Cautions and “minor” convictions to disappear from DBS Checks
The Supreme Court has handed down a very important ruling with regards to the disclosure of police cautions and minor convictions. The Court ruled that the disclosure of cautions and/or minor convictions would be incompatible with human rights legislation in England and Wales.
In particular, the ruling affects those applying for certain kinds of jobs involving work with children or the vulnerable.
Although this case was not a licensing case, it is likely to have ramifications for licensing and particularly taxi and private hire drivers.
At the moment, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 states that, after a period, a person's criminal convictions become “spent” and therefore don't need to be disclosed to prospective employers. A caution is spent as soon as it is given.
However, certain types of employment, including taxi and private hire drivers, are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Exempt jobs are those working with children and vulnerable people and for these jobs all convictions and cautions which would otherwise have been spent were disclosed.
However the Supreme Court ruling, upholding a previous Court of Appeal ruling, will now change this. The effect of this ruling is likely to result in a change in law that will require the Home Office to filter certain types of convictions and cautions rendering licensing authorities unable to take previous convictions and cautions into account when determining the fitness of applicants for driving licences.