Criminal record verification in the UK

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There are various situations in which the verification of an individual can be requested. There are also several ways in which a person can be checked, however these depend on the information required by the party soliciting it. If some verifications can be misleading, criminal record checks are usually the most accurate with respect to the information given, and also the most correct.

In the UK, it is not an unusual thing to verify one’s criminal record – employers, real estate owners seeking to lease properties and financial institutions are just a few examples when criminal record verification can be requested. It is also possible to perform a self-assessment of police record in the UK.

All criminal records in the UK are held by the police

Which is why they are also known as police records.  All persons in the UK have police records, which contain information on their criminal background. However, criminal records can also be clean, meaning there are individuals who have not committed any offence.

The information found in a criminal record is related to any misdemeanors and up to minor or severe offences. Warnings and cautions are also put to people’s criminal records. These are kept in the Disclosure and Barring Service for a period of 100 years.

Criminal records in the UK are not publicly available and parties seeking information on an individual must first file a request with the Disclosure and Barring Service before performing a police record check. At this point, it should also be noted that there are various degrees of access when verifying someone’s criminal record.

Accessing police records with the Criminal Records Office 

There are three types of criminal checks which can be performed in the UK: the basic, the standard and the enhanced one.

Police record checks imply identity, financial and criminal verifications and each type of search of the above-mentioned ones will contain more or less information based on the requested access. There are also cases when information on the sentences served can appear in one’s criminal record, however these are governed by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act of 1974 and will only appear when performing an enhanced search.

Criminal record verifications are also possible with the Crown Prosecution Service, with the UK Prison Service and with the Courts and Tribunals Service. No matter where the search is performed, the party seeking the information is subject to a fee which will depend on how extensive the search is.

Even if criminal verification is possible, one must also understand that this information is usually classified in order to protect an individual’s right to private life, therefore any search should be treated with strict confidentiality.

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