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Noah – Getting the right information and advice from Unlock meant that I could continue on my university course

Noah contacted our helpline to find out how he could get a caution removed from his criminal record.

Noah explained that he was in his second year at university studying for a degree in health and social care. He had scored highly in his first year exams and was looking forward to going into his 2nd year. However, prior to returning to university whilst on a night out, he and a group of friends had been involved in an incident outside a nightclub as they attempted to try and stop a fight.

Noah told the advisor:

“We didn’t know the two guys who were fighting but one was a lot bigger than the other and it looked as if he might get badly hurt. One of the club bouncers called the police and even though the fight was nothing to do with us, we were all searched and the police found a small quantity of cannabis on me. I was taken to the police station and received a caution.”

Noah immediately contacted his university to disclose the caution and within days had received a letter informing him that they intended removing him from the course.

Noah told the helpline advisor that when he accepted the caution, the police officer had told him that it was just a ‘slap on the wrist’ and he had no idea of the impact it would have on his future career. He wanted to know what he needed to do to have the caution removed from his criminal record.

The advisor explained to Noah that by accepting the caution he had admitted his guilt which made it extremely difficult to request that it later be deleted. However, the police are required to follow a series of steps before a caution is issued which includes explaining the implications of accepting one. Any failure to comply with these steps could give rise to a legal challenge; this can however be difficult to prove.

The advisor suggested that it may be worth Noah trying to appeal the university’s decision and discussed with him the procedure for doing this and what to include in any appeal letter. The advisor recommended that he mention that his caution would be filtered off his standard and enhanced DBS check after a period of 6 years and was unlikely therefore to stop him working in the health and social care field.

A month later Noah contacted the helpline with an update. His appeal had been successful and he was back on the course.

“I can’t thank Unlock enough for the advice they gave me. When I initially rang, I felt my only option was to try to get the caution removed. I now know that my chances of this happening were slim and I really appreciate the advisor being so honest with me and offering me a different route.” 


Notes about this case study

  1. Noah was supported by Unlock’s helpline.
  2. We have practical guidance on universities, colleges and education.
  3. Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

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