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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Past convictions for decriminalised sex offences to be deleted

  • Published: Monday, 1 October 2023

From 1 October anyone with a historic conviction, including a caution, warning or reprimand, for certain decriminalised consensual sex offences can apply to have these records disregarded.

Deleting offences which have long since been decriminalised

The Home Office begins, from 1 October, the process of correcting an anomaly in the criminal records system which has for decades seen some individuals treated unfairly.

Until now, some people wishing to volunteer or work in roles that require criminal records checks have been discouraged from doing so. Some fear having to disclose offences which have long since been decriminalised.

Under new legislation, anyone meeting the conditions set out in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 will be encouraged to come forward and apply to have historic convictions, including cautions, warnings or reprimands, disregarded. These include historic convictions for certain decriminalised consensual sexual offences which were criminalised by legislation going back to 1861.

These changes mean that, after a successful application, this information no longer needs to be disclosed on a criminal records certificate or in future court proceedings. Those individuals who may have been inhibited from volunteering or seeking new work will now find that inhibition removed.

Application process

The Home Office application process goes live today (1 October 2023).

Further details, along with an application form and guidance is available at the Home Office website or by e-mailing the address below:

The Home Office will run the application process with Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Ministry of Defence. A dedicated team of caseworkers will consider each case and make recommendations to the Home Secretary who will have the final decision.

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