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BBC paid criminal £40,000

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Despite serving a 14-month prison sentence for violence, the BBC and Channel 4 paid James Raven £40,000 a year to conduct surveillance work.

The corporation was criticized yesterday for its actions. James Raven, 44, was convicted on Thursday at Chester Crown Court. He was the ringleader of a masked gang who killed a drugs smuggler in a farmhouse in Tabley, near Knutsford, Cheshire, last summer.

Raven, together with accomplice, John Wilson, 54 of Glossop Derbyshire will serve a minimum of 24 years.
Outside court Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones, who led the murder hunt, said the case highlighted the “serious danger of television companies employing convicted criminals as researchers”.

Commenting on the issue of employing ex-offenders, Chartered Institue of Personnel and Development (CIPD’s) Dianah Worman said to HRZone:

“One in three adult males under the age of 30 has some form of criminal conviction, but in the majority of cases these are for relatively minor offences, and are not followed by re-offending. The Home Office Offenders Index contains 7.3 million names – 20% of the working age population. With unemployment low, and a growing war for talent, it makes good business sense to consider employing ex-offenders, with proper checks and balances in place.

“Some employers have a legal duty to make sure they don’t employ people who have committed certain offences which might endanger children or vulnerable adults. Others have legitimate concerns about the risks involved in employing ex-offenders.

“However, once risks have been assessed and legal duties complied with, CIPD research finds most employers that have employed ex-offenders have found it a positive experience. Only 6% found it to be a negative experience. Out of 144 HR professionals who had employed ex-offenders, we found only eight who had seen any case of reoffending.”

In a formal statement the BBC said: “From time to time in cases of overriding public interest the BBC like other media organisations works with people who have had criminal convictions in order to expose criminality or serious wrong-doing. At the time of these offences James Raven was no longer working for the BBC.”

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Annie Hayes

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