You can ask the police to check if someone that has contact with a child has a record of sexual offences.
‘Contact’ means the person has enough access to a specific child to pose a real risk of harm. For example:
- they live with the child
- they work in the child’s household
- they talk to the child online or over the phone
- they could meet the child unsupervised through access to shared common areas, like gardens or corridors, or through a relationship with the child’s family
Call 999 if you think the child is in immediate danger.
You do not have to be a relative of the child you’re concerned about to ask for a check.
How to ask for a police check
- call 101
- go to a local police station
Depending on where you live, you may also be able to ask through an online form. Look up your local police force to see if they offer this service.
When you ask for a check, you’ll need to:
- tell the police your name and contact details (you cannot apply anonymously)
- say why you want to have the person checked
- explain what your relationship to the child is
How long it takes
It can take up to 28 days for the police to finish a check. If the child is in immediate danger, then the police will act right away before the check is finished.
What you need to do after asking for the check
In the first 24 hours after you ask for a check, the police will work with you to find a safe way to keep in touch.
Within 10 days of asking for a check, you’ll need to attend a meeting or have a call with the police to:
- show proof of your identity and address, such as a passport, a driving licence, a household utility bill or a bank statement
- show proof of your relationship to the child, such as a birth certificate or a personal child health record (red book)
- allow the police to find out more details
If the police cannot confirm your identity, you cannot be told the results of the check. The police will still act to keep the child safe.
Who will be told about the check
If the police have found any relevant information, they’ll decide who needs to be told. This might not be you.
It will usually be the people best placed to protect the child, such as the child’s parent, guardian or carer.
The police will normally tell the person who was checked that they’re sharing this information, if they decide it’s safe to do that. This might include telling the person that you asked for the check. The police will talk to you when making this decision.
If the police want to share information with you
The police will only share information with you if you sign an agreement promising not to tell anyone else.
If you think there are other people who should be told, ask the police about this.