Criminal Records in the UK

Criminal records are not freely available on the internet nor are they freely available from government departments. No matter if an employer or any other persons accept for a law enforcement officer which legally may have direct access to a person’s criminal record. Depending on the reason for wanting access to such records will depend on whether you will be allowed access or not. Also note that a PNC record is not the same as a criminal record.

Criminal records are maintained by the Criminal Records Bureau in the UK. And in Wales, North Ireland and Scotland the national police computer have partial access to such documentation. A criminal record may not be viewed without the consent of the said person although some employers will make this a condition of employment. Such records are not accessible to the public.

Depending on the level of disclosure will depend on the information supplied. For example a disclosure that is low level will only reveal unspent convictions which mean these convictions have not been expunged under the ROF Act. In the case of comprehensive disclosures these include all final warnings, reprimands, convictions and cautions. A comprehensive criminal record necessarily does not mean that these criminal records pertain to criminal matters only although they may contain relevant information.

In the case of an arrest taking place whereby there were no official findings of guilt such as a conviction, such records are not considered part of a person’s criminal record and are not in any way disclosed to appropriate bodies. However, the Chief of Police in the UK may disclose such information should it be a comprehensive criminal record. Comprehensive criminal records are used to screen applicants applying for positions such as healthcare staff, social workers and police officers.

Looking for criminal records has become far more practical and efficient when using the internet as a tool for accessing such free records. There are now several online record providers and commercial information services that has access to obtaining these records. Many corporate companies and individuals have started making use of these services in order to do background checks on partners, tenants and employees.

One can also conduct a background and criminal record check on their own if they have the right service provider. Having access to criminal records can be a life saver especially when employing a caregiver or babysitter. Knowing that your company or loved ones are in the hands of a trustworthy person will give one peace of mind.