The entire world has changed in 2020. As we come out of quarantines and lockdowns – but still under threat from potential local lockdowns – one of the newest measures introduced to combat the threat of Covid-19 is face masks.
In the UK, each country has its own government rules and laws on face coverings because of the infection affecting areas differently from others. Wherever you are in the UK, current rules around face masks are enforced by law. This means that people who aren’t medically exempt and refuse to wear a face mask when expected to could face fines.
There is a little confusion about what these rules mean. The big question is: does it mean you’ll get a criminal record? Will it appear on a DBS check in the future?
What is a Face Covering?
The UK government defines a face covering as something that safely covers your nose and mouth. You can choose from single-use face coverings or items such as a scarf, bandana, religious garment or handmade cloth covering, but these must be secured around your face.
Face coverings aren’t classed as PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) which is used to protect wearers from hazards and risks in medical and industrial environments.
Face coverings are intended to protect those around you, not the wearer, against the spread of coronavirus because they cover the nose and mouth – which are the primary sources of transmission of the virus.
You are expected to wear a face covering in the majority of indoor places such as shops, visitor attractions and on public transport.
Face Masks and Fixed Penalty Notices
Right across the UK, the Police are having to deal with various Covid-19 infractions which are punished with fixed penalty notices. You will have seen in the news that these have also been given to those setting up or attending illegal raves, which lead to mass gatherings that are still against the law with social distancing in place.
Police don’t have powers to arrest people for not wearing a mask, unless they are committing other crimes at the same time. If you pay the fine in the fixed period specified, then the matter is considered resolved at that point. This means you won’t have to go to court and you won’t hear from the police again.
Fixed penalty notices aren’t a new thing. The Police usually give out fixed penalty notices for offences such as not wearing a seatbelt while driving, speeding or being drunk and disorderly in public.
Paying a fine isn’t viewed as an admission of guilt, however could a fixed penalty issue recorded by Police be something to worry about in the future?
Enhanced DBS Checks and Fixed Penalty Notices
There are three levels of check that the DBS provides. Standard and Basic DBS checks only show details of any criminal convictions on your record. A fixed penalty notice is not a criminal conviction, so these won’t appear on a Basic or Standard DBS check.
An enhanced DBS check goes into greater detail on a person’s history. With this check, local Police can decide to disclose any information they have on the applicant in question and if it resulted in a conviction or not. This is the level of check where your fixed penalties could be revealed.
However, the Police have a good level of flexibility over what information they decide to disclose on a DBS certificate. When deciding what information they provide, they have to consider what is on file and the role that the person is applying for. It’s highly unlikely that a one-off fixed penalty notice will be considered relevant to your application, whether you broke lockdown or didn’t wear a mask.
This changes if you are a regular rule breaker who has various fixed penalty notices over a short period of time for various things, then the Police may decide to reveal those. If you are someone who is a law-abiding citizen in other areas of life, but are being repeatedly fined for speeding and lockdown related offences, it is unlikely that they still will be disclosed. However, if there are various fixed penalty notices on top of several other types of convictions or cautions, then the Police will disclose everything they have on you.
Now you have everything you need to know about DBS checks and face masks. If you’re still unsure on what is and isn’t disclosed on DBS checks or need general advice on DBS applications, get in touch with the Care Check team who are happy to help.