Criminals who identify as transgender can use a “loophole” in the UK’s background check system to hide their previous convictions when applying to work with children, according to a report by a watchdog group.
The September report by Keep Prisons Single Sex found that men who identify as women and vice versa can withhold their real names and sex at birth when applying for positions in schools, nurseries, and hospitals.
This is due to a special process in the UK’s Disclosure and Barring Service system set up for transgender applicants that prevent employers from checking on their previous identities and criminal history.
“Hence, the DBS check process contains safeguarding loopholes, which may be exploited by those wishing to cause harm to children or vulnerable adults,” the report states.
From the report “DBS Checks and Identity Verification: Safeguarding Loopholess Created By CHanges of Identity“:
The DBS grants enhanced privacy rights to individuals who change their gender when changing their identity. These are exceptional rights that are only granted to individuals from this group. The result is that identity verification is compromised, meaning that there is no guarantee that the information returned during the check and displayed on the certificate will be accurate or complete.
These exceptional privacy rights also allow an applicant who has changed gender to request that all their previous names are withheld from the DBS certificate that is issued. This right to conceal previous identities is not given to anyone else: disclosing previous identities is a key component of safeguarding and DBS certificates issued to all other individuals display all other names the applicant has used.
This means transgender criminals who want to conceal their crimes simply have to lie about their real names and sex to avoid detection.
“The current operation of the DBS regime means that identity verification is compromised and organisations requesting DBS checks cannot have confidence in the information that is disclosed,” the report states.
The report calls for the DBS check system to display sex assigned at birth, leverage the National Insurance system – the UK’s version of social security – and display of all names used for applicants to close the loophole.