Following the appalling news this week of the conviction of 45 year Paul Stead, who used his position as head of the junior section of a Leeds fishing club to commit 23 sex offences against 7 victims dating back to the 1990s, the Angling Trust has called upon all angling clubs and organisations working with young people and vulnerable adults to ensure that all their officers involved in running activities are properly accredited and police checked.
Stead, who has now been jailed for 11 years, was operating as an unlicensed angling coach and the Angling Trust believes that this dreadful case has further reinforced the need for all coaches to be licensed.
The Angling Trust, as the National Governing Body for angling, strives to ensure that all young anglers are able to participate in the sport in a safe and friendly environment. The Trust works with organisations such as the NSPCC, Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) and Sport England to implement procedures to encourage clubs, fisheries and other organisations to appoint only those who have been appropriately trained and checked to work with young people and vulnerable adults.
The Angling Trust runs a coach licensing scheme which ensures that all licensed coaches hold an appropriate 1st4Sport coaching qualification, have undergone recognised and relevant Safeguarding and Protecting Children training, recognised First Aid Training and have also been DBS (formerly CRB) checked. Any concerns raised about a coach before and during their time as a licensed coach are investigated with the support of the aforementioned agencies and where appropriate the police and children’s services.
If coaches are not licensed, their suitability to work in environments with young people and vulnerable adults cannot be assessed. The Angling Trust urges all angling coaches to register for a Coach Licence and all clubs, schools and organisations using angling coaches to make it a requirement that they are licensed with the Angling Trust.
The Angling Trust Coach Licence has recently undergone a review and will be re-launching very soon. Prices will start from as little as £10 per year for members of the Angling Trust to get a licence to coach as a volunteer.
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said: “This case is absolutely horrific and our thoughts are with the young people who were the victims of this terrible abuse, and their families. Thankfully this is a very rare case in the angling community, but we must all do everything we can to try and stop anything like this happening in the future. The best way to achieve this is for all the organisations involved in angling to support the coach licence system. Whilst we actively encourage friends and families to take youngsters fishing, the bar has to be set high for angling clubs operating junior sections. Before parents entrust their children to people they don’t know particularly well they need to be confident that they will be coached by well-trained people who have had their criminal record checked.”