- Practical information & advice
- Read personal stories
- Discuss this with others
- Help us with our policy work on this
Practical information & advice
Although convictions and cautions stay on the Police National Computer until you reach 100 years old (they are not deleted before then), they don’t always have to be disclosed. Many people don’t know the details of their record and it’s important to get this right before disclosing to employers. Usually, this means applying for a copy of your police record (it costs £10 and is known as a ‘Subject Access Request’).
Taken from our top 10 things to know:
Read our latest information and advice posts about understanding your criminal record
Here you’ll find links to various parts of this site where we have information and useful resources relating to understanding your criminal record.
There are various ways you can find out about your criminal record. How you choose to go about it will depend on what you need to know. Useful links include:
- Finding out about your criminal record
- Basic DBS disclosure
- Police records
- DVLA records of motoring offences
Providing you have the date of your caution/conviction and the details of your disposal/sentence, you should be able to work this out for yourself. Useful links include:
- Disclosure Calculator [Website tool]
- Guidance on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
- A simple guide to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA)
It will only be disclosed if it’s unspent. Useful links include:
- What will be disclosed on a basic check?
- Basic DBS disclosures – Detailed guide
- Disclosure Calculator [Website tool]
An enhanced DBS check will disclose all cautions and convictions unless they are eligible for filtering from the certificate. Useful links include:
- Types of criminal record checks – Simple guide
- Types of criminal record checks – Detailed guide
- What will be disclosed on a standard or enhanced check?
- What will be filtered by the DBS?
- Challenging an ineligible DBS check
Possibly, especially if the restraining order is for a longer duration than the community order. See the link below:
We have put together a list of sentences/disposals which sets out their meaning and the rehabilitation period. See the link below.
No. The police also use the Police National Database (PND) which holds records relating to criminal intelligence and domestic and child abuse. See the link below.
Possibly; it depends upon a number of different factors, for example whether the offence is a crime under UK law and if so, is it deemed to be recordable in the UK. See the links below.
It wouldn’t appear on basic or standard DBS certificates but it may be disclosed on an enhanced DBS certificate if the police believe it to be relevant. See the link below.
Cautions and convictions remain on the PNC until you are 100 years old. However there are some situations where the police may destroy your biometric information (DNA and fingerprints). See the links below.
Certain convictions for decriminalised consensual sexual offences can be removed from your record but you’ll need to apply to the Home Office. See the link below.
- Disregards and pardons: Removing historical convictions and cautions for consensual gay sex from criminal records
Yes. This is covered by the Data Protection Act. See the link below.
Here you’ll find some of the common advice we give on understanding your criminal record. This is based on what we’ve learnt as a charity, as well as the real-life experiences of people with convictions.
- If you were convicted many years ago, it’s possible that it might not even be on your police record. Before you start disclosing, you should check whether they will come back by getting a copy of your police record.
- If the reason you’re disclosing is because a job or role involves a basic check (or could at some point), then you might want to double-check what would come back by getting your own basic DBS disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service.
Frequently asked questions
Here you’ll find some specific questions that we regularly get about understanding your criminal record and the answers to generally provide. More detailed FAQ’s are included in the information pages above.
Generally, an offence that could result in imprisonment is classed as a recordable offence. There are also some more minor summary offences that are designated as recordable. Non-recordable offences are usually held on local police records.
The Police National Computer (PNC) stores details of people who have been cautioned or convicted of a recordable offence. It also holds details of all UK registered vehicles. More information on retention and deletion can be found here.
The Police National Database (PND) is a national information management system that improves the ability of the police service to manage and share intelligence and other operational policy to prevent and detect crime and make communities safer. The PND gives the police the capacity to share, access and search local information electronically.
If you dispute your guilt, you should seek legal advice about whether you can appeal against the conviction or caution (although there are normally quite strict time limits on this type of appeal)
Although cautions and convictions are not wiped, they might not be disclosed. It depends on the type of check, but spent convictions are not disclosed on basic DBS checks, and filtered cautions/convictions are not disclosed on standard or enhanced checks.
Here you’ll find links to useful organisations and websites related to understanding your criminal record that we refer to in our information and advice. Contact details for the organisations listed below can be found here.
Read personal stories
The personal stories below have been posted on theRecord, our online magazine.
Discuss this with others
Read and share your experiences of this on our online forum.
Key sections include:
- Types of criminal record check – Different types of criminal record check
- Basic criminal record checks – What’s disclosed on a basic DBS criminal record check
- Standard and enhanced checks
- DBS filtering – How filtering works and What will/will not be filtered
Help us with our policy work on this
Read more about the policy work we’re doing on stopping enforced access requests.