Criminal Records Regime review: phase two

The review of the broader criminal records regime has now been completed, led by Mrs Sunita Mason, the government’s independent advisor.



The review of the broader criminal records regime has now been completed, led by Mrs Sunita Mason, the government’s independent advisor on criminality information management.

Phase two of the review focused on the criminal records regime.

Summary of recommendations

  • I  recommend that an individual’s ‘criminal record’ should be defined as all their convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings which are recorded in central police records (recommendation 1)
  • I recommend that the government conduct an immediate review of which offences are recorded in national police records (recommendation 2)
  • I recommend that the Police National Computer should continue to be the central repository for criminal records for the foreseeable future (recommendation 3)
  • Linked to recommendation 3, I recommend that the Government should begin work immediately on developing and analysing alternative options for sharing and managing criminal records in the longer term (recommendation 4)
  • I recommend that Ministers and their Northern Ireland counterparts should reach agreement urgently on how to fund delivery of the PSNI -PNC criminal records and fingerprint connection (recommendation 5)
  • I recommend that the Government and the police service should move towards a more integrated approach to the administration of criminal records. I further recommend that the scope to expand the role of the DBS over time to provide the customer-facing aspects of a range of disclosure services should be explored (recommendation 6)
  • I recommend that:
    (i) Access to criminal records via the Police National Computer should only be granted where it is necessary for public protection or criminal justice purposes
    (ii) All such access should be agreed by the Police Information Access Panel (PIAP), based on appropriate business cases and supply agreements(iii) All existing supply arrangements should be reviewed within the next 12 months to check they conform to the standards set by PIAP (recommendation 7)
  • I recommend that the systems for individuals to access, challenge and correct their own criminal records should be maintained and better publicised (recommendation 8)
  • I recommend that the comprehensive and easily understood guidance which I advocated in my phase 1 report should extend to broader aspects of the criminal records system, such as definition, retention and access (recommendation 9)
  • I recommend that Ministers commission further work to review and update the cross-Government strategy for improving the international exchange of criminal records. This should include consideration of the following elements:
    (i) ensuring the transfer of fingerprint records with criminal records as often as possible (particularly with EU Countries)
    (ii) ensuring greater levels of notification of criminal offences committed by British citizens outside the EU
    (iii) looking at whether more can be done to prevent the entry of foreign nationals who have committed serious offences abroad and who present a serious risk to public protection
    (iv) seeking agreements to allow the CRB to obtain criminal records from a person’s country of nationality where the applicant and employer request this as part of the CRB disclosure process and where adequate safeguards can be put in place
    (v) developing a coherent and consistent cross-government policy setting out the circumstances in which foreign governments should be told about the convictions of their nationals and ensuring that all UK agencies adhere to it
    (vi) allowing British residents to obtain a standard CRB certificate when applying for a post abroad that would be excepted from the ROA if it was in the UK, and to a check of the barred list where it would have amounted to regulated activity
    (vii) ensuring that existing and developing initiatives in this area are adequately resourced (recommendation 10)

  • Criminal records regime review - phase two (PDF file - 1mb - Warning: large file)