Gay sex convictions to be deleted from police records

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Men with historical convictions for consensual gay sex are to have their criminal records wiped clean, it will be announced today. Thousands of men were prosecuted over four decades for having sex with a partner aged 16 or over when the act was illegal. They have protested that their criminal records have dogged them throughout their lives.

Under the move, included in the new Protection of Freedoms Bill, convictions under the 1956 Sexual Offences Act will be expunged from police and other official records. Gay sex between men over 21 was decriminalised in 1967. The homosexual age of consent was reduced to 18 in 1994 and brought down to 16 – in line with the age of consent for heterosexual acts – six years later.

A Government source said: "To maintain police records of such convictions and require them to be disclosed in effect maintains the discrimination against gay men that was inherent in these outmoded offences. Society has moved on."

Today's Bill also narrows the scope of the DNA database, imposes restrictions on CCTV cameras and scales back checks on people working with children.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, said the Bill marked a return to commonsense government that would free millions of law- abiding people from unwarranted state intrusion in their private lives.