We’ve produced specific information to help you understand what you might need to know at each stage of your criminal record journey. This page focuses on what you’ll need to know if your caution/conviction is filtered. It forms part of our series on the seven stages of a criminal record

As this page is new, we’re keen to get your thoughts. Let us know what you think of it and how it could be improved by emailing us at feedback@unlock.org.uk or completing our feedback form.

Not sure if it’s filtered? Work it out here.
Most minor cautions and one off convictions can be filtered. If you’re fortunate enough to benefit from having your cautions or conviction filtered, you can pretty much put your criminal record behind you. Now that your cautions/conviction has been filtered, you will not need to disclose it to any employer (there are a few exceptions) although they will still remain on the Police National Computer.


Criminal record checks

Once filtered, your cautions/conviction will not be disclosed on any level of criminal record check, even if an employer will be carrying out standard or enhanced checks.

At the point that a new application is made for a standard or enhanced check, the DBS will look at the Police National Computer (PNC). If they see more than one conviction, then all convictions will be disclosed. This means that a conviction that has previously been filtered could reappear again.


Employers can only ask you to disclose details of cautions/convictions that they are legally entitled to know about. Once your cautions/conviction is eligible for filtering it is deemed to be ‘protected’ and you do not need to disclose it, irrespective of what question an employer asks.

If you’re applying for a role/position which does not go through the DBS process, then filtered cautions/convictions can be disclosed. This would include jobs which require prison or security vetting.


Once filtered you are under no legal obligation to disclose your cautions/conviction when applying to university, irrespective of what type of course you are applying for.


Once filtered cautions and convictions do not need to be disclosed when purchasing any type of insurance policy, irrespective of how the insurer asks the question.


Travelling and working overseas does not follow the DBS filtering rules and you will still need to look at the processes that each country has in place to deal with people with convictions. Many countries will require you to apply for a visa along with a police certificate which would include details of any filtered cautions/convictions unless they had been stepped down.


If your case was reported in the media and/or online then employers or colleagues can find out about your filtered cautions/conviction from the internet. This is often referred to as the ‘google-effect’. We would recommend that you apply to the website and search engine (for example Google) to request the search results are removed.


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