Part of the standard application process for many jobs is the completion of some sort of Police check. There is nothing to worry about if your employer asks you to undergo a disclosure check or police check as for many roles it is a legal requirement to do so. Basic police checks are also often carried out when someone is applying for some types of immigration visas in order to support their application and show that they are of good character. Having criminal convictions in your past does not mean that your employer will automatically disregard your application or that your visa will be refused. Whether or not they decide to give you the job will depend on the circumstances of offences, the number of offences, and how long ago they took place. It is always better to be honest about crimes and cautions received as these will show up on a police check.

The Application Process

The average time for a basic police check to be done is around 8 weeks. This is assuming that the person completing the form does so properly, and that there are no errors or discrepancies in the information given. The first part of the process is to get hold of the relevant form. In most cases these can be found online, and you have the option of either making an online application, or printing the forms off from the website and completing them by hand. The process is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland, so make sure you are completing the correct forms depending on when you live. As part of the process, you will be asked to show documents to confirm your identity, such as passport, driving licence or identity card. The form will then be sent off, and the police in the relevant areas will carry out the necessary checks. Any delays in completing forms, providing required documentation and sending off the form will obviously impact on how long it takes for certificates to be issued.

What The Certificate Will List

A basic disclosure or DBS check will provide the least detail out of all the different sorts of checks available. This sort of check will still list the person’s criminal record, with a few exceptions. All crimes of violence or of a sexual nature will be listed, however long ago the crimes happened. More minor offences, such as shoplifting, can be considered “spent” after a set period of time, which varies depending on how old the person was when the offence was committed. These spent offences will not show up on a basic police check or disclosure, but will on the more detailed type of checks. If any offences are found, the certificate will list the date and court where the conviction was dealt with, and any penalty imposed such as a fine or community service. If nothing is found then a black certificate is not issued; the certificate will instead say “none recorded”.