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So, should we simply forget minor crimes..? MPS ARGUE MINOR OFFENCES IMPACT LIFE CHANCES.

Byline: SOPHIE DOUGHTY Crime Reporter @Sophie_Doughty

MINOR crimes committed as youths should not be disclosed in the future, MPs have argued.

Members of the Commons Justice Committee have called for changes to the current system for disclosure of youth criminal records, which they say undermines the principles of the youth justice system.

In a report published yesterday, the committee also argues that the system could also be falling short of the UK's obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Witnesses have highlighted how childhood criminal records can effect their access to employment, education, housing, insurance, visas for travel later in life.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including: | enacting Lord Ramsbotham's Criminal Records Bill to reduce rehabilitation periods under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 | an urgent review of the filtering regime, to consider removing the rule preventing the filtering of multiple convictions; introducing lists of nonfilterable offences customised for particular areas of employment, together with a threshold test for disclosure based on disposal/sentence, and reducing qualifying periods for the filtering of childhood convictions and cautions.

| considering the feasibility of extending this new approach, possibly with modifications, to the disclosure of offences committed by young adults up to the age of 25 | allowing chief police officers additional discretion to withhold disclosure, taking into account age and the circumstances of the offences, with a rebuttable presumption against disclosure of offences committed during childhood, and | giving individuals the right to apply for a review by the Independent Monitor of police decisions to disclose convictions of cautions.

The report has been welcomed by Northumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, who is calling for a more common sense approach to the disclosure of people's criminal pasts.

Dame Vera said: "I often hear of people who have applied for jobs as adults, being denied opportunities because their DBS check has revealed something minor they did when they were a child. Many of these crimes are petty and should never hinder a person's life chances, I fully support introducing lists of non-filterable offences customised for particular areas of employment, along with a threshold test for disclosure based on disposal/sentence, and reducing qualifying periods for the filtering of childhood convictions and cautions.

"Of course, I don't want the above to apply to serious crimes that a person may have done as a child, but if they were cautioned for stealing sweets- should it really affect their life chances twenty years later, I think not".

Many of crimes and should hinder person's chances Dame Vera "There are a number of recommendations contained within the report that are worthy of serious consideration and should be reviewed by government. It's important to remember that childhood convictions and cautions don't just affect employment, it can have an adverse effect on housing, insurance and visas for travel - we need to get this right".

Justice Committee chairman, Bob Neill, said: "The government confirmed to us that its primary objective in youth justice is to stop people being drawn into crime, with consequent blighting of their life chances, as well as harm being caused to victims and communities. But these laudable aims are systematically undermined by the current disclosure regime; mistakes made as a teenager can follow someone around for decades and create a barrier to rehabilitation, as well as profound problems with access to employment and education."

In 2014-15, 26% of standard DBS checks and 23% of enhanced checks related to subjects who were under 18 at the time of a conviction.

these petty never a life Overall the evidence strongly supported the case for changing the criminal records disclosure system. For young adults the majority of those who expressed a view thought that reform was also needed.


childhood convictions want to a number of In 2014-DBS checks checks who thought also Many of these crimes are petty and should never hinder a person's life chances Dame Vera Baird


MPs have argued minor crimes commited as youths should not be disclosed

Dame Vera Baird
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 28, 2017
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