How To Check Someone’s Criminal Record UK?

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is the main public organisation responsible for criminal checks in the UK. A DBS check, previously known as a CRB check, provides the details of a target individual’s criminal history.

How Can I Check If Someone Has a Criminal Record In The UK?

To quickly and effectively verify whether someone in the United Kingdom has a criminal history, you can use services offered by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This process is beneficial for employers or organisations who need to verify potential employees for roles that involve working with vulnerable groups such as children or healthcare services. DBS checks come in different forms: basic, enhanced, and special checks covering medical professionals; read more to determine which DBS check you can apply for.

  • Basic Check: Reveals unspent convictions and conditional cautions, whilst Standard Check provides details of spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings issued during their time at school or college.
  • Enhanced Check: Includes everything listed as standard plus any relevant local police information related to their job role.
  • Enhanced Check with Barred Lists: This enhanced check also indicates whether an individual is on any lists that restrict them from doing certain types of work.

Individuals looking to review their criminal history on their own are only allowed to request basic criminal record checks. More comprehensive examinations must be initiated by the organisation applying to hire you, provided your role qualifies for such a level of DBS check.

There may be circumstances outside employment where background checks might be necessary or permissible, including protecting children or vulnerable adults. If there is a concern that a certain individual poses an imminent risk to these groups, rather than going through DBS, it would be prudent to contact law enforcement directly; they can help you verify your doubts.

There are regulations in place for conducting these checks, with particular attention paid to protecting the privacy and rights of those being checked. DBS checks do not cover criminal records from outside the UK. Therefore, additional steps may be necessary for those living abroad.

The cost and processing time of DBS checks depend on their nature and the volume of requests being handled at any given time. Basic checks are quicker and less costly than enhanced ones, with all checks for volunteering being free of charge.

How do I check my criminal record in the UK?

If you are curious as to whether you may have a criminal record and what it says about you, a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check can provide valuable insight. Such checks offer details regarding any convictions or conditional cautions you might have.

Here is how it can be done:

  • Check Criminal Record Online: Visit GOV. UK’s website, and you can apply for a basic DBS check for yourself online. Once there, provide evidence of who you are by giving some form of identification – this may require filling out several forms.
  • Share Your Address History: Also, provide them with information about where you have resided over time.

This check is helpful when you are applying for a new job and wondering what an employer will find upon checking your criminal history. A basic DBS check only shows unspent convictions and conditional cautions, so it provides only limited insight. This form of criminal background check in the UK delivers minimum detail.

Check Criminal Record as an Employer

When hiring new members for your team, you need to make sure that they are the right fit. A background check can be an invaluable asset when doing so. In the UK, this can be done through DBS checks, which enable employers to learn if their prospective employee has a criminal past.

What type of check you require depends on your job and its requirements; the process for requesting one varies depending on the complexity of the test. Simpler test requests may be completed online through various organisations. For more comprehensive checks, you may require an individual or specialised group that handles these requests directly. If your organisation often needs checks done on multiple people, you can directly register with DBS, which might make the process faster overall.

Conducting a criminal check before hiring employees is more than just another step in the process; it is a vital tool in ensuring your workplace is safe and trustworthy.

Check If Someone Is a Child Sex Offender

If you are concerned that someone around a child might not be safe, there is a way to verify whether your concerns are valid through Sarah’s Law (Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme). It is an initiative established to safeguard children by providing people with a way of verifying whether anyone around a child has committed sexual acts against children in the past.

Sarah’s Law makes a powerful difference for children’s welfare by making it possible for anyone concerned about them (not only parents or guardians) to ask the police if a certain individual poses a potential risk to a child’s safety. This makes Sarah’s Law truly useful as friends, neighbours, and relatives who care about the child can step in quickly if they suspect that someone poses a danger. They do a quick, free criminal background check and take appropriate actions to safeguard a child in need.

You can obtain this information by contacting your local police force. You can go to their website to submit the request, call their non-emergency number (often 101 in many locations) or even go directly to the station to ask for help. This will enable the officers to look into any issues surrounding the child’s safety with the target individual and inform you if any cause for alarm exists.

Can I find out if someone has a criminal record or History of Violence?

If you are concerned about someone’s past, especially if they seem involved in violent or abusive behaviour, Clare’s Law (also known as Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme or DVDS) provides an avenue to get more information. This rule allows people to request information from police about a person’s history of violence or abuse, be that against themselves or others. DVDS allows people to ask the police if someone around you or the ones you care about has had a history of violence or abuse. This may include someone you are dating now, an ex or someone close to your relative.

Information provided by police will depend on your relationship with the person in danger and the severity of the risk. They could inform you if there have been past incidents of violence, harassment, or any form of abuse by this individual.

Clare’s Law allows you to contact the police through their non-emergency number (usually 101) by visiting your local station directly or reaching out online – though if there is immediate danger, dial 999 immediately for help.

Other Types of Background Checks

When you need more than just criminal background information about someone, a full background check can give you an in-depth view. A background check on a person doesn’t just tell you whether someone has broken the Law; it also tells you about their work history and marital status (if applicable). Where they lived previously and even any names used over time, which are invaluable details if hiring, going into business with or renting someone a place to live.

Private Investigations UK employs a specialist private investigator team that understands how to access this type of information while maintaining everyone’s privacy and adhering to rules and regulations. Our motto is professional conduct that respects everyone involved and keeps things confidential, which means conducting checks according to legal rules that protect personal information.

Hence, for a complete picture of someone’s background, it may be worthwhile to hire our professional service. We can help shed light on who someone really is beyond just free public criminal records UK while assuring all their activities are legal and comply with privacy laws.


Are criminal records public in the UK?

In the UK, criminal records are not publicly accessible to everyone. However, you have the right to request a copy of your own police records. This process is known as a ‘subject access request’ and can be made through ACRO or directly to the police forces in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey, and the Isle of Man. The information provided will include records held by the police; you must follow a specific process if you need records from Scotland​​.

How to background check someone and find out if someone has been in prison?

To find criminal records to determine if someone has been in prison in the UK, you can take a few approaches, depending on whether the person is currently in prison or not and your relationship with them.

The UK government provides a “Find a Prisoner” service for someone currently in prison. You need to email or write to the Prisoner Location Service, including details such as your name, address, the name of the person you’re looking for, and your reason for the enquiry. Note that the prisoner must consent to share their information unless you represent a certain organisation like the police​​.

The Prisoners’ Families Helpline also outlines a similar process, specifying that if you’re looking for a family member or relative you believe is in prison, you can contact the Prisoner Location Service by letter or email, including details like your full name, date of birth, address, and the reason for your enquiry. The service will seek permission from the prisoner before sharing their location with you​​.

Legal Beagle also highlights that virtually all prisons in the UK feed into a national government database, making it easier to locate prisoners. The service is open to anyone, including family, friends, legal representatives, and even victims or their families. However, the inmate’s consent is needed for their location to be shared, with certain exceptions for official organisations​​.

For historical records or finding out if someone has been in prison in the past, you might need to consult specific archives or public records, which could involve more detailed and specific research, including legal or governmental records databases.

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