Critics attack new 'big brother' quiz aimed at identifying young criminals

Troubled children as young as five are to be tracked by authorities under "Big Brother" government plans to identify the criminals of the future.

Parents of children starting school are being asked to complete the 83 point questionnaire, which asks a series of personal and intimate questions about their lifestyle.

Critics attacked the questionnaire, being trialled by Lincolnshire Community Health Services, as an unprecedented intrusion into family life.

Authorities defended the School Entry Wellbeing Review forms, which are not legally compulsory to complete, with the information being held indefinitely on NHS databases for health workers to be able to access them.

The questionnaire asks whether their children lie, bully or steal how often they eat red meat, takeaway meals or drink fizzy drinks.

Details on children who show signs of disturbing behaviour will also be collected by teachers, carers and social workers.

Under the plans, part of “Healthy Child Programme” currently being developed in Whitehall, parents will also be asked about their own health and employment status.

The Department of Health wants to roll the scheme out nationwide next year.

Dylan Sharpe, of the Big Brother Watch pressure group, said: “This is incredibly intrusive and asks questions which, quite frankly, Lincolnshire Community Health Services do not need to know and have no right knowing.

“I would advise any parent receiving this to stick it straight in the bin.”

Latest government figures show more than 360,000 children have been convicted of crimes since Labour came to power, with nearly 30,000 aged under 13.

Lincolnshire Community Health Services defended the scheme saying the trial was intended to identify vulnerable children.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “This questionnaire will be an additional tool to safeguard and support all children's health and wellbeing.” (London Telegraph, 11.30.2009, Andrew Hough)

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