Removal of Police Cautions

Police cautions can have a long-term effect on your private and professional life. Richard Nelson LLP’s specialist police caution removal solicitors are realistic and approachable, providing advice and representation for people who want to clear police cautions that might hold them back from their future plans.

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What is a Police Caution?

If you commit a minor crime, the police can issue you with a caution. A caution is not the same as a criminal conviction, but is still indicative of a criminal offence having been committed. Cautions can be used as evidence of bad character if you go to court in the future.

Cautions can be issued to anyone over the age of 10 years old. Once a police caution has been issued, it will generally appear on your record used by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for six years (this is reduced to two years if you were under 18 at the time the caution was issued). Though not a criminal conviction, a caution can have a lasting impact on your ability to move forward with your professional or private life.

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Implications of employment and travelling abroad with a police caution

If you have received a police caution, youth warning or reprimand, you may have agreed to this without having fully appreciated the ramifications it would have for you in later life. Having a caution on your record may negatively impact you on the advancement of your chosen career, particularly if you intend to work with children or vulnerable adults, or if you wish to enter into a regulated profession. A caution on your record may even impact on your travel plans. At the time you accepted the caution, you may have been misled by the Police about the implications of it.

It is possible that in certain circumstances, Police cautions can be removed from your record. Find out more information about how to get a police caution removed, or contact specialist caution removal solicitor Mark Hopwell to discuss your case.

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Retention of Police Cautions - FAQ

What is a simple caution from the police?
A simple caution is a record of criminal allegation where an individual accepts the evidence and admits the allegation. A caution is recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC) and forms part of an individual’s criminal record and is disclosed on background checks including DBS checks and immigration checks.

Conditional cautions attach conditions, such as the payment of a fine, or an apology letter; if the conditions are not met then the caution can be voided with a prosecution commenced.

There are also youth cautions and youth conditional cautions, which are similar to adult cautions but have slightly different procedural requirements.

Is a police caution a criminal conviction?
A police caution is not technically a criminal conviction, but it does have a number of the hallmarks of a conviction. Most significant of these is that it will be retained on the PNC indefinitely, and so will be a permanent criminal record. Certain disclosure rules apply to when a caution can be disclosed, but the caution will always remain on the PNC unless it is deleted.

How far back does the Police National Computer go?
Police cautions are retained on the Police National Computer (PNC) for 100 years.

All cautions, reprimands and warning retained on the PNC are potentially disclosable on a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) depending on the circumstances.

Most adult cautions become protected, or “filtered”, after six years (2 years for youth warnings and reprimands) and will not automatically appear on a standard or enhanced DBS. However, cautions for offences that are classed as “specified”, considered to be the more serious offences related to potential safeguarding issues, are never protected and will always be disclosed on an enhanced and standard check.

In addition, the police retain a discretion to disclose any caution on an enhanced DBS check (even if it has been filtered), where they deem it to be relevant to the specific DBS check.

The only way a police caution will never show up on a DBS check is if it gets deleted from the PNC.

Will a caution be removed after five years on the PNC?
There is a common misconception that a police caution gets removed after five years due to previous rules related to retention of cautions. The retention and disclosure rules have changed many times over the years. A police caution is retained on the PNC for 100 years unless deleted. A caution will not be disclosed on a basic DBS check but will show on an enhanced and standard DBS check for six years. The police also have a discretion to disclose information on an enhanced DBS check if they feel it is relevant to a particular job role. Also, cautions for certain specified offences will always be disclosed, no matter how much time has elapsed.

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A Guide to Getting a Police Caution Removed

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