There are an estimate 10 million people in the UK who have some sort of criminal record, ranging from serious career criminals with a string of convictions to someone who shoplifted as a teenager and has stayed out of trouble ever since. Many of us never think about past misdemeanours or minor brushes with the Police until they are asked to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for a new job which involves working with vulnerable groups such as children. A criminal record doesn’t automatically rule you out from working in these types of jobs, and each case is considered on its merits by the employer. A minority of people will be in for a surprise when they are issued with their DBS certificate only to see inaccurate or completely wrong information listed. How does this happen and how can it be put right?
How Does Incorrect Information End Up On My Record?
Often, mistakes on Police records are purely down to human error. Whoever put the information onto the computer system or paper records – often decades before – confused you with someone of a similar name, or who has the same date of birth, or who lived at your address or a similar sounding address in the same town. There may also be problems with the information held about you, such as saying you were convicted for some offence when you were acquitted, or saying you were in prison when all you got was a fine. Often these types of errors can go undetected for many years and working out how to correct them can be problematic.
If the errors held about you refer to someone else entirely, then you have the right to have them removed from your record. Once you receive your DBS certificate and spot the mistakes, complete a Certificate Dispute Form online. You must clearly state which items of information do not relate to you, and give as much detail as possible. If there is information on your DBS form which is not about you, then tick the box giving consent for fingerprint checks. To clear up the misunderstanding, the Police may ask you to attend a police station, have your fingerprints taken, and then allow them to compare your fingerprints with those of the person who has actually committed the offence. Usually cases of mistaken identity are easily resolved, and the incorrect information will be removed from your record.
What If I’m Still Not Happy?
If the Police still believe their records are correct, they may refuse to remove the information under dispute. If this happens, you have the right to apply to the Independent Monitor who will fully investigate the circumstances of your case, speak to both sides, and try to resolve the issue. Once that is done, a new DBS certificate will be issued. If the Independent Monitor rules in favour of the Police, then the only option is to take the Police to court. This course of action should be not be considered lightly as it can be very expensive, and you’ll need the help of a solicitor.