Report online or call us on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about policing or the law? You may be able to find the answer here.

Through our frequently asked questions section we aim to help you find the answers you need without having to call us to ask for information. We've provided answers to questions on a range of topics which are regularly asked of police forces up and down the country.

Download the Ask The Police app from the following app stores:

Get it on iTunes Get it on Google Play

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is a Central Body which exists to allow employers (including educational establishments) who are registered with them to obtain checks on employees/students. If the employer is not registered then you can apply to Disclosure Scotland for a Basic Disclosure, see below for more information.

There are three types of checks that the DBS can currently do.

Standard disclosure - mainly available to those working with children and vulnerable adults, it shows current and spent convictions, cautions and youth cautions held on the Police National Computer (PNC). It costs £26 for standard disclosure.

Enhanced disclosure - for posts involving a far greater degree of contact with children or vulnerable adults. It is the highest level of check for those responsible, caring for, training or supervising children or vulnerable adults. It contains the same information as a standard disclosure check but also includes relevant and proportionate information held by local police forces. It costs £44 for enhanced disclosure. See the website in related information for more details.

Enhanced disclosure with list checks - this can only be requested by an employer for specific roles and it is a criminal offence to ask for a check for any other roles. It is like the enhanced check, but includes a check of the DBS barred lists, and takes about 4 weeks. It costs £44.

See Q89 for details of exceptions to some convictions and cautions being disclosed.

The DBS aims to process 90% of Standard checks in 10 days and 90% of Enhanced checks in 4 weeks.

The DBS also offer a service where you can check the progress of the checks online.

If you want the check for pre-employment vetting purposes and you are not required to declare spent convictions then you can apply for basic disclosure through Disclosure Scotland. Although based in Scotland it is the sister organisation to the DBS and does criminal records checks for individuals from England and Wales as well as Scotland. The Basic Disclosure check provides individuals with a list of only unspent convictions that they should declare if the employer has no exemption to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, see website in related information.

If you want a check for emigration or visa purposes then please see Q542.

Current rating

1 2 3 4 5

Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.