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United Kingdom Background Checks
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The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA) applies to England, Scotland and Wales. The Act allows certain convictions to become "spent" if the sentence involved 30 months of imprisonment or less and the rehabilitation period was completed successfully. It is important to note that under this Act any adult or youth conditional caution will be spent after 3 months has passed and that final warnings, simple cautions and reprimands become spent immediately. A conviction is "unspent" if the sentence included more than 30 months of imprisonment or if the rehabilitation period was not completed successfully.
The Basic Disclosure is a criminal check covering England, Scotland, and Wales that provides information on all unspent convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA). The ROA protects people who have committed a criminal offense but have not re-offended since. After the first offense, there is a “Rehabilitation Period”. If the person does not re-offend during this period their conviction becomes ‘spent’. If the person has another criminal offense within this time frame, or if the original sentence is more than 2.5 years in prison, the conviction is ‘unspent’ indefinitely. How long an “unspent” conviction can be reported is determined by the ROA.
The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) in the UK retains all criminal data. Registered and approved agencies are used by the CRB to provide access to the various disclosures.
Standard Disclosure – Available for individuals who are involved in the administration of law, individuals applying for firearms or explosives licenses and individuals involved in the provision of care services. The Standard Disclosure provides information on both unspent and spent convictions as well as cautions.
Enhanced Disclosure – Available for individuals involved in adoption or individuals applying for various gaming and lottery licenses. This disclosure covers both spent and unspent convictions, cautions, inclusion on children or adult lists and other information held by police forces and government bodies.
United Kingdom Criminal Records through the Court
Court searches are generally not available in the UK. Courts typically do not share information with employers or other third parties. In the UK, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) holds all of the criminal data. The completed form and the fee will need to be sent to the Data Protection Officer in the area that you live in. The police will send the completed form to Scotland Yard. You can expect the results to be sent back to you in about 40 days.
United Kingdom Police Certificates
If you would like to obtain a police certificate on yourself to be used for immigration purposes, visit your local police station in the UK and request a Subject Access form. The completed form will need to be sent with the required fee to the Data Protection Officer at your local police station. The police will then send your application to the Scotland Yard and you should receive results back via post mail within 40 business days.
The UK is one of the twenty-seven member countries in the European Union (EU). The EU setup a Data Directive that seeks to provide framework regarding how and when information can be collected on individuals. The Directive outlines seven quality principles and some additional criteria that must be met to legally obtain information on individuals in the UK. The seven quality principles include:
In order to legally obtain information on an individual the above principles must be met. In addition, you need have the individuals consent prior to obtaining information on them. The individual then has the right to see what information was collected on them and for what specific purpose.
When conducting background checks on individuals according to the quality principles, keep in mind that credit checks are usually not considered relevant to an employment decision. Other information on an individual such as sexual orientation and other facts that make up a persons general reputation are also not considered relevant.
Data Protection restrictions are in place for countries within the European Union (EU) that do not allow for the transfer of data to countries outside of the European Union. Due to this restriction the Safe Harbor was created. When a company becomes Safe Harbor certified they agree and certify that they will meet the privacy and data protection requirements set forth by the Safe Harbor Directive. CRS checks is Safe Harbor certified, which allows us to obtain information from the EU.
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