THE risk-averse approach to employment began well over a decade ago while I was working in North Lanarkshire.

At the time, I knew two women working for the council, who, in the process of changing jobs, found that crimes they had been involved with 30 years ago were raised in meetings. If these women had not already worked for the council, they were informed, they would never get the jobs.

Today, things are worse, even more irrational and authoritarian, with what is called by the police, “Other Relevant Information”, or “soft information”, being sent to prospective employers as part of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme.

Through the often-cowardly obsession with making everything safe, we now have a situation where the police pass on all sorts of “information”, or what could better be described as a form of paranoid tittle tattle, as a form of best practice. Irrelevant information that can destroy an individual’s chance of working in myriad jobs is passed on in a way that would make the Stasi proud.

You don’t even have to have done anything for our caring police force to pass on information. You can be found NOT guilty of an offence: “Pass it on”. A family member can have criminal convictions: “Pass it on”. Allegations made against you that are then dropped: “Pass it on”.

The Howard League Scotland has raised concerns about what is happening and about the fact that privacy laws appear to be being broken by the police. But hey, better safe than sorry, especially when we need to care for “vulnerable groups”.

Nobody knows how many people have been refused work in Scotland due to this caring authoritarianism. In England and Wales, a MORI report found that 37 per cent of withdrawn job offers were because of information on police files, which had not been proven in a court of law.

Where are the politicians up in arms about what is going on? Where are the liberals demanding that basic rights and privacy be protected? Where is the Labour Party, demanding an end to this brutal practice that will inevitably target the poorer sections of society who are more likely to have some run in with the police?

At least in the past when I complained about this it was about actual convictions. Today, the information being passed on is beyond a joke. The danger being that once passed on, many, possibly most, employers will feel the need to play it safe and bar the person from working.

This is a form of blacklisting, far more serious and important than many, possibly most of the issues that excite politicians today. But I guess those on the blacklist aren’t defined as vulnerable, so who cares.