Criminal Records

Ministry of Justice written question – answered at on 21 November 2022.

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Photo of Wayne David Wayne David Labour, Caerphilly

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of reforming the system for sealing criminal records.

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The Government agrees with the conclusion of the 2017 Justice Select Committee report, ‘Disclosure of youth criminal records’, which found that, whilst there may be some merits in a mechanism whereby records could become ‘sealed’, this would create “unsustainable pressures” on the body responsible for deciding if a record should be sealed. As the report recommended, we are instead focused on using and reforming the existing automatic filtering system.

In November 2020, we implemented secondary legislation that changed the rules governing criminal records disclosure for those working with children, vulnerable adults or in a position of public trust, removing (for example) the requirement to disclose youth cautions. Further changes introduced by the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act significantly reduce the length of time that someone needs to disclose their criminal record for custodial sentences of under four years and community sentences.

We believe that these reforms will continue to ensure we strike the right balance between public protection and ensuring that individuals, and in particular children, who committed minor offences can move on with their lives as quickly as possible.

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