Police chief asks firms to look past convictions.
Byline: OWEN HUGHES Business Correspondent firstname.lastname@example.org
A POLICE chief is urging company bosses in North Wales to give offenders a second chance.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones said recruiting people with convictions can have a positive impact on their businesses by giving them access to a new talent pool.
Mr Jones's comments came during an address to the North Wales Business Club at the Quay Hotel and Spa in Deganwy.
The commissioner pointed to the success of companies like Timpsons who employ ex-offenders and he urged bosses not to adopt a blanket exclusion for people with convictions.
Instead Mr Jones called on them to support the Ban the Box campaign to remove the criminal tick box from application forms and to ask about candidates' criminal convictions later in the process.
Campaigners have been given renewed hope after a landmark judgement in the Supreme Court which could lead to a review by the Home Office.
The court ruled that the current requirement for all previous convictions to be disclosed, however minor, where the person has more than one conviction, and in the case of any warnings or reprimands issued to young offenders was disproportionate.
Mr Jones said: "Employers who focus on criminal conviction on their application forms may well be excluding people from jobs that they may be very well qualified and capable of doing, in fact they may be missing out on a talent pool of over 10.5 million people with criminal convictions.
"What I, David Cameron and the charity Unlock are working on for you as potential employers to Ban the Box - remove the criminal record tick box from your application forms and ask about your candidate's criminal convictions later and avoid the interviewers 'unconscious bias.'.
"Ex-offenders are often rejected for jobs out right because of their past.
"Of course, I want businesses to know who they are interviewing.
"But here's my question, should offenders have to declare it up-front, or might this be done a bit later or before an actual offer of work is made? So that is what the Ban the Box is all about - giving your job candidates the opportunity to state their case without the unconscious bias of ticking a previous conviction box influencing your decision."