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Record breakers

Richard Easton predicts a fundamental overhaul ?of the criminal records system as the Supreme Court prepares to evaluate how records are kept in the face of recent disapproval from Strasbourg

15 March 2013

For as long as there have been police, there have been police records. The Bow Street Runners had a register clerk to catalogue London’s 18th century prigs, pickpockets and panders. From 1749, the runners’ register was used to form the Universal Register Office, the forbear of today’s Disclosure and Barring Service ?(DBS), where the characters of prospective servants could be studied by employers. Policing and labour exchange have, therefore, long been entwined. But will individuals’ misdemeanours now be forgiven by being forgotten?

The Court of Appeal’s decision in T [2013] EWCA Civ 25 might see an end to indiscriminate and lifelong disclosure to employers of spent criminal records. And? the European Court of Human Rights’ decision in MM v United Kingdom (Application No 24029/07), The Times, January 16, 2013, might, ultimately, see records’ selective deletion. But will the Supreme Co...

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