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The impact of a Criminal Record

You now have a criminal record – what does that mean?

A CRIMINAL RECORD is a list of crimes that someone has been convicted of in either a Magistrates Court and/or the Crown Court. The information is retained on the Police National Computer (PNC).

These records are not publicly accessible and cannot be viewed without the subject's consent, although in some cases an employer might make such consent a condition of employment, especially if the future employee is to work with children or vulnerable people.

Employment with a Criminal Record:

Many jobs are covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA)

making it unlawful for an employer to refuse employment or dismiss a person because of a spent conviction. There are some high street employers who actively support the employment of those with convictions to help them turn their lives around and reintegrate with society.

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA) allows most convictions to become ‘spent’ after a set period of time. This means the person does not have to disclose it and that discriminating against someone because of a spent conviction may be unlawful in many circumstances.

It should be noted that convictions leading to a sentence of more than four years’ imprisonment are not covered by this Act.

A prospective employer, where appropriate, may ask you to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) which can reveal current and spent convictions.

Travelling Abroad with a Criminal Record:

Some countries have entry restrictions. You may have to apply for a visa. If a particular country requires a Visa for you to travel, you need to look at whether there are any questions about criminal convictions, or whether having a criminal record makes you ineligible to apply for a visa. It may be a case of making enquiries to the relevant country’s Embassy.

Secondly, if you are on licence, it will normally be a condition of your licence that you cannot travel abroad, and you will therefore need to seek permission from Probation before doing so, otherwise you risk breaching your licence.

If you have been convicted of sexual offences, it may be that you are subject to specific notification requirements before you even consider travelling.

Currently EU citizens can move freely around Europe with a valid passport or identity card. With Brexit pending some EU member states may well require British passport holders to apply for travel visa in the future.

Education with a Criminal Record:

Colleges and Universities may ask you to disclose your criminal record as part of the application process, particularly for courses in areas like nursing and teaching. However, for many courses the ROA still applies and you would not need to disclose any spent convictions.

Insurance with a Criminal Record:

A great deal of insurance companies do discriminate against people with unspent convictions by charging higher premiums or refusing cover.

This is the case even if the convictions do not seem directly relevant to the policy being applied for.

For home insurance policies you should also take care to declare, if asked, whether anyone living at the address has an unspent conviction as this might result in any claim being rejected if the insurance company has not been informed.

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