DBS check - (formerly called a 'CRB check') - What's hiding in the dark?

Supposedly, no record of my arrest exists now on the Police National Computer Database. Wiped off by the Police, under the 'Exceptional Case' procedures after a complaint enquiry. There are local 'unregulated' databases of information about me (as there may well be about you). Every six months I make a 'subject access' request for the last six months entries. Some have been quite revealing and it satisfies any 'paranoia' I might have. To quote a former  'East End boy' colleague: "its wurfa punt, costs nawt!"

So, "What the heck are you moaning about?" you may ask.

Let's start with the monumental battle I have fought to clear my name, a battle that continues today as potentially there are official records of my arrest still in the 'public domain'. There was just under 2 years of lengthy investigation with the Police investigating themselves, after I made a series of complaints, from 2013 to 2015. During which time there was a complete abandonment of IPCC (renamed the IOPC) guidelines on complaints, by Devon and Cornwall Police and the report conclusions raised more questions than it provided answers.

This also proved to be the case with North Yorkshire Police as I believe, they closed ranks to justify their actions. On both reports, there are a series of material inaccuracies which separate the (confidential) custody record, from North Yorkshire Police to the written statements from the officers involved. Having failed to challenge these blatant material inaccuracies in the first report, much my mistake; I certainly was not going to let go of the poor validation of calling for my arrest by Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, thus I submitted an appeal.

The 'We did it because we can' came to the fore.

Again no independence was afforded as the appeal was conducted by the Police. I submitted several questions about the report writers ability to construct a professional report, one that concluded in logical proof and reasoning (that would put an end to any debate or questioning) without introducing spurious issues to swage the reader and reverting much to the 'we did it because we can' argument. 1/3  of the whole report related to an issue I had not raised. My appeal was swiftly dismissed, saying that the investigation was conducted professionally, although it was determined that the compiler of the report failed to follow IPCC guidelines and was referred for disciplinary oversight to the professional standards unit,  but concluded that the investigation report would stand and I could not appeal against the appeal!

When it comes to DBS checks these are fairly extensive. In my case the deletion from the Police National Computer may serve little purpose, if I cannot get any confirmation that the arrest will be, or not be, flagged up on other Official Data systems - namely the Security Services, Immigration and Border Control. I know my 'Security Clearance' was revoked on arrest, surely that is going to be flagged up.

There are currently reported to be over 9 million nominal (personal) records kept on the Police National Computer (PNC). These records are (reported to be) accessible by all Policing authorities and many others including Royal Mail, The Charities Commission, G4S [a private company], Environment Agency, DEFRA,.

A new computer database called the Police National Database (PND) has also been set up to make it easier for police forces to share intelligence information. It is estimated that the PND will contain information about a quarter of the UK population, including 6 million innocent people.

DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks are an increasingly common feature in determining the suitability of candidates for employment. These checks were formerly referred to as CRB checks. For certain roles they are considered as a pre-requisite to employment and DBS checks are required by legislation. Some DBS disclosures (known as standard disclosures) are confined to information about past convictions held on the PNC, including convictions that have become spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Other disclosures, referenced as enhanced disclosures, may also include information from local police records about matters other than convictions. Known and unknown allegations which have been formerly logged, even if they are not known to the individual, can be exposed to employers. Such non-conviction information is sometimes known as “soft intelligence”. It may include information about acquittals, or allegations that have never been the subject of the trial, or even about matters other than allegations of criminal or suspected criminal conduct.

The PNC holds indefinite records of a person's convictions and cautions which will be revealed in a DBS check. While of use in informing prospective employers as to the suitability of an applicant for a particular job, the information disclosed can show information which the applicant may think is of no relevance, such as a juvenile conviction for shoplifting where the applicant is now a thirty-year-old individual and applying for a job in a bank. Concerns have been expressed that the indefinite retention of old convictions and cautions is unwarranted.

Because of changes to legislation on 29th May 2013, DBS removed certain specified old and minor offences from criminal record certificates issued from this date. There are in place filtering rules and the list of offences that will never be filtered on the DBS system.

Removal of DATA held.

Retention Guidelines produced by 'The National Police Chiefs Council' - NPCC, (formerly known as ACPO - the Association of Chief Police Officers), there is an 'Exceptional Case' Procedure for the removal of DNA, fingerprints and PNC records. As each Chief Police Officer is the Data Controller of their PNC (entries), they have the discretion to authorise the deletion of any specific data entry on the PNC owned by them. However, this discretion is only ever exercised in absolutely exceptional cases.

Exceptional cases will, by definition, be rare. They might include cases where it can be proved that the arrest was unlawful, or where it is established beyond doubt that no offence existed. A library of circumstances have been collected by the DNA and Fingerprint Retention Project (DNAFRP) that have been viewed as exceptional cases, and this is used to assist Chief Officers by providing a bank of precedents when considering requests to remove records.

Subject to certain exemptions, individuals have a right to be told whether the police hold any information about them. A 'subject access' request/application can be made to the local police, subject to providing proof of identity. However, under the Data Protection Act 1998, the police may not provide personal data if is it considered that to do so would be likely to prejudice policing purposes.Further, the police will not release any information that would disclose the identity of another individual.

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