DC Shepherd and DC Jarrett: “It has been a horrible few months”
DC Leanne Shepherd and DC Lucy Jarrett had no idea that their reciprocal child-care arrangement was illegal – until Ofsted came knocking.
The creeping invasion of the state into what was once the preserve of the family and the individual – the databases, the intrusive checks, the inevitably disastrous attempts by bureaucrats to engage in social engineering through the promiscuous use of shoddy legislation and lazily-devised “initiatives” – has become so much a feature of modern life that most of us no longer notice it. Until the day it comes knocking at the door.
For Detective Constable Leanne Shepherd, that day was Friday July 10 of this year when an official from the Office of Standards in Education (Ofsted) called at her home in Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire. A CID officer in Thames Valley Police, she was enjoying a day off with her daughter, Edie, just two-and-a-half years old, when the bell rang.
“She was really lovely, the Ofsted lady,” remembers DC Shepherd. “She said there was a report that I was child-minding illegally. When I asked her what she meant – was I committing a criminal offence or something – she said she wasn’t 100 per cent sure.”