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What Is The Purpose Of The Criminal Records Bureau?

Jul 2, 2008
In 2002, the Executive Agency of the Home Office founded the Criminal Records Bureau in the U.K., as part of part V of the Police Act of 1997. People were becoming concerned with the safety of children and vulnerable adults, and the bureau was formed to perform criminal record searches for potential employees. The police forces did not have the time or resources to deal with the high number of requests for criminal record checks, and so the bureau was formed. The CRB also receives information from the Department of Health and the Department of Education and Skills.

The main objective in creating the CRB was to facilitate access to offensive records so that employers could make better hiring decisions, regarding sensitive jobs dealing with children and other vulnerable persons. Applications for criminal record checks supposedly take anywhere from 10 to 28 days, depending of the disclosure level, yet because the CRB is such a new bureau, it often takes much longer. If someone wants to conduct their own offensive record search, then the CRB is not involved and he or she must request "subject access" from the British police force.

The Criminal Records Bureau has two different levels of disclosure, which are Standard and Enhanced. The standard level of disclosure is used in the cases of people who sometimes work with children, or for people who have highly responsible jobs, such as accounting. When a criminal record search is conducted, the Standard Disclosure gives details of convictions, cautions, reprimands or any final warnings the applicant has received. It doesn't matter when the incident occurred.

The Standard Disclosure also states if the individual has ever been banned from working with children or vulnerable persons. Enhanced Disclosure is used in the cases of those who work with children or vulnerable adults more often than not. Doctors and social workers must have Enhanced Disclosure and the police must also do a new criminal record search.

The Criminal Records Bureau is basically the United Kingdom's response to too much paperwork at their police offices. The police simply didn't have the time to conduct all those offensive record checks. Therefore, they created a whole bureau to deal with that side of things.

The idea behind the bureau is to make the U.K. a little safer for children and vulnerable adults by having offensive records available to most anyone. When applying for criminal record information through the bureau, allow at least 10-28 days before expecting a response.
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