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Lockdown Offences and DBS Checks

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By the end of April 2020, over 9000 fines for breaking lockdown rules had been issued by police across the UK. Despite restrictions starting to be slowly lifted, police continue to break up large gatherings and issue fines to people repeatedly flouting the rules. In the short term, being issued a fine involves inconvenience, and some money disappearing from your bank balance. But longer term, could the offences appear on a DBS Check when you apply for a job in the future?

 

Fixed Penalty Notices

Most breaches of lockdown rules are being dealt with using the fixed penalty system. This is a tool which the Police have which allows them to issue an on the spot fine, without having to go through the process of arrest, questioning, charging and a court appearance. It’s a quick way of dealing with what are usually minor issues. Fixed penalties might be used for other minor offences like dropping litter on the street, or breaking local by-laws about drinking outside a pub. These are not criminal matters. If you pay the fixed penalty, the matter is closed, and the fine is not recorded as a “crime”.

 

Recording of Personal Details

If you are stopped for breaking lockdown rules, dropping litter or another matter such as running a red light, the police will take basic details from you. The main reason for this is to catch repeat offenders. There are more severe penalties for people who break lockdown rules many times, with an increasing fine for each. The only way for the police to find serial offenders is to know who has been fined in the past. This is the part of the process which worries many people - the fact their name appears on the police computer.

 

Enhanced DBS

An enhanced DBS is the most detailed level of DBS check in the UK, and will show a very high level of information, if relevant. Not only will all current convictions and cautions be shown on an enhanced DBS certificate, but the police also have the right to disclose other information which they hold on their files which is thought to be relevant. This could be older convictions which are considered spent under other circumstances, or intelligence held on file. It is in these circumstances in which fines issued under the fixed penalty scheme might come back to the surface.

However, the police also go through a filtering process when deciding what information to disclose on a certificate. They consider both the type of offence or intelligence, and the type of job under consideration. In most cases, it is most unlikely that a single fixed penalty would be thought relevant. A couple of fixed penalties for different things over a few years is unlikely to be relevant either. However, if you’ve dozens of fixed penalties within a short period of time, the police may feel that it shows a disregard for following the rules and may decide that on balance, it is best to disclose.