Sajid Javid reveals plan to let minor criminals keep records from employers

Posted On: 
17th April 2019

Criminals with minor convictions may no longer have to reveal them to potential employers, under plans being considered by Sajid Javid.

The Home Secretary said criminals who had served their time needed a "proper chance" to rebuild their lives.
Credit: 
PA

The Home Secretary said current rules were stopping people who had served their time from getting a "proper chance" to turn their lives around.

Under the existing system, anyone with more than one criminal conviction automatically has those details shared with potential employers, regardless of the time that has passed since the offence was committed.

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But Mr Javid revealed this week that his department has been in talks with the Ministry of Justice about a possible shake-up, which would stop crimes such as drug possession, minor assaults and thefts from being routinely disclosed.

"One thing I am looking at, to give you one example, is the disclosure service, youth criminality disclosure, and whether we can look again at the approach that is sometimes taken there," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"So, for example, if a young person today has committed two offences, no matter what they are, so could be twice they shoplifted when they were 11 and 12 or something, that record can linger for years and years when they are an adult. They may find they are never getting a proper chance to turn around.

"I think we need to be sensible and look again at issues like this."

The potential move has already been welcomed by criminal justice reform campaigners.

Christoper Stacey of the charity Unlock said: "This will give thousands of people every year a fairer chance when applying for work or volunteering without the stigma and shame of having to disclose mistakes that they might have made years - sometimes decades - earlier."

But David Green, director of the think tank Civitas, said some employers would need "above average levels of honesty" when filling roles and urged the Home Secretary to tread carefully.

"If it is withheld from them, they can’t fully protect their clients. There is very little wrong with the present law. Sajid Javid should consult widely before implementing this idea," he told the Telegraph.

The proposed shake-up comes after a successful legal challenge to the existing scheme, with the Supreme Court ruling that the current rules were "disproportionate" and rejecting an appeal by ministers.