- 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 [Web page]
- Knowing your criminal record [Web page]
- Basic disclosure [Web page]
- Police records [Web page]
- DVLA records of motoring offences [Web page]
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 [Web page]
- A simple guide to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA) [Web page]
It will only be disclosed if it’s unspent. Useful links include:
- What will be disclosed on a basic check? [PDF]
- What will be disclosed on a basic check? [Web page]
- Basic disclosures – Detailed guide [Web page]
- Disclosure Calculator [Website tool]
A 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 [PDF]
- Types of criminal record checks – Simple guide [Web page]
- Types of criminal record checks – Detailed guide [Web page]
- What will be disclosed on a standard or enhanced check? [Web Page]
- What will be filtered by the DBS? [Web page]
- Challenging an ineligible DBS check [Web page]
We have put together a list of sentences/disposals which sets out their meaning and the rehabilitation period. See the link below.
We have a lot of information on our website to help you understand your criminal record. Useful links include:
- Criminal record databases [Web page]
- Recordable offences [Web page]
- Retention and deletion of police cautions and convictions [Web page]
- Convictions obtained overseas [Web page]
- Disclosure of police intelligence on enhanced checks [Web page]
- DNA retention [Web page]
- Disregarding convictions for decriminalised sexual offences [Web page]
- Convictions for sexual offences [Web page]
- Criminal records and data protection [Web page]
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 disclosure from Disclosure Scotland.
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 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 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.