Clean slate for thousands as minor crimes cleared

 

Thousands of people with minor convictions dating back years are to have their records cleared in a major law change after judges declared the current system breached their human rights, the Government said today.

The overhaul follows a ruling by three judges in January who said that people forced to declare cautions from childhood were being unfairly prevented from working with children.

The challenge was brought by three people including a 21-year-old who struggled to get a part-time job at a football club because of two warnings he received from police over two stolen bicycles when he was aged 11.

Another woman said that she had been unable to get a job in the care sector after a check revealed a caution after she had walked out of Superdrug without paying for a packet of false nails nearly a decade earlier.

The changes will directly affect thousands who apply for jobs each year that require criminal records checks including teachers and doctors. Under the current system, records checks must include information on all convictions and cautions including those deemed to have been spent.

The rights group Liberty said the changes were sensible and progressive. “For too long irrelevant and unreliable information provided under the criminal record system has blighted people’s lives,” said Corinna Ferguson of Liberty.

Serious violent and sexual offences, crimes with jail terms and some other offences would remain on the checking procedure, the Home Office said.

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