Following the introduction of filtering certain convictions and cautions from DBS certificates on 29th May 2013, Employers will not be able to take certain old and minor cautions and convictions into account when making decisions about any individual. HR policies, job specifications and application forms will therefore all need to reflect the filtering changes.
It is important that employers ask the right questions, and that employees give the right (legally accurate) answer. The DBS suggests that Employers include the following paragraph below in their standard application forms:
‘The amendments to the Exceptions Order 1975 (2013) provide that certain spent convictions and cautions are ‘protected’ and are not subject to disclosure to employers, and cannot be taken into account. Guidance and criteria on the filtering of these cautions and convictions can be found at the Disclosure and Barring Service website.’
The new Police National Database ((PND) will be launched nationally on 23 June 2011. The information held on the PND is not new information but comes from existing force systems that support force intelligence, crime, domestic abuse, child abuse and custody business areas. The PND now offers forces direct access to that information, and details of intelligence about vehicles, locations and events.
A case study demonstrating the benefits for police users working in child protection is available here.
Only Enhanced Disclosures will contain reference to any ‘relevant and proportional information’ held by local police forces, so employers will need to utilise safer recruitment and other HR policies to ensure that people working on the periphery of Regulated Activity are appropriate to do so. Continue reading Launch of Police National Database
A Birmingham teacher who was unlawfully arrested after being accused of assaulting a pupil has been awarded £1,000 compensation at the High Court. Mark Richardson, 39, was arrested even though he volunteered to be interviewed by police. No prosecution was brought and he sued West Midlands Police, fearing the stain the arrest would leave on his record. As well as claiming he was unlawfully arrested, Mr Richardson also wanted West Midlands Police to destroy DNA samples, fingerprints and photographs taken at the time and for his arrest entry on the Police National Computer (PNC) to be deleted or amended.
However while Mrs Justice Slade ruled that Mr Richardson’s arrest was unlawful, she declined these other requests, noting that the force said it would “take it properly into account when making any decision as to a request by the claimant for destruction or removal” of fingerprints and DNA. The force said it was investigating the handling of the 2009 case.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said she would be writing to the secretary of state for education and the home secretary to seek changes to national procedures.
“This is a landmark decision for teachers and others who are vulnerable to allegations made by children and young people,” he said. “New guidance for police is needed urgently to prevent these needless arrests that wreck innocent people’s careers. “Teachers are vulnerable to allegations made by pupils. “Such allegations frequently involve police investigation. “The overwhelming majority prove to be false but teachers are often deeply traumatised and their career is blighted.”
In a Parliamentary Question Anas Sarwar asked what steps the Home Office is taking to increase sharing of criminal records files with other EU member states. Lynne Featherstone replied in a written statement as follows:
Criminal record exchange within the European Union takes place within the framework of Council Decision 2005/876/JHA on the exchange of information extracted from the criminal record. Between 2007-08 and 2009-10 the amount of criminal convictions exchanged has increased:
- Notifications received of UK nationals convicted in the EU increased from 3,120 to 6,298.
- The number of notifications from the UK to other member states about the convictions of one of their nationals here has increased from 12,736 in 2007-08 (when only the first conviction of an EU national was sent) to 33,583 in 2009-10 (when all convictions were sent).
- The number of requests received for the criminal record of UK citizens subject to criminal proceedings in other member states has increased from 190 to 341 in the same time period.
- The number of requests made by the UK police and law enforcement agencies in relation to EU nationals subject to criminal proceedings here increased from 2,372 to 6,513.
Continue reading PQ on EU Criminal Record exchange
The Daily Mail reported on a press release by the Manifesto Club about the scale of volunteer vetting. “Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that almost a million checks were made last year, a six-fold increase since the CRB was launched in 2002.”
The Club, which campaigns against over-regulation, claims that many local authorities – even Tory ones – are still demanding ‘blanket’ vetting of volunteers. Josie Appleton, director of the Manifesto Club, said: ‘The Government has made some fine statements criticising over-use of the CRB checks but these haven’t affected anything on the ground. ‘CRB checking is leading to the collapse of valuable community services and the loss of the best and most generous volunteers in our communities.’
A Home Office spokesman said the CRB was working to restore ‘proportionality’ to its service and added: ‘We are also clear that there are occasions that these checks are vital to protect public safety.’
Daily Mail Article
On BBC News, Mark Williams-Thomas a ex-policeman and specialist in child safeguarding gave the following interview:
Click to play
See also our page tracking stakeholder comments
Ministers have withdrawn 18 bodies from the Public Bodies Bill, which contains the list of 192 bodies to be abolished or scrapped and the 118 to be merged. The Parole Board, the Criminal Cases Review Commission and the Surveillance Commissioners have been withdrawn along with bodies that select judges, draw up sentencing guidelines and investigate miscarriages of justice in England and Wales.
The government amendment of the Public Bodies Bill followed concerns raised in the House of Lords, after peers expressed fears that the proposed cull could put the independence of the judiciary at risk. Liberal Democrat peer Lord Goodhart welcomed the change of heart:
“I thought a lot of the proposals in the bill were wrong but I thought this was the worst of them, because it is an absolutely essential part of our constitution now that it should be a role of an independent body to select the judicial appointments,” he said.
BBC news report
Sunita Mason was appointed the Independent Advisor for Criminality Information Management in September 2009 to consider issues arising as a result of the ‘five constables’ case and increasing public debate on the use of personal information.
Her report A Balanced Approach looked at how government agencies share information to protect the public as well as the retention and use of criminal record information held by the police on the Police National Computer (PNC).