If you’ve never applied for a DBS check before, the process can be daunting. Especially if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t like filling in forms or completing paperwork. However, the system has been designed to be as straightforward as possible, and if you do run into difficulties, there are always people you can turn to for help. There are different systems for police records checks in Scotland and Northern Ireland but wherever you are, the application steps are more or less the same. If you’ve been asked to apply for a DBS check then don’t panic. Here’s everything you need to know.
In most cases, people apply for a DBS check because they are told to do so by a new employer. Mostly, the employer will provide you with a paper form, or direct you to the website. The form isn’t complicated but it’s very important you fill it in correctly. Any mistakes will just delay your certificate being sent out. Common things which catch people out are not giving a full address history – including postcodes – going back five years, or forgetting to list previous names. If you haven’t filled in a police check form before, ask someone to check it over for you before submitting.
Before the police can search their database, they have to be completely sure they are looking into the correct person’s background. That’s why your employer will ask to see photographic proof of who you are, and where you live. There are lots of documents which can be used to prove this, and the list includes passport, driving licence, official identity cards, utility bills and so on. Make sure you have the correct combination of identity documents to show. You will need originals of all documents. If you are showing bills or credit card statements, they should be dated within the last three months. There’s a DBS helpline to give advice to people struggling to get the correct combination of documents.
Police Records Checking
The police can then get to work searching their records for any information which they might have. Exactly what information they release for inclusion on the certificate depends on a wide range of factors. This includes the type of disclosure, and how long ago the offences occurred.
It’s also worth remembering that you don’t need a “clean” DBS check to get a job. Offenders charities estimate that as many as a third of adult males have some sort of conviction or caution on the police computer. If you had a minor brush with the law as a teenager and have been law abiding ever since, it’s not likely to go against you. A more extensive criminal record could be another matter. Honesty is usually the best policy.
Once the police decide what to put on the certificate, they will print it out and sent it to you in the post. You can then check it over before showing your employer. They may want to take a copy, but will return the original to you.