Kerb crawler aids young offenders

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A CONVICTED kerb crawler has been volunteering at city police stations as an ‘appropriate adult’ for young people in trouble, the Citizen can reveal.

Former probation officer Dermot Weir is currently “not being used” for the voluntary role while his suitability is being assessed.

It is understood Mr Weir PASSED a criminal record check more than a year ago to become part of the city’s Youth Offending Team, which has multi agency support from the council, social services, probation and Thames Valley Police.

It is not known whether the CRB check searched for all past convictions or only those relating to children.

Appropriate adults are called out when a child or teenager is arrested by police and no parent or guardian is available to help them.

Mr Weir has not been struck off the scheme’s official register but YOT has confirmed he is not being used at the current time.

Meanwhile the Citizen has learned he has spent the past five years as shareholder of a private fostering company, which helps children in need.

Latest Companies House records, filed in March this year, show Mr Weir owned 49 per cent of Linford wood-based Archway Care Ltd, a company set up to find foster placements for needy, neglected or abused children taken into local authority care.

In the past 12 months Archway, which works for councils all over the country, has received almost £200,000 from Milton Keynes Council alone. Since 2006 the council has paid the company almost £700,000

Archway has previously described Mr Weir as a ‘sleeping partner’ who has no involvement with the children or the day-to-day running of the company.

This week director Patrick Griffin said Mr Weir had now ceased to be a shareholder and was no longer receiving an income from the company. It is not known exactly when Mr Weir gave up his shareholding.

Mr Griffin told the Citizen: “I do not know if Mr Weir has a conviction for kerb crawling.”

Mr Weir was working as a probation officer in Milton Keynes when he was convicted for kerb crawling for prostitutes in Northampton’s red light district approximately nine years ago.

He immediately left his job. Later he became a member of the executive committee for Age UK, formerly Age Concern, and by 2006 records show he held 149 ordinary shares in Archway Care Ltd.

Ofsted, the authority responsible for regulating and inspecting fostering agencies, including Archway Care, told the Citizen it has no legal power over a shareholder’s interest.

A spokesman said: “Regulation only allows for Ofsted to review the fitness of any individual in the company who is a director, manager, secretary or an officer of the organisation and is responsible for the management of the fostering agency.”