Readers will recall that the British Gazette has voiced concerns vis-à-vis insurance companies refusing to insure those with criminal records – even when the offence is minor and/or a while ago. We believe it is important that insurance companies and employers should allow ex-offenders “to put the past behind them” and to start anew. This may appear as being “soft on criminals” to some but if as a society we want ex-offenders to keep on being ex-offenders – with the emphasis on “ex” – impediments such as being unable to gain employment, obtain insurance and loans will conspire against this.
The private sector is not the only one at fault. A glaringly and monumentally unjust decision has just been taken by the miserable and petty minded “jobsworths” at the East Midlands Ambulance Service. These blinkered cretins have sacked a volunteer ambulance driver, a certain Mr. Denis Leadbetter of Staveley, near Chesterfield in Derbyshire. Mr Leadbeater had worked for East Midlands Ambulance Service for nine years without a single complaint. He used his Ford Galaxy people carrier to take patients to and from Chesterfield Royal Hospital, Sheffield hospitals and across the region. For this public service he received no salary – only expenses to cover his motoring costs.
Why then was he dismissed? Because of a criminal records check. When Mr. Leadbetter started nine years ago this was not needed but now is. Mr. Leadbetter had two convictions – in 1972 and 1974.
Former miner Mr Leadbeater said: “I was convicted for tampering with an electric meter and a burglary many years ago but I’ve moved on since then. I was dealt with by the law and and I’m an honest man now. This all happened a long time ago but it seems I just can’t get away from my past. They told me at a meeting they were sorry to let me go but they had no choice. I’m gutted because I worked well and really enjoyed helping. It was a satisfying job and now I’m worried I’ll never be able to volunteer again. I am not a dangerous man and I can’t see how I could put patients at risk. I loved the job and I felt I was serving the community by helping out sick people. I’m also worried what people in my community think now this has happened. It’s blackened my name for a mistake I made a long time ago.”
A spokesman for the East Midlands Ambulance Service said that patient safety was their priority, and added: “This is the reason we ended Mr Leadbeater’s membership of our voluntary car driver scheme. We understand his disappointment but are satisfied the action taken is appropriate.”
British Gazette comment: This spokesman is spouting puerile and offensive nonsense that is deeply insulting to Mr. Leadbetter. Mr. Leadbetter has successfully put his unfortunate past behind him a very long time ago and clearly posed no risk to the public. The British Gazette calls upon Mr. Paul Phillips, Chief Executive and/or David Farrelly, Director of Human Resources at the East Midlands Ambulance Service to see that Mr. Leadbetter is given a fulsome appolgy and be asked if he would condescend to be reinstated.