DBS filtering of old and minor convictions and cautions


This action is in response to the Court of Appeal judgment which stated that the disclosure of all cautions and convictions on a DBS certificate was incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (see the March Newsletter).

Since the judgment, the DBS has been working with the Home Office to develop a set of filtering rules that would remove certain old and minor convictions and cautions from a DBS certificate.

The filtering rules which are now before Parliament for consideration are: A conviction will be removed from an adult’s criminal record certificate if:

  • 11 years have elapsed since the date of conviction,
  • it is the person’s only offence,
  • it did not result in a custodial sentence,
  • the offence does not appear on a list of ‘specified offences’.

If a person has more than one offence, then details of all their convictions will always be included. For those under 18 at the time of the offence, the above 11-year period will be reduced to 5.5 years. A caution will be removed after six years have elapsed since the date of the caution (two years for a young person) unless it was for a ‘specified offence’.

The changes will not come into force until the legislation has completed its passage through Parliament.

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