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Über dieses Buch

This book provides a critical overview of the policy frameworks underpinning the contemporary practices of non-conviction information disclosure during pre-employment ‘screening’. It questions how a man can walk free from a criminal court as an innocent person only to have all the court details of his acquittal passed to any potential employer.Despite several million ‘enhanced’ criminal background checks being performed each year, there has been little discussion of these issues within academic literature. Non-conviction information, also known as 'police intelligence', is a less well-known check provided alongside the criminal record check. This book seeks to define what is meant by non-conviction information and to provide a clear and simple explanation of how this decision making process of police disclosure to employers is made. It also considers the extent to which these practices have been subjected to legal challenges within the UK and explores how public protection is balanced against individual rights.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. The Disclosure of Criminal Records to Employers

Abstract
The criminal record disclosure system has grown incrementally over the last thirty years. Existing laws have been altered and amended and other laws are added on in an ad hoc fashion in response to case law and parts of the European Convention on Human Rights. The whole system now arguably needs reviewing and simplifying if anyone is to fully understand it. Starting in Home Office circulars, it is now a tangle of legislation described by The Times newspaper as ‘complicated and arcane’ (The Times Editorial, 31 January 2019). It is on to this Kafkaesque system of criminal record disclosures that the equally difficult-to-follow arrangements have been added to disclose ‘non-conviction information’.
Terry Thomas, Kevin Bennett

Chapter 2. The Nature of ‘Non-conviction Information’

Abstract
Police stations have become repositories of both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ information on members of the public, collated from various sources. ‘Hard’ information is that which is verifiable (like conviction records) and ‘soft’ information is less verifiable (like police intelligence). The means of storage are now digital in nature and include such databases as the Police National Computer (PNC), the Police National Database (PND) and the, currently being implemented, Law Enforcement Data Services (LEDS). The sources of this information are from police investigations, multi-agency meetings or ‘hubs’ discussing child welfare, domestic violence, and child sexual exploitation. Voluntary organisations also input information such as Neighbourhood Watch, Shopwatch, Pubwatch, ‘Crimestoppers’ etc. Some people are more vaguely designated as simply ‘known to the police’ and as such may have ‘non conviction information’ held on them.
Terry Thomas, Kevin Bennett

Chapter 3. The Police Disclosure of Non-conviction Information to Employers (1986–2010)

Abstract
The disclosure of ‘non conviction information’ to employers emerged quietly in the mid-1980s with only minimal public discussion. Within a few years, it had embedded itself within the general criminal record disclosure arrangements. These arrangements were based on Home Office circulars until the passing of the 1997 Police Act when they became subject to a statutory framework. The first real legal challenge came in the case of R(X) in 2004 which prioritised the employer’s right to know about ‘non conviction information’ over the job applicant’s right to privacy. Guidance was produced for the police on how to make decisions to disclose but, for the applicant, a more effective legal challenge was made in the case of R(L) in 2009.
Terry Thomas, Kevin Bennett

Chapter 4. The Police Disclosure of Non-conviction Information to Employers (2010–to the Present Day)

Abstract
The disclosure of police held ‘non conviction information’ on Enhanced certificates is now undertaken by the police in accordance with a statutory test for relevance and an assessment of ‘proportionality’ in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights. It is the Chief Officer’s responsibility to decide what intelligence is relevant and ought to be disclosed. The police do not decide what convictions and cautions are disclosed. In situations where an applicant disputes the relevancy of police ‘non conviction information’ disclosed on a certificate, then there is a separate process for appealing the police decision through the Independent Monitor, created by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The disclosure of convictions and cautions is not subject to that appeal route.
Terry Thomas, Kevin Bennett

Chapter 5. Making the Decision to Disclose ‘Non-conviction Information’

Abstract
The advice given to police officers on what to release as ‘non conviction information’ and what to withhold has grown more sophisticated over the years. Early circular advice in the 1980s was quite perfunctory, and only the impact of judicial reviews appears to have made guidance ever more detailed (see, e.g., R(X) 2004 and R(L) 2009). First came the Home Office Circular 2005/5 and later came the (QAF), first produced in 2006, and the first and second editions of the (2012 and 2015) are the most recent manifestations of this guidance.
Terry Thomas, Kevin Bennett

Chapter 6. Human Rights

Abstract
The question of ‘human rights’ has necessarily been brought into the debate on disclosure of ‘non conviction information’. In particular, the rights expounded in the European Convention on Human Rights that were brought into UK law by the 1998 Human Rights Act. Article 6 (the right to a fair and open trial) and Article 8 (the right to privacy) of the Convention and the concept of proportionality have been slowly integrated into decision-making on the disclosure of ‘non conviction information’. This integration is an on-going matter subject to continuing debate. What had seemed a fairly simple decision back in the 1980s on what ‘non conviction information’ to release is now realised to be a far more complex matter.
Terry Thomas, Kevin Bennett

Chapter 7. Conclusions

Abstract
This chapter draws together some of the themes of the book. The structure of the criminal record disclosure arrangements and then the addition of the arrangements to disclose ‘non conviction information’. It also looks at how employers in receipt of this information assess and use it to make employment selection decisions; the fear is that some employers make no assessments at all but require there to be completely ‘clear sheets’. The chapter also examines the literature that suggests this ‘non conviction information’ is of any assistance to employers and notes the paucity of such supporting literature. It examines the degree of ‘stigma’ that may fall on job applicants and the degree to which the disclosure of ‘non conviction information’ may even be undermining the mainstream criminal justice process. The start of discussions to completely review the system to make it simpler and more transparent are noted.
Terry Thomas, Kevin Bennett

Backmatter

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