Criminal Record Checks

Under the current system there are two types of Criminal Record checks a standard and an enhanced criminal record check that an employer may request.

A standard check will detail every conviction (including spent convictions), cautions, warnings and reprimands which is recorded in central records, or it will state that there is no such information held.

An enhanced check details all criminal information as well as any information which in the opinion of the Chief Police Officer, might be relevant for the purpose and ought to be included in the certificate.  This type of check is usually required when applying for jobs involving caring supervising or training children or vulnerable adults

However this may all change due to a recent court ruling involving a 21 year old man who was given warnings when he was 11 years old over two stolen bicycles where he was asked to disclose the cautions even though under the Rehabilitation and Offenders Act 1974 they were classed as “spent”.

Under the Offenders and Rehabilitation Act 1974 a conviction or caution can become “spent” after a period of time this varies according to the disposal administered or sentence passed by the courts, all cautions and convictions (except those resulting in prison sentences of over 30 months) are regarded as ‘spent’. As a result the offender is regarded as rehabilitated.

For most purposes the Act treats a rehabilitated person as if he or she had never committed an offence and, as such, they are not obliged to declare their caution(s) or conviction(s), for example, when applying for employment or insurance.

After considering the man’s case The Court of Appeal has held that the way that criminal records checks operate are unlawful and breach human rights.  They have stated that a blanket requirement on job applicants to disclose minor offences, including cautions, amounted to a breach of article 8 – “right to a private family life”.

This decision has not yet come in to effect as the government is seeking to appeal this. However if they are unsuccessful this could mean that job applicants in England and Wales will not have to disclose all information when applying for certain jobs.

If you have any queries about CRB check or the police want to issue you with a caution/reprimand or warning or you are worried about a conviction and as to whether this will affect your employment, contact a member of the Emery Johnson team at either our Leicester office on 0116 255 4855 or our Loughborough office on 01509 610312.