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Finding out about your criminal record – Subject Access Requests and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

On the 25th May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) come into effect, changing the way that personal data is protected.

Your right to request information about your personal data will remain relatively unchanged. However, the previous fee of £10 for a Subject Access Request (SAR) has been abolished, meaning that SAR’s will now be free of charge.

So, with this in mind, if you want to find out what’s on your criminal record and what you need to disclose to an employer when applying for a job, what should you do?

You can either apply for:

  1. A basic Disclosure and Barring Service check
  2. A copy of your SAR

With SAR’s now being free of charge, you might assume that this is the best option available. However, it’s important to remember that what you see on your SAR will be different to what you’ll need to disclose to an employer. An SAR provides details of everything that’s held about you on the Police National Computer (PNC), it does not differentiate between spent and unspent convictions. If you’re not really careful you could easily find yourself disclosing too much to a potential employer.

You may be happy to go through your SAR and work out for yourself what’s spent and what’s not (you can use our disclosurecalculator to help you) but, if you would prefer to see exactly what an employer will see, then it’s always best to pay the £25 and apply for a basic check.

If you’re applying for jobs in the future that involve basic checks. In particular, if you think your conviction is spent and you’re planning not to disclose it to an employer.

  • If you’re applying for jobs involving standard/enhanced DBS checks.
  • If you want to know if something will be filtered and need to work it out.
  • If you want to find out what information the police hold about you.

For more information

  1. For practical self-help information – More information is available on police records – subject access requests and basic DBS checks
  2. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline.


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Photo of Helpline lead, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Helpline lead

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