Have you ever been in trouble with the law? Most of us will remember if we’ve ever been arrested or been through the court system. But even if nothing as serious as that has happened, there aren’t many of us who get through life without a few points on our driving licence or a parking ticket. Is all of this information stored away somewhere, and could it come back to appear on a DBS certificate?


Police National Computer

The main source of information for police in the UK is the Police National Computer, or PNC. This is a large database where police store everything from pictures taken when you were arrested to intelligence and tips about ongoing information. If you’ve ever been arrested, your details will be on the PNC, along with your photo and potentially your fingerprints and DNA. The database is constantly updated each time you come into contact with the police or are charged with a new offence. The PNC is the database which the DBS search when they are preparing your DBS certificate. The level of DBS check will determine what sort of information is looked at.

  • Basic DBS check – current, unspent convictions and cautions only.
  • Standard DBS – current convictions and cautions, and any spent convictions thought to be relevant.
  • Enhanced DBS – current convictions and cautions, spent convictions which are thought to be relevant, and any other intelligence held on the PNC which s thought to be relevant too.


DVLA Database

Although it’s the police who stop you if you’re speeding or fine you for running a red light, this information is stored separately and held by the DVLA. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency keep records about everyone with a UK driving licence, and about all of the vehicles on the road too. The police have access to information on the DVLA database so that they are aware how many points you have on your licence and whether your car is insured.


When A Driving Offence Becomes a Crime

The confusion involving driving offences is the crossover between something like a speeding ticket which remains on the DVLA database, and driving crimes which can also appear on the PNC too. In most cases, minor offences are things like speeding, going through a red light, not wearing a seatbelt or having a defective tyre. Being caught doing one of those things might get you points on your driving licence and land you with a fixed penalty fine. But it doesn’t get recorded on the PBC as it’s not criminal.

However, if your driving offence is serious enough to be dealt with in a magistrates’ court then it will be recorded on the PNC and could be disclosed on a DBS certificate. This would cover offences such as drink driving, dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident or refusing to provide a specimen of breath. Whether or not this type of offence appears on a DBS check after it is considered spent under other circumstances will depend on the job under consideration.