does a spent caution show up on a criminal reference background check??

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rd191285 | 22:17 Tue 21st Nov 2006 | Criminal
6 Answers
My friend is going for a very good job position. However, in the past he has made a few mistakes, one of which he got caught and cautioned. Will his caution show up on a CRB? It will be spent in 2yrs I believe. Will it show up now, even though its not spent? Will it show up when it is spent?
Can someone get back to me Thanks


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A caution is not a criminal conviction and is potentially not disclosable but your friend should read carefully what his potential employers require to be disclosed - some employers may want to know about a caution if the job is a potentially sensitive one
The caution is likely to show up on police records if a CRB search is done, both now and even after it becomes spent. Seatrout rightly points out that your friend may be obliged to disclose it for certain jobs (e.g. working with children or civil service) even if the caution is spent. If he is going to be vetted then it is best to be open and honest about it as they will find out about it anyway.
(2-part post):

When the system of cautioning offenders, rather than prosecuting them, was first introduced, it was made clear that a caution would not be regarded as creating a 'criminal record' (even though a caution can only be given if the person admits to criminal behaviour)

Consequently, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (which makes provision for convictions to become 'spent' for most employment applications), makes no reference to cautions. (i.e. there is nothing in law which says that a caution can ever become spent after any particular length of time).

Despite the intention of the legislators who introduced the system of cautioning, that a caution should not create a criminal record, records of cautions have been absorbed into the criminal records system. This means that there is now a 'grey area' where cautions are often regarded as part of a criminal record but they can't officially become spent because they don't create a criminal record!

This is what the National Association for the Care and Rehabilitation of Offenders Act say about cautions, in relation to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act:
"Cautions, reprimands and final warnings are not criminal convictions and so are not dealt with by the Act. So if people with cautions, reprimands or final warnings only are asked whether they have any 'criminal convictions' they can answer 'no'. Sometimes people are asked if they have a 'criminal record'. This is a less precise term, but it is usually understood to mean convictions. So people who are asked if they have a 'criminal record' may also answer 'no' if they have no convictions.
However, people who are specifically asked if they have cautions, reprimands or final warnings should disclose them until they are deleted from police records. Records of cautions should be deleted after five years if there are no convictions on the record. (In practice, some police forces may retain records of cautions for much longer than this or indefinitely.)"


The CRB website states that their discloures show "details of all convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings held on the Police National Computer" but "Ex-offenders will retain the protection afforded by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974". However, it doesn't make clear their policy on cautions (which, as I've said, aren't covered by the Act):
(It would seem reasonable to assume that cautions are treated in the same way as most non-custodial sentences. i.e: they will become 'spent' after a period of 5 years. That also seems to be consistent with the NACRO statement).

For an authoritative answer, phone the CRB on 0870 90 90 811.

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thank you all sooo much for your information. I shall pass this info on to my friend. once again, thank you
If any of you believe strongly that minor offences are ruining peoples lives, please sign the petition here

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