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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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20 / 12 / 21

“What we need now is action” – Unlock’s view on the prisons white paper

The government has published its much-awaited prisons white paper, which covers a great deal of ground from building new prisons to measures to improve access to jobs on release. The latter is the focus of Unlock’s attention and can be found in the third chapter.  While the paper offers renewed assurances that rehabilitation sits alongside public […]

Photo of Helpline lead, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Helpline lead

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