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About Criminal Records

What you need to know, in brief.

  • Cautions and convictions stay on the Police National Computer (PNC) until you are 100 years old, but don’t always have to be disclosed.
  • If you’re not sure what’s on your criminal record, you can apply for a copy of your police record (it’s free of charge and is known as a ‘Subject Access Request’.
  • If you’re applying for a job which is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, you can apply for your own basic DBS disclosure to see exactly what an employer will see.
  • The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act gives people with spent convictions and cautions the right not to have to disclose when applying for most jobs or buying insurance.
  • For jobs involving standard and enhanced DBS checks you will usually need to disclose spent convictions and cautions unless they have been filtered by the DBS.
  • Ancillary orders (for example restraining orders or Sexual Harm Prevention Orders) can extend the time it takes for a conviction to become spent.
  • If you were arrested by the police but no further action was taken, this information won’t appear on a basic or standard DBS certificate. It may be disclosed on an enhanced DBS if the police believe it to be relevant.
  • You can use our online tool to find out which of your cautions and/or convictions will appear on a basic, standard or enhanced DBS certificate.

Latest news, advice, stories & more from Unlock

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28 / 10 / 23

Changes to spending periods have come into effect

Many criminal records will now become spent sooner - find out what the changes mean for you

Photo of Helpline lead, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Helpline lead

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