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Tag: Specific occupations/professions

Don’t assume that a criminal record will automatically stop you from working in prisons

Finding an open-minded employer who is keen to give you a job when you have a criminal record is never easy.

For many people, the answer to this is to try and work for an organisation involved in the criminal justice system. Many believe that their past will be looked upon more positively, whilst others feel that their own personal experience makes them want to ‘give something back’.

We’ve just published some new information on working in the criminal justice sector and prison vetting which looks at the type of vetting you might have to go through if your job involves going into a prison, and how your criminal record may impact on your chances of successfully getting security clearance.

Don’t assume that having a criminal record will stop you from doing this type of work. Your own experience together with your skills and knowledge mean that you’ll bring additional qualities to the role and make you an asset to any employer.

For more information

  1. Our new informationWorking in the criminal justice sector and prison vetting
  2. For more practical self-help information – Find out more information on criminal record checks for employment
  3. To discuss this issue with others – Read and share your experiences on our online forum – What does security vetting involve
  4. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline.

Is it possible to become a police officer if you have a criminal record?

Over the last few years, the rules regarding eligibility to become a police officer have been slightly relaxed. However, there are still strict entry requirements and some convictions/caution will result in your application being immediately rejected whilst others will be considered on a case by case basis.

We have published some new information which sets out how your criminal record might affect your application to join the police.

If you have a criminal record and were accepted to become a police officer, we’re keen to hear from you and share your story anonymously. Email us at


For more information

  1. For practical self-help information  – More information on this can be found on our looking for (and keeping) employment and volunteering section
  2. To discuss this issue with others – Read and share your experiences on our online forum – specific occupations and professions
  3. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact the helpline.

Is it worth applying to your local council for a taxi licence if you have a criminal record?

As anybody with a criminal record knows, finding paid work can be difficult and so, for many, self-employment can be very attractive. If you enjoy driving, then becoming a taxi driver could be one option for you to consider.

You will need an operator’s licence which you can apply for through your local council or from Transport for London (TfL) if you want to work in the capital. You will also usually need:

  • To have held a full UK or EEA driving licence for at least 12 months (3 years in London)
  • An enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check
  • To be over 18 (21 in some areas)
  • Pass a geographical test
  • Complete a driving skills assessment

For further information visit driving licences for taxi’s and private hire vehicles.

The need for an enhanced criminal record check will often deter people from applying for these types of licences with many individuals assuming they will automatically be refused. But, is this right?

A Freedom of Information request undertaken recently by a Welsh newspaper looked at the number of taxi licences applied for through Cardiff Council. The results showed that they had received over 1,000 applications between January 2012 and September 2016 with 176 of these listing some type of conviction which were considered by the Council’s Public Protection Sub-committee. Of these 176, over 50% of applications were granted a licence.

A spokesperson for the Council said:

Each application is determined on its own merits and consideration is given to the seriousness of the offence, the sentence imposed, whether there is a pattern of offending and any other facts that may be relevant’

Although the FOI report in this instance related to Cardiff Council, our experience from calls to our helpline has shown that significant numbers of people applying for taxi licences who have a criminal record are successful.

There are usually taxi and private hire driving opportunities in every part of the country. Some companies will expect you to own your own car but many will give you the opportunity to rent a car from them. The job allows you to work flexible hours and, with drivers in many towns earning approximately £20K per year for a 40 hour week – this may be just the job for you.

So, if you’re interested in getting a taxi licence, a DBS check shouldn’t be the thing that stops you from applying.

For more information

  1. For practical self-help information – More information is available on our criminal record checks for employment (including DBS) section and A-Z of job roles and their eligibility for basic, standard and enhanced criminal record checks
  2. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact theHelpline.


A-Z of job roles and their eligibility for basic, standard and enhanced criminal record checks

For anybody with a criminal record, knowing what level of criminal record check a job role is potentially eligible for may be what determines whether you apply for that job or not.

For example, if your conviction is spent but not yet eligible for filtering, it will still appear on a standard or enhanced check and you may decide to only apply for jobs that involve a basic check.

All employers are legally entitled to do basic checks for any job although there are many employers that don’t do any checks at all.

Some employer’s don’t state what level of check they will be doing or ask for levels of check from the Disclosure and Barring Service which clearly don’t comply with the DBS eligible positions guidance.

We’ve produced some new information, which sets out an A-Z of job roles and the potential level of criminal record check that these may involve.

Whatever your situation or whatever will be disclosed on a certificate, don’t let a criminal record check put you off applying for a job. If you believe that you have the necessary skills and experience then go ahead and apply. You should have the opportunity to explain your conviction to an employer prior to any formal check being undertaken and you should use this time wisely to sell yourself, making it known that you’re the best person for the job.

We hope you find this helpful. Let us know what you think by completing our feedback form.

For more information

  1. For practical self-help information – Find more information on the:
    1. Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
    2. Filtering of convictions from DBS certificates
    3. Challenging an ineligible DBS check
  2. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline.
  3. Policy – Read about the policy work we’re doing on ineligible checks.

Thinking of becoming a Police and Crime Commissioner in the future?

The next Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections will be taking place on 5th May 2016.

Although its too late to put yourself forward for these upcoming elections, it might be something you think about for the future.

The role of PCC’s is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account. Full details on PCC powers and responsibilities can be found on the Home Office website.

The rules for the PCC post are particularly strict. Your criminal record may prevent you from standing as a candidate if you have been convicted in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, of any imprisonable offence – whether or not actually sentenced to a term of imprisonment in respect of your offence.

We’ve put together some new information on how a criminal record will affect you, together with details of some personal experiences.

We hope you find it helpful. Let us know what you think by using our feedback form.


Is this a scam? Employment offers and criminal record checks

We have been altered to an organisation, Online UK Disclosure, which claim to offer Single Offence Checks at a cost of £99.99.

Online UK Disclosures claim to be an umbrella body for the Disclosure and Barring Service and Disclosure Scotland. The DBS has confirmed to Unlock that Online UK Disclosure is not registered an umbrella body and that the DBS do not offer Single Offence Checks.

Online UK Disclosures state that;-

‘A Single Offence Check only searches back five years and only for one particular offence. It has been created so that people with a criminal record but for minor and unrelated offences do not get hindered when applying for jobs’.

Why should you be concerned about Single Offence Checks?

In the example that we saw, a Single Offence Check was being requested to be done through Online UK Disclosure as part of an employment offer which turned out not to exist. It seems that this is linked to an employment scam which has been highlighted recently on the BBC’s Fake Britain and moneysavingexpert forum. The scam has also been reported to Safer Jobs and Action Fraud.

More and more fictitious jobs are appearing on job sites and job boards and more and more unsuspecting job seekers are parting with their hard earned money or becoming victims of identity theft.

Job scammers will pose as an employer or recruiter offering attractive employment opportunities which require job seekers to pay money in advance. This is usually under the guise of criminal record checks or credit checks. Once the money has been paid, the scammers disappear and the job seeker is let with no job and out of pocket.

How can I protect myself from employment scams?

  1. Never part with any money without being sure that the criminal record checks are being done through Disclosure Scotland (basic checks), the Disclosure and Barring Service (standard and enhanced) or a registered body. You can check with the DBS whether an organisation is a genuine registered body here.  For registered bodies carrying out checks through Disclosure Scotland, check here.
  2. Do some research on the company – Google them or visit the company’s website. If they don’t have one, or it doesn’t have any contact details then tread carefully.
  3. A job should only be offered once a face-to-face or thorough telephone interview has taken place. If a job is offered without this, it is likely to be a scam.
  4. Report any concerns to Safer Jobs or Action Fraud

We’ve reported the case we came across to both the DBS and Action Fraud.

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