What’s new from ACRO Criminal Records Office?

Unless you’ve travelled abroad and needed a police certificate or applied for a subject access request (SAR) to help get a better understanding of your criminal record, you may never have come across ACRO Criminal Records Office (ACRO).

They have just published their annual report for 2016/17 showing an annual income of almost £13 million and we thought it might be useful to highlight some relevant information from that report.

Travelling abroad

If you’re looking to move abroad or require a visa to visit certain countries (for example the US), you will probably need to apply for a police certificate and in 2016/17, ACRO received 131,560 applications. The majority of the certificates had no conviction information disclosed however 12,796 (almost 10%) showed ‘live’ convictions and 7,875 (6%) showed ‘no live trace’.

A survey undertaken by ACRO highlighted that 88% of respondents from Embassy’s and High Commission’s etc. stated that Police Certificates were an important component in their decision as to whether to issue or deny a visa. Therefore, being very clear about what’s on your certificate and knowing how to disclose it to an immigration officer could have a significant impact on your chances of success.

Convictions received overseas

As at March 2017, it has been possible for the UK to exchange criminal record information with 25 out of 27 EU member states via the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS).

In 2016/17 there was a 22% increase in the number of notifications sent to ACRO which related to UK nationals who’d received a conviction overseas. Of the 12,336 notifications received, 7,064 resulted in conviction information being added to the Police National Computer (PNC) – 1,531 were for violent offences and 325 related to sexual offences.

In October 2016 ACRO were notified that a UK national who had received a conviction for a sexual offence in Cyprus was returning to the UK. ACRO informed the local police in the area he would be returning to who contacted the gentleman at home to arrange a risk assessment and consider possible ways that he would be monitored in the community

Deletion of criminal record information from the PNC

For the last two years, ACRO has been responsible for coordinating the record deletion process on behalf of all police forces in the UK. In 2016/17, 1,512 people applied to have their records deleted from the PNC. Of these, 479 were successful, 10 had part of their records deleted, 494 were refused and 266 applications were not eligible. The deletions related to police intelligence (sometimes referred to as additional information) and in some cases, DNA and fingerprints.

If you’ve had an enhanced DBS check done in the past and the police have chosen to disclose additional information, then it may be worth considering making an application to have it removed, especially if it’s had an adverse effect on your ability to get a job or join a college or university course.

For more information

  1. For practical self-help information – More information is available on our police certificates, convictions obtained overseas and disclosure of police intelligence on enhanced checks sections
  2. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline.
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Debbie Sadler