DBS Checks & Criminal Record Checks

Care Check is a leading umbrella body for the Disclosure and Barring Service and has been named one of the top 8 providers for criminal record checks in the UK.

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DBS Checks For Recruitment Agencies

What is the difference between ACRO and DBS Check

We process over 250,000 DBS Checks every month here at Care Check, as one of the largest check providers in the UK; so we know a thing or two about what DBS Checks are. Whether you are looking to understand what types of DBS Check there are, and how long they last, we inevitably have the resource for you.  What we haven’t spoken so much about is what an ACRO, Police Clearance Certificate is; so if you are looking to understand more about ACRO, this is the blog for you.

What are Police Clearance Certificates? 

A Police Clearance Certificate, also known as a ‘good conduct’ certificate, is an official document issued by law enforcement confirming your criminal record status within that particular jurisdiction. It essentially tells the requesting entity (like an immigration department or employer) whether you have any criminal convictions or pending charges.

What does a Police Clearance Certificate show?

 A Police Clearance Certificate in the UK comes from an organisation called ACRO and shows an individual’s criminal record information, typically for overseas purposes.

Key information including; name, date of birth, place of birth, and address history is provided in support of All ‘standard’ convictions, certain cautions and reprimands and also pending prosecutions.

Police Clearance Certificates don’t typically show spent or juvenile convictions.

The information on an ACRO Police Clearance Certificate comes from several different sources, depending on the type of information being disclosed.

Standard Convictions:

Standard conviction information is drawn from the PNC (Police National Computer), a centralised database maintained by the UK Police forces across the country. The PNC holds information on individuals convicted of criminal offences within the borders of the United Kingdom.

Cautions & Reprimands:

The ACRO certificate will only show certain types of cautions and reprimands, mainly those issued in connection with a ‘cautioning’ scheme. Additionally, it may include specific types of reprimands too.

Pending Prosecutions:

Information about ongoing legal proceedings, including charges with no final outcome, is obtained from court records and police force systems. 

What does ACRO stand for?

 ACRO, strictly speaking, doesn’t stand for anything in its full format. But the full name for the ACRO office is the ‘ACRO Criminal Record Office’, so the ‘CRO’ element likely refers to the criminal record processing that happens at the office.

The ACRO Criminal Records Office is responsible for issuing police clearance certificates for overseas purposes. They collect and maintain criminal records on individuals and process various types of checks, including police clearance certificates.

DBS Checks & Criminal Record Checks

Why would you need a Police Clearance Certificate? 

There are several reasons why you might need a police clearance certificate with many of the reasons relating to international processes. Some common examples are:

Overseas Job Application

Many countries require foreign applicants to present police clearance certificates as part of their visa process.

Immigration Applications

Some immigration procedures require proof of good conduct through these certificates.

Adoption and Fostering

Ensuring the safety of children often involves either a police clearance check or a DBS check for potential adoptive parents or foster carers.

What is the difference between a Police Clearance Certificate and a DBS Certificate?

 A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate, reveals specific information about your criminal record related to suitability for certain roles, like child care or healthcare. DBS Checks differ from Police Clearance Certificates in the depth and purpose of the information that they disclose.

A police clearance certificate is designed to provide a broader overview of your criminal history, whereas a DBS check is tailored to specific professions. 

How can you get a Police Clearance Certificate?

 The process for acquiring a police clearance certificate can only be completed through the ACRO website or via a paper application form. The process typically involves providing personal details, paying a fee, and undergoing fingerprint checks.

When life takes you abroad, whether for work, study or simply adventure, navigating bureaucratic requirements can feel like navigating a maze. The need for a DBS Check or a Police Clearance Check will never be far away in these processes.

Just remember, processing times can vary when requesting a Police Clearance Certificate, so plan well in advance of your need for the certificate. Double-check the specific requirements for your intended recipient (country or organisation). Ensure you apply through the correct channels to avoid delays or invalid certificates. 

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