Wipetheslateclean welcomes Home Office decision to erase minor offences from records
Bob Ashford, the founder of Wipetheslateclean, today welcomed the news that the Home Office are to introduce changes which will mean that old and minor offences will be filtered out of the information revealed in job applications in England and Wales.
Under the proposed legislation, convictions resulting in a non-custodial sentence will be filtered from record checks after 11 years for adults and five and a half years for young offenders. Violent and sexual offences will continue to have to be disclosed.
The news follows a ruling by the Court of Appeal in January that the blanket disclosure of all offences was disproportionate and infringed on the right to privacy and was therefore contrary to the European Court of Human Rights legislation. Earlier this month the Justice Select Committee, a cross party government body, agreed with the Court of Appeal and called for the erasure of minor offences committed by children at 18.
Bob Ashford the founder of Wipetheslateclean said:
“We need to look at the details, but on the face of it this looks like a good step forward. It really does seem the Home Office and government have listened to the Law Lords, their own MPs and the many campaigning individuals and organisations who have been calling for these changes. Why should a criminal record be a sentence for life? We need to recognise that people can change and have the potential to lead productive lives, unfettered by old criminal records.
At the same time there also needs to be changes to the cautioning system. I have been inundated by emails from people who have accepted cautions from the police without understanding these are criminal convictions. We need to introduce a system so that both the police and people receiving them understand that they are criminal convictions and as such have long term implications.”
Notes to Editors
1. Wipetheslateclean www.wipetheslateclean.org.uk @WipeSlateClean has two aims: Changing the barring legislation relating to Police and Crime Commissioners and secondly to raise the wider debate about how we treat people with criminal convictions. Case studies and more information can be found on the website.
2. Wipetheslateclean main supporters include Unlock; User Voice, The National Association of Youth Justice (NAYJ) as well as many other organisations and individuals
3. Bob, who lives in Frome Somerset has spent a lifetime career working with young people in trouble and in need, working as a social worker before becoming one of the first Youth Offending Team Managers. From here he moved to the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, an organisation he worked for over 10 years, leaving as Director of Strategy in March last year. He has spoken at numerous national and international conferences and advised countries as diverse as Canada and Bulgaria on their justice systems.
4. Bob can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org