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“Computer says no” – appealing the disclosure of my spent conviction

Having successfully had his SOPO revoked Phil was confident that his conviction was spent and wouldn’t be disclosed on his basic DBS certificate. In practice however, things were not quite so simple.


Nine year ago I entered a guilty plea for the possession of indecent images and was sentenced to a three year community order, an SOR notification requirement for 5 years and a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) for 15 years.

I complied with all the requirements expected of me and last year the police supported my application to the court to reduce the length of my SOPO to 5 years. My application was successful; SOPO revoked and off the register. I was fairly sure that as my SOPO had come to an end my conviction would be spent but I decided to apply for my own basic DBS check to get a look at what a ‘clean’ certificate would look like.

However, when I received my basic certificate there was my conviction staring back in me in black and white. I was really disappointed and so I got back in touch with the DBS to appeal the disclosure. It didn’t take long for them to tell me that my appeal was “not upheld” because my conviction wasn’t spent.

I wasn’t happy with the decision and it kept niggling away at the back of my mind, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that I decided to do some further research. It was then I came across the Unlock website and started reading articles about similar cases to mine. I learnt loads and the stuff I read seemed to support my opinion that my conviction was spent. Just to be sure that my thinking was right, I gave the Unlock helpline a ring and they confirmed my thinking – I had a spent conviction.

Armed with all the relevant paperwork, I had numerous conversations with the police and the DBS. To cut a long story short, it seemed that although my SOPO had been revoked, and my records updated on the Police National Computer it was still showing as live on the system the DBS use to run their checks. With evidence proving that my SOPO was no longer active, I was able to appeal to the DBS again.

This time my appeal was upheld and the DBS provided me with a ‘clean’ basic DBS certificate.

This is exactly the break I needed and will definitely help me when I’m applying for jobs during these challenging times.

By Phil (name changed to protect identity)

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