Practical information & advice

Some people struggle because their case was reported in the media and/or is available online. This is often referred to as the ‘google effect’ and means that employers and colleagues can find about your criminal record from the internet. If this is a problem for you, you might want to consider changing your name. Once your conviction is spent, you can apply to the website and search engine (e.g.  Google) to request that the search results are removed.

Taken from our top 10 things to know

Read our latest news posts about information on the internet



Here you’ll find links to various parts of this site where we have information and useful resources relating to dealing with information about your criminal record that may be available on the internet, online and through search engines like Google.

Is there a way of dealing with the fact that my criminal record details can be read online?

If your conviction is spent then you can apply to Google to have the search results removed. Alternatively, you may want to write to the website or publication in which your story appears. Useful links include:

How can I counteract negative ‘Google’ or other internet search results?

You may want to consider changing your name or, start posting more positive information about yourself online. Useful links include:

Does Unlock have an example of a template I can use to request that search engine results are removed?

Yes – have a look at our search engine removal request template. See the link below.



Here you’ll find some of the common advice we give on information online. This is based on what we’ve learnt as a charity, as well as the real-life experiences of people with convictions.

  • Google and other search engines will not normally consider removing a link until the conviction is spent.
  • If a search engine refuses to remove the links, you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office.
  • If the search engine removes a link, remember it’s just being removed from the search results. It will normally still show up on the website that the link went to.
  • You can request the original website remove the link on their website as well.
  • If you’re struggling to get the information removed from the internet, you might want to consider changing your name if you’re concerned about people finding out about your record through the internet.
  • If you can’t get rid of the details online, instead of changing your name you could consider trying to counteract negative search results.


Frequently asked questions

Here you’ll find some specific questions that we regularly get about information that may be available on the internet about your criminal record. More detailed FAQ’s may be included in the information pages above.

Possibly. You will need to submit a request to the search engine (e.g. Google) who will then consider removing the link that refers to your details. We have produced a search engine removal request which you can use when asking for your details to be removed from a search engine. You can copy and paste this into the Google online form.
Normally search engines like Google will only consider removing a link, when your conviction is spent.
You should make a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office. Further information can be found on the ICO’s website.
Yes. Our helpline often receives feedback from clients who’ve had search links removed and we’ve published some success stories on our online magazine, theRecord.  Also, below is a personal experience from a client who got his links successfully removed from the internet.


Here you’ll find links to useful organisations and websites related to information that may be available on the internet about 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 experience of this on our online forum.

Key sections include:

Help us with our policy work on this

Read more about the policy work we’re doing on stopping the ‘Google effect’ for people with spent convictions.

Find out more about the possible legal remedies available from Carter-Ruck, a law firm specialising in this field, who are working with Unlock to advise people with spent convictions on a “no win no fee” basis.


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