A devoted mother was prevented from volunteering on a school trip this week because of severe delays in processing criminal record checks.

Sue Richards, 45, a radiographer and Cub Scout helper from Worcester Park, has already been vetted three times by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).

But Mrs Richards was still barred from joining a school excursion on Monday as her enhanced checks had not been completed after a two-month wait.

She said: “I am very angry and very upset because Cheam Common Junior School, where my son is a pupil, left on their week’s trip to an Outward Bound centre and I was supposed to be going with them as a volunteer helper.

“This has caused great inconvenience to the school, and inconvenience to myself and my little boy.

"I cannot believe why it has taken so long to process someone who has no criminal convictions and who has been CRB-checked for Cub Scouts, my work and another school.”

“It means the months of ‘investigating’ by police have been for absolutely nothing - what a waste of resources and time.

"We are encouraged to show support and help out with organisations that benefit our kids yet red tape is put in the way.”

The Home Office expressed regret that some enhanced disclosure checks were being delayed after a surge in applications to the CRB.

A spokeswoman added: “The CRB would like to apologise for these delays and it is working with all of its service delivery partners to address the issue as quickly as possible.

“Latest figures show demand fell from a peak in October of 388,452 applications to 294,348 in December.

"As a result of the increase in demand the CRB has taken on additional resources.”

It recently emerged that the CRB, launched in march 2002, had blocked nearly 7,000 convicted criminals from working in schools last year.

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