Criminal record checks
We will in all cases verify an applicant’s identity and undertake a criminal record check (covering at least five years). Where the check reveals that the applicant has a record of convictions or cautions and warnings, we will consider these carefully on the basis of:
- How relevant the offences are to the licence being applied for
- How serious the offences were, and
- How recent they were
We will pay special attention to offences involving violence, weapons, drugs, criminal damage and sexual offences.
You will not get a licence unless you have been free of the effects of a conviction, caution or warning for at least 2 years before your licence application or for at least 5 years where we consider the offence to be serious. Serious offences include those involving violence, weapons, drugs, serious criminal damage, theft and dishonesty.
By ‘free of the effects of a conviction, caution or warning’ we mean that we will start counting the time elapsed from the date of the caution or warning or from the end of the sentence or penalty as appropriate – not from the date when you were sentenced or when the offence was committed. Also, if you have been convicted of an offence and spent any time in prison, the date for deciding whether the offence is still relevant for licensing purposes is the date the sentence would have ended. This applies even if you were released early.
While a licence is in force, we shall receive updates of new convictions and cautions for licence holders. This will allow us to decide whether action needs to be taken on the continuation of the licence.
If you have been based for six continuous months or more overseas, you must produce evidence of a criminal record check covering that period from an official source which we can verify. This applies if you are a UK citizen or an overseas national. For more information
Access to a person’s criminal record is usually restricted under the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. However, as it is in the public interest the SIA is exempt from this restriction and is allowed full access to your criminal record.