'Back to square one' - Ex-convict's work return bid hit by moped hire snub
- Credit: Danny Adams
An ex-convict says he feels like he is "back at square one" after he was knocked back by a moped hire scheme which would give him more employment opportunities because his criminal conviction meant he could not be insured.
Danny Adams, who lives in Coltishall and is soon moving to Watton, is looking to rebuild his life after a stint in prison five years ago.
In June, he tried to sign up with Kickstart, a charity which hires out mopeds to those without other transport options.
“I went to do the application and there’s a section on the application which asks for your criminal background,” said Mr Adams.
“I thought being honest was the right thing to do nowadays, if you’re looking to move forward with things.”
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After completing his application, Mr Adams was asked by Kickstart to provide the date at which the offence was committed, and was later told that they could not accept him onto the scheme for insurance reasons.
“It was meant to be so that I could get a step in the right direction, and apply for work in the surrounding areas,” said Mr Adams, who said he had committed the crime of actual bodily harm (ABH) “about seven years ago” in North Walsham.
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After a couple of years on bail, Mr Adams said he was sentenced in 2016 to ten months in prison, but was released after five on account of his good behaviour.
“Since I've been out I've stayed on the right side of the law and not been in any trouble,” said Mr Adams.
Of his time in jail, he said: “It was a long time ago. I haven’t even thought of prison until I did the application and had to fill it in.”
Looking back over the course of his life, Mr Adams said: “It’s always been the case. Growing up, it was always silly little things, like I wasn’t able to go on a school trip.
“When I was younger, I did have a few behavioural problems, but I’d always be singled out. As I get older, I’m trying to leave all that behind.”
Following the decision, Mr Adams said: “I feel like my confidence has been knocked back, as a sufferer of depression this hasn't helped me in the slightest.”
He added: “I really felt for the first time in a long time that I was beginning to get somewhere and now I'm back to square one and refusing to leave my home due to the situation.”
Matthew Page, partnership manager at Kickstart said: “As a charity, all mopeds hired out to our service users are provided with insurance, and it is our insurance company’s policy and requirement that when a conviction, whether driving or criminal, is identified or disclosed by the applicant, they are referred back to our insurance company for approval.
“When referring an applicant to our insurance company, Kickstart Norfolk will forward a report outlining the conviction and the sentence given, we will also outline the benefits of providing a moped to the individual to allow them to move forward with their lives. On receipt of our report the insurance company will assess the risk.
“If insurance is declined, Kickstart Norfolk will review and, in some cases, appeal the decision made by our insurers. However, ultimately, we are governed by our insurers.
“Since 1996, Kickstart Norfolk has forged an excellent working relationship with all HMP establishments across our area of operation, and we provide mopeds to both serving prisoners in D Category establishments and ex-offenders in the community.
“Unfortunately, in this instance, our insurance provider declined to provide Mr. Adams with insurance.
He added: “As a charity, Kickstart Norfolk will continue to work with our insurance providers to ensure individuals with convictions have the best chance of being provided with the transport they need.”