and his father has met us and he is happy to leave his son with us for the evening. He drops him off and collects him later.

What I will be our group's position with regard to the CRB rules in 2010?"

The response from the Criminal Records Bureau was as follows:

"With this situation, you may apply for CRB checks at either Standard or Enhanced Level for those in the group, or those who may be alone regularly with the young man.

However, if he is always part of a group, and there are always more than one other adult with him, it is not obligatory to apply for CRB checks for the adults in the group.

If things were to change e.g. one of the members regularly drives him home, CRB say that it may be advisable to have a CRB check carried out on those adults who carry out the task where they are alone with him.


Joanne Warner
m 07828 996029
Criminal Records Bureau.Co.Uk Ltd
PO Box 200 Royston Herts SG8 1AB
t 01763 295010 / f 01763 243790"

Given that this is the OFFICIAL line, it will hopefully clarify the issue a bit, and avoid wargames club members adopting the same knee jerk hysteria of which the UK Government has undeniably been guilty.

battleeditor20 Jul 2009 10:13 a.m. PST

Thank you for that extremely useful post, Architectus. I may well investigate this issue further as it clearly has wide-ranging ramifications for our hobby.


Connard Sage20 Jul 2009 10:24 a.m. PST

The response from the Criminal Records Bureau was as follows:

Interesting. Now if you would be good enough to peruse the news item I posted again


That seems to contradict the official line in your email.

Of course, it's probably bureaucratic arse/elbow syndrome

borrible20 Jul 2009 10:44 a.m. PST

@R Mark Davies
Not to be misunderstood.
I think those checks are Bleeped text.
Most children are abused by male family members and near male friends of the family.
Nobody would ever dare to call for crb checks for males with children in their family.

Empires at War Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Jul 2009 10:49 a.m. PST

The article does refer to being left alone with children in one paragraph. Anyway who do we believe, a journalist or an official of the department that runs the scheme?

Gwydion20 Jul 2009 10:50 a.m. PST

Architectus – thank you for more light than heat.
CS – Bureaucracy? or 'Print the legend' versus the offical who implements the law?

Connard Sage20 Jul 2009 10:53 a.m. PST

Anyway who do we believe, a journalist or an official of the department that runs the scheme?

Anyone who has "regular" or "intense" contact with children or vulnerable adults will by law have to sign up to the Vetting and Barring Scheme from November 2010.

"Regular" is defined as more than once a month and "intense" as three times a month or more, the Home Office says.

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: "These checks have been misunderstood. Authors will not have to register with the Vetting and Barring Scheme if they work with children once or infrequently.

"In fact, people working in schools will only be required to register if they work with children on a regular basis.

"This is because visitors to schools, even if they are supervised by a teacher at all times, are being placed in a unique position of trust where they can easily become deeply liked and trusted by pupils.

"We therefore need to be sure that this trust is well placed in case pupils bump into them out of school where a teacher is not present.

"While we fully accept that the vast majority of workers or volunteers would never abuse their position of trust, parents would not want adults working regularly with young children, even on a voluntary basis, without any sort of background check at all."

A Home Office spokesman said: "The UK already has one of the most advanced systems in the world for carrying out checks on all those who work in positions of trust with children and vulnerable adults.

"From October this year the new Vetting and Barring Scheme will ensure these regulations are even more rigorous."

Or the Home Office and the DCSF?

The Black Tower20 Jul 2009 11:10 a.m. PST

Yes the link is interesting but isn't that just schools covering their backs?

And isn't that just what the CRB have advised you to do?

Remember in the eyes of the law can you say that you are all together ALL the time?

Architectus Militaria20 Jul 2009 11:26 a.m. PST

As far as I am concerned, I would tend to believe someone from the Criminal Records Bureau who form an integral part of the operation of said scheme in preference to an Home Office spokesperson even though obviously the CRB is a part of the Home Office. In my opinion a spokesperson from the CRB is likely to be far more aware of the details of the relevant act than "an Home Office spokesperson" or for that matter, a journalist who MIGHT be whipping up a story.

Obviously the entire issue is one that needs to be studied carefully and if anyone cares to visit "the horse's mouth" then is the site to peruse.

Inevitably there will be differences between the requirements in a school and those of a small wargames club. And its equally obvious that the CRB is already aware of some of the inconsistencies that may arise in the implementation of said ACT.

Don't forget that the CRB procedure is also intended to protect the adult from false accusations as well as the "child" from harm. If in doubt it seems to be that as long as no one adult is left alone with an Under 18, then according to the e-mail response I received today 'from the horses mouth', then the CRB is a voluntary process not a mandatory one.

Can I suggest that if anyone has concerns, then in addition to raising them on TMP, why not make your concerns known to the CRB? Its some time before the changes to the CRB process will be implemented so take the opportunity to let the CRB know what you think.

Having justifiably brought a potentially valid concern into the TMP domain, the next stage surely is for everyone to do what they can to ensure that all viewpoints are at least advised to the authorities. I can't frankly imagine that too many (ANY) members of the CRB regularly check out the pages of TMP :-).

KatieL20 Jul 2009 11:49 a.m. PST

The CRB is not the ISA

They are two separate organisations who work together – the CRB is not authoritative on matters relating to the ISA.

Note that very particularly, ISA registration does not remove the requirement for CRB checks to be made where they are currently legally mandated.

Jemima Fawr20 Jul 2009 11:52 a.m. PST

Thanks AM,

That does clarify things from the CRB's point of view, but the legislation says nothing about it only applying if you are on your own with a child. All it says is that you must have clearance if you have regular contact with children and the more cautious elements in our society will take that to read 'in any and all circumstances', hence why bus drivers, committee members and invitd guests to schools are being asked to jump through such hoops.

It does however, clarify the situation requiring CRB clearance for drivers and those in sole responsibility of a bunch of youngsters (which certainly has happened to me at club). It really is very sad though that someone should have to say, "Sorry, but we'll have to bin tonight's game unless one of your parents can come in."

I must add that my opinions are not based on what I read in the papers (I don't read them), but on what my own local authority has told me to be the case, as well as what I have copied here from the CRB's own website.

But thanks very much indeed – in the UNLIKELY even that it ever becomes necessary, I can always shove your quote under their nose… ;o)

Jemima Fawr20 Jul 2009 11:54 a.m. PST


Yup, it was a crap example, but what I was trying to say is that molesters do slip through regardless – he (a convicted child molester) would not have been identified for another two years in our organisation until he turned 18 an in my earlier example, a neighbouring unit had one who HAD been CRB'd.

Jemima Fawr20 Jul 2009 11:56 a.m. PST


Great to see that you are taking an interest. Despite our reservations about knee-jerk legislation, this is happening and does need to be discussed by hobby as a whole (even if we then all decide to ignore it). It's clear that most people don't even realise that this applies to us, yet as AM's post shows, it clearly does in many situations.


AppleMak20 Jul 2009 12:13 p.m. PST


Actually on a reread, I misunderstood. Of course the "child" offender would not be caught under the guidelines which makes it even more absurd. What next? All children to have a CRB / ISA record as well?

(Hope no politicians are reading!)

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Jul 2009 12:45 p.m. PST

This is probably going to upset some people so let me state up front that this isn't the purpose of this query.

Does this new ruling (the one coming in next year) affect churches ? As I read the description posted earlier any mixed age congregation would count. I know that church youth workers have to have a CRB check now but how would this affect normal services ?

Do churches get another one of their 'blanket' opt-outs as they do in many other areas ?

To me, with no religious affiliations, they are just another 'common interest' group like wargamers so I don't see why they should be exempt, if they are.

I suspect that the reality will more closely approach the advice given by the CRB (quoted earlier) and that some measure of common sense will be applied but, speaking personally, I'd not be keen on mixed age wargaming until things get clarified by a few court cases.

It will even make me think about participation games at shows though I'm still OK with my visits to the local school – I've been assured of that by the head on advice from the LEA.

miffy science20 Jul 2009 12:51 p.m. PST

Any group is protected by their procedures rather than these checks. Adults should never be one to one with children.

The kids charity group I do voluntary work with have had two people taken away for inappropriate activities during my 13 years with them. No incidents happened at our group …. they were internet offences.

Both were repeatedly checked and came out clean.

Both had previous offences or accusations.

One had assaulted a child, years back, while on service in Germany, it was dealt with by the Army and never made it on his record !?!?!


JackWhite20 Jul 2009 1:12 p.m. PST

We've got to have a background check to cross the street here in the States.

Moving, breathing and turning around is a huge fine.

Giving people water is a crime punishable by a three-year prison term in some parts of the country, if the news is to be believed.

And don't forget that all-important seatbelt.

The Nazis . . . I mean conservatives . . . I mean Nazis have got to go.

Financiers, on the other hand, can steal eight hundred billion dollars and then skim one million dollar bonuses off the top for themselves, and not a word said.

What a world! What a world! (Wicked Witch of the West)


Jemima Fawr20 Jul 2009 1:44 p.m. PST


As far as I'm aware, churches do not have an opt-out and priests have been routinely checked for a while now. I have a unit chaplain and she had to undergo a CRB check like anyone else – she actually has NINE CRB clearances for all her work with various groups, which is frankly ridiculous. 'Portability' of clearaces might be the only benefit of the new legislation.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Jul 2009 2:19 p.m. PST


I wasn't thinking of the officials in the church (I'm aware that they need checks) but the congregation. If wargamers within a club need a check as well as the organisers then would the congregation need one too ? I see that as a nice issue to challenge the law on – it would be fun watching the debate !!!

One of the minefields in this legislation is the 16-18 group. They turn up on both sides of the fence – as Adults and as 'in need of protection'. In my previous job as a college lecturer I could see the implications coming and it was one of the many reasons I got out.

The responsibilities for checking and being aware of the status of every student in a group for which you are responsible are likely to reach down to individual staff who have neither the time nor the resources to deal with it.

GrotGnome20 Jul 2009 2:37 p.m. PST

Simply amazing! Here in New Zealand the previous Labour govt., who was also happy to crank out masses of pointless kneejerk – protect the stupidest people- laws, started to go down the same path for school helpers & volunteers. Someone in power actually looked at the likelyhood of this sort of thing happening and decided it simply wasn't worth it to continue. The schools didn't want it, the police didn't want it, the parents didn't want it but a bunch of hairy ugly "wimmin" without children did….

The school district in the UK who banned parents from attending a combined school sports day because they couldn't guarentee that "bad people" wouldn't be there made the news here – that is so…sad.

Ianrs5420 Jul 2009 2:37 p.m. PST

Probably not as bad as you think, most will be with responsible adults – ie parents.


StaffordGames20 Jul 2009 2:45 p.m. PST

I run a games night at my shop which is attended by all ages from 11-60.

If I have to get a CRB check I will just stop the games night thus depriving the kids of a place to play!

If I do get checked then anyone over the age of 18 who comes in to play will have to be checked as well, sheer madness.

If I have to be checked to even work in my own shop I will go mail order only, I have nothing to hide but don't see why I should pay £60.00 GBP just so they have somewhere to play.

Do grandparents who babysit their grandchildren have to be checked?

Another crazy ill thought through law from a party that is intent on destroying this country!

Stafford Games

Jemima Fawr20 Jul 2009 3:53 p.m. PST


Interesting point, but I imagine that the sunday school leaders, choirmaster and priests will all have had checks and that all the other kids present will normally be accompanied…?


No arguments here.


Judging by AM's post, that might be enough at least there's some sanity.


Sadly that's what it's come to, but judging by AM's post above, it should be ok provided you're not on your own with the kids.

Re gradchildren that's ok, but not if they're someone else's children/grandchildren who visit on a regular basis… Did I mention babysitters…?

Looking back at my own childhood, my gran would have needed a CRB check, because when our parents were at choir on a Thursday night, our neighbour's kids would come round and would be looked after by my gran, along with us. Now she would be regarded as a potential kiddy-fiddler. On a Friday, my mate's mum would take us all to cadets (we didn't have a car) and on a Tuesday, the above-mentioned mate would take us to wargames. All of these people (not to mention about half a dozen people at the wargames club, who would often run games with only us kids present) would now need CRB checks…

The Black Tower20 Jul 2009 4:06 p.m. PST

Well trust has been eroded, a female nursery worker has been found with inappropriate images on her computer.

The RC church has had many problems (and tried to cover it up)

And then there was the religious social workers who started the false Satanic abuse scare 10 years ago

Parents do not let their kids play outdoors like they did years ago, so the kids play on the computer in their room where thee is another dangerous world….

alien BLOODY HELL surfer20 Jul 2009 4:30 p.m. PST

I work at a college, we deal with kids from 14-18 (plus adults). I don't work 'directly' with them, but if someone has an IT problem I have to go fix it, thus working with people of that age group on a regular basis. It will be interesting to see how it effects us at work (and if work will pay for any required checks!).

alien BLOODY HELL surfer20 Jul 2009 4:32 p.m. PST

Or, more importantly, I have been with my missus 8 years, her kids are now 12 and 15. I am in effect a step-dad, but not in a legal sense. I often do the school pick up run, collecting them and another two kids (parents know, they know me and are happy) – I assume I'll need a CRB to help out with the kids now!

Last Hussar20 Jul 2009 4:45 p.m. PST

As regards making the law consider this from the top of the CRB site that was linked to

The VBS was established as a result of the Bichard Enquiry, which followed the Soham Murders, that recommended that all those who work with vulnerable groups should be registered

What do you think the Mail/Express/Sun etc would have printed if the the government had refused to implement these suggestions? Remember at the height of the 'paedo' scare a mob chased a paedoTRICIAN. (Ironically this having been a cartoon in Private Eye only 2 weeks before).

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