You may be wondering whether it is possible to get a caution, including a conditional caution or youth caution, removed, or perhaps simply you have an arrest record that you would like expunged (deleted).

It could be that your caution, or arrest record, is showing up on your standard or enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service DBS (formerly CRB) certificate. If so, the disclosure of your criminal record information may be hampering, or preventing altogether, your professional career.

Police caution how long do they last?

You may be wondering how long a police caution will last on your record, the answer is, it will depend on what type of DBS check you need, the type of offence you received your caution for, and what type of job you are going for.

If you are only required to provide a standard DBS certificate, then  your caution will usually be filtered off a standard certificate after 6 years (since changes to the law implemented in 2013).

If however you have a caution for an offence on the prescribed list of offences, then your caution will always be disclosed on any level of DBS certificate (enhanced or standard).  Therefore, unless you are able to have your caution deleted, if your caution is for an offence on the prescribed list, then the caution will never become “protected” and will never be filtered from your DBS certificate. N.B. 2019 edit, Disclosure with respect to youth reprimands/warnings/cautions are subject to revision by the government.

NB, November 2020 edit: Youth cautions, warnings and reprimands are immediately  “protected” subsequent to changes implemented by the government. This means that even for offences that appear on the DBS list of unfilterable offences, they will not be automatically be disclosed on an enhanced and standard DBS check. It should be noted however despite the changes, it is still possible for facts related to youth cautions, warnings or reprimands to still be disclosed on an enhanced DBS certificate if the police feel the information is “relevant”. 

The DBS publish a long list off offences that appear on the prescribed list. Cautions for these offence will never become filtered from any DBS certificate.

Most offences on the DBS prescribed list are of a serious nature and you would be very unlikely to receive a caution for a great many of the offences on the list; also changes brought about in 2015 means there is now a greater level of scrutiny by the police if a caution is going to be issued for a serious allegation and may only be issued in exceptional circumstances.

Typically, a proscribed list caution will be for actual bodily harm (ABH), child cruelty,  or sexual assault. Often these types of cautions may relate to facts that might be relatively minor, however owing to a decision made be the police officers/CPS, a prescribed list caution is issued. A prescribed list caution can have a devastating impact on a professional career.

How to Challenge a Police Caution?

If you have been issued with a caution, youth caution, conditional caution, for an offence either on the prescribed list or not, we can help you challenge the retention of the caution.

There are many things that can go wrong at the police station that might have made your caution unfair, perhaps you were unfairly pressed into accepting a caution, the consequences of the caution were minimised (“it’s just a slap on the wrists”), or you never admitted the allegation.

In the first instance we will always fight to remove your caution without the need for costly court proceeding; however if court becomes necessary, we have extensive experience of challenge police cautions and arrest records via judicial review proceedings.

We have overturned many police cautions and have extensive experience of making representations to a wide range of police forces across the country.

DBS Certificates and Barred list Appeals

Along with challenging unfairly issued police cautions, we also have extensive experience of challenging DBS decisions to bar and/or applying for the removal of a barring decision .

The DBS have a wide discretion when placing someone on the barred list, or retaining a barring decision in place; we have extensive experience of the law and procedure in this specialised area of law and have had many clients prevented from being barred.

If you have received a DBS notice to bar letter then please get in touch, it is important that you act promptly – if you fail to make representations then the DBS may automatically bar you from your chosen profession.

DBS Filtering

If it is not possible to delete your caution, and it is not on the prescribed list, it will become “protected” after 6 years and, generally, will be filtered according to DBS rules.

If however you are required to undertake an enhanced DBS certificate check, then it is possible that information  related to your caution could still be disclosed on your certificate if it is deemed relevant to the role you are applying.

We have acted for many clients in making representations to the DBS to remove information from an enhanced DBS certificate relating to an arrest or caution, and have successfully removed such records so that employers do not become aware of unfavorable past criminal record information.

Police Cautions Solicitors

Please get in touch today to discuss your case, we can usually offer reasonable fixed fees.

* Click Here for the Proscribed List Offences