Most people come into contact with the system for checking up on police records when they apply for a new job. There is another situation when you might need a certificate stating your criminal record though, and that’s when you’re thinking of going overseas. You’re not asked to prove your character when going overseas on holiday. This is only a concern for people who are moving overseas, on a permanent basis. Each country around the world has their own rules about who they will let in. Part of this process is usually a criminal records check, and the process for getting one is similar, but different to disclosure checks.
ACRO Police Certificates
If you’re thinking about moving to Australia, Canada or anywhere else, the body you’ll have to deal with is called ACRO. This is the UK’s Criminal Records Office. Their job is to issue police certificate as part of a visa application process. Although the information might be similar to that on a disclosure certificate, you can’t use an ACRO certificate to get a job.
This type of police record will state your current criminal record. It will not list any convictions which have been forgotten by rehabilitation law. There is a fairly complex model for working out when convictions will drop off your police record. It all depends on how old you were when you were charged with the offence, how many years have passed since then, and the type of conviction. There are calculators online which should help you work out whether past offences are forgotten or not. If you have very serious crimes in your past then these may never be forgotten.
Applying for Certificate
If you’re moving overseas, then you will have a wide range of information and documents to get together. Make sure you understand the specific requirements of the police certificate. If you’re asked to provide one dated within the previous six months, for example, it might be easier to leave this until you are further down the road with other documentation like health checks. Just like DBS checks, it’s easiest to do the application online. The information you are asked for is also similar to a DBS application. Provide your name, address, date of birth, and other details to help the police identify the right person’s record. If you’re in a hurry, then there’s a fast track option to getting a police check for an emigration visa. It costs more, but cuts the turnaround time from ten working days to just two.
Working Overseas and Character References
Many overseas organisations have similar rules as the UK in regards to people who want to work with children or vulnerable adults. Someone going overseas to work as a nurse, teacher or as a child’s sports coach will need an ACRO certificate as part of their job application. It’s usually best to organise this while you’re still in the UK rather than waiting until you are already overseas. If you have any questions, you can contact ACRO by phone or email.