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Police cautions and warnings to be included on criminal records checks in NI

Police

Police

Police cautions and warnings are to be routinely included in criminal records checks in Northern Ireland.

Justice Minister David Ford pledged to legislate for the change, which will affect applicants for jobs working with vulnerable adults or children, early next year.

At present, potential employers are only informed if a person has convictions or is barred from working with some groups.

A review of the criminal records system has been completed by Sunita Mason, an independent adviser to the authorities in England and Wales.

Mr Ford said: “I particularly welcome the support for Mrs Mason’s recommendations that AccessNI should routinely disclose information on cautions, informed warnings and details of diversionary youth conferences, and for the introduction of a system to filter out old and minor convictions.

“I intend to bring forward legislation to provide for these changes early in 2014.”

AccessNI can be used by individuals, employers, volunteers and community groups seeking a criminal history check. That may be if a person is undertaking work that requires close or regular contact with children or vulnerable adults, employment in the civil service or posts in an airport.

Other recommendations from Ms Mason surround proposals for a working definition of a criminal record and how long it is retained for.

The minister said: “As there was consensus that criminal record information should be retained for a 100-year period, I have agreed to implement this from 1 January 2014.

“I have also accepted in principle Mrs Mason’s proposed working definition of a criminal record. This will be looked at again following a forthcoming review of recordable and non-recordable offences.”

 

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