Stepping Down Offences – Changes in the Law

Until October 2009 it was possible to have the above convictions ‘stepped down’ from your records so they were no longer disclosed by the police to your employer.

This means that the police would not have disclosed these convictions in a CRB check because they are no longer offences. Although a previous conviction would always stay on police records they would not have been disclosed in a CRB check.

However, on the 19th October 2009 a judgement by the Court of Appeal in London supported the retention of all criminal convictions on the PNC.  In particular the police are obliged to provide disclosure services to the CRB with access to all convictions held on the PNC.  In effect the police currently say that they are no longer allowed by law to ‘step down’ any conviction, even if it is spent or no longer la criminal offence.

It is important to note that the above ruling applies retrospectively.  If you have previously been told by the police that a previous conviction has been stepped down this conviction may now appear on a current CRB check.

What is Galop doing to challenge this ruling?

Galop is currently working with a solicitor to get the police and Home Office to change the above ruling.  Galop believes that it is unjust for sexual offences which are no longer illegal (and are spent convictions) to be retained by the police and disclosed on an enhanced criminal records bureau check.  Galop feels this ruling discriminates against gay and bisexual men with previous convictions for consensual sexual acts: they are forced to reveal convictions that only applied to homosexual offences between men and disclosing such offences effectively ‘outs’ these to their employers or others.

If this situation affects you, please let us know, as it may be possible for you to join any legal action against the police.

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