Skip to main content

14. Glossary

  • Handed out by the Police or the crown prosecution service for minor crimes. Not a criminal conviction, but do form part of someone’s criminal record and may show up on DBS checks. Conditional cautions impose certain requirements and rules on the receiver, which could lead to a charge if not abided.

  • There are four types of DBS check that can be carried out:

    Basic – can be asked for by any organisation in any situation and includes all unspent cautions or convictions

    Standard – can only be asked for by employers for certain professional roles (such as a taxi driver or solicitor) and includes any cautions or convictions that are not protected

    Enhanced – can only be asked for by employers for certain regulated roles (such as nurses or therapists) and includes any cautions or convictions that are not protected relevant information from the PND

    Enhanced and Barring – can only be asked for by employers for certain roles which involve unsupervised work with children or vulnerable adults and includes any cautions or convictions that are not protected, relevant information from the PND, whether someone is on the relevant barring list (for children or vulnerable adults)

  • The ICO is the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights. As an independent body, they monitor what individuals and organisations are doing in relation to data and have power to take action where inappropriate data practices are identified.

  • Licence conditions are a set of requirements/rules a person must follow when they are released from prison, if they are being released before the end of their sentence. There is a set of standard conditions for every licence.  Additional/ specific conditions can be added to the standard conditions, to suit the individual being supervised.

  • For those situations which are considered exempt from the ROA, all convictions and cautions have to be disclosed, until they are filtered, at which point they are considered protected. For most cautions or convictions this is after 5 1/2 years for any childhood offences and 11 years for any adult offences. Any custodial sentences or certain offences can never be filtered.

  • The PNC mainly stores details of people who have been cautioned or convicted of a recordable offence.

    Other information can be stored on the PNC. For example, any conviction received along with a conviction for a recordable offence is recorded, even if it is for an offence that is not recordable. For example, driving without insurance isn’t a recordable offence, but if someone is convicted of this alongside a recordable offence such as drink driving, then a record of it will be held on the PNC.

    Convictions received overseas may also appear if the offence is considered a recordable crime in the UK and has been shared with UK police.

    Information remains on the PNC until someone reaches the age of 100.

  • The PND collates police intelligence held locally by various police forces. Police intelligence can be anything from an informal resolution of a criminal matter, an acquittal for an offence, a fixed penalty notice, an arrest that led to no further action , or even an unsubstantiated allegation that the police never pursued.

    The PND will have a record for everyone who has been arrested and processed through custody, so even those convicted of a minor offence that was not recorded on the PNC, it will be held on local records and form part of the PND. This kind of information could be disclosed as part of an enhanced check.

  • The PPU is a police unit who ensure the safety of those in danger of becoming victims of crime (eg modern slavery or domestic abuse). They work with other agencies to manage potential risks of those convicted of violent or sexual crimes.

  • Release on temporary licence is a system whereby people in prison can be released for short durations in order to pursue things such as work, study or family visits. Anyone released on a temporary licence will have had to demonstrate their trustworthiness and been subject to comprehensive risk assessment.

  • The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 states that after a rehabilitation period, people have a right to be considered rehabilitated. During the rehabilitation period, a caution/conviction is considered unspent. After this period, a caution or conviction becomes spent.

    An unspent record will need disclosing in more circumstances than a spent record. As people move forward in their rehabilitative journey, there is less obligation on them to disclose their record in certain situations.

    There are a list of exceptions to this rule under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. The exceptions apply to certain professions, legal permits and proceedings.

  • A financial punishment given for lower-level crimes. These are the most common kind of sentence handed out (78% of all sentences in 2022)

  • Most life sentences (except sentences such as whole life orders) are served for a period in prison, then someone may be released to the community if the Parole Board determines they are not a risk to the public. Where someone in the community is serving a life sentence, they may be recalled if they are at risk of breaching their parole (not necessarily committing further crimes).

  • A prison sentence between 2 weeks and 2 years long may be ordered to be completed in the community, rather than in prison. The court will impose requirements on the person serving a suspended sentence.

We want to make sure that our website is as helpful as possible.

Letting us know if you easily found what you were looking for or not enables us to continue to improve our service for you and others.

Was it easy to find what you were looking for?

Thank you for your feedback.

12 million people have criminal records in the UK. We need your help to help them.

Help support us now