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‘Overzealous’ Church vets 58,000 workers in a year

By Graeme Paton, Telegraph

Volunteer bell ringers, florists and organists risk being pushed out the Church of England because of a regime of “overzealous” criminal record checks, the Archbishop of Canterbury has been warned.

Figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that at least 58,000 people have been vetted by the Church in the last 12 months alone before being allowed to work in parishes or take back office roles.

More than 80 per cent of the checks carried out by individual dioceses were on volunteers, it emerged.

In many cases, vetting procedures are used in relation to adults working with children in Sunday schools and church crèches – a target of the government’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

But research also found that large numbers of volunteers with positions including organists, choir members, bell ringers, altar servers, welcome stewards and tour guides had also been subjected to criminal record checks.

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