Criminal Record Retention

The length of time that some criminal offences are kept on record is inappropriate, unjust, and disproportionate to the crimes themselves. Draconian would not be a hyperbole.

For example, I was 'cautioned' at the age of thirteen for possession of a class B substance (a very small amount of Cannabis) and, despite not having been cautioned, warned, charged, or convicted of a single offence since, the caution is still on my record. It can never be deleted.

It has cost me jobs in the past and I am sure it will lend itself to further prejudice from employers in the future. I recently graduated from one of the top universities in Europe and yet this blemish on my record continues to blight my future job prospects and earning potential. Is that what criminal justice is supposed to be about? Would that be a fair and moral punishment for such a minor offence?

I have held lengthy conversations with the police force about this and they have generally been both helpful and honest. They too seem to share my bemusement and frustration over the present system. 

All I can hope for now is that my caution is 'stepped down', a term that means it can be hidden from employers but not from the police force. The 'step down period' of possession of a class B substance for a young offender is, astonishingly, 10 years. Possession of a class B substance is deemed to be an Offence Group A crime, along with other fairly harmless stuff like 'Genocide', 'Murder', 'Rape', and, my personal favourite, 'Infanticide' (that's the practice of intentionally killing an infant). So, as a young member of society, I have been lumped together with murderers, rapists, and the genocidally insane. Great.

Now, I am well aware that the laws regarding criminal record retention changed in 2006 after the Ian Huntley case. The previous system (the one that existed before 2006) deleted, or was supposed to delete, all warnings, cautions, charges and convictions from a young offender's record once they had turned 18. But guess what? In 2006 I had already turned 18. I was in fact 20 years of age. My caution was supposed to have been deleted 2 years previously. But, alas, it was not and is still sitting pretty on my criminal record. Good old fashioned British police negligence. It really does bring a tear to one's eye.

What I propose is quite simple really. This system needs a complete overhaul. Why equate smoking cannabis to raping and murdering a young child? What sort of message does that give? Individuals like me, who have committed such minor offences, should clearly not be castigated by a punitive and unfair system. This needs changing. Now.

Why is this idea important?

The length of time that some criminal offences are kept on record is inappropriate, unjust, and disproportionate to the crimes themselves. Draconian would not be a hyperbole.

For example, I was 'cautioned' at the age of thirteen for possession of a class B substance (a very small amount of Cannabis) and, despite not having been cautioned, warned, charged, or convicted of a single offence since, the caution is still on my record. It can never be deleted.

It has cost me jobs in the past and I am sure it will lend itself to further prejudice from employers in the future. I recently graduated from one of the top universities in Europe and yet this blemish on my record continues to blight my future job prospects and earning potential. Is that what criminal justice is supposed to be about? Would that be a fair and moral punishment for such a minor offence?

I have held lengthy conversations with the police force about this and they have generally been both helpful and honest. They too seem to share my bemusement and frustration over the present system. 

All I can hope for now is that my caution is 'stepped down', a term that means it can be hidden from employers but not from the police force. The 'step down period' of possession of a class B substance for a young offender is, astonishingly, 10 years. Possession of a class B substance is deemed to be an Offence Group A crime, along with other fairly harmless stuff like 'Genocide', 'Murder', 'Rape', and, my personal favourite, 'Infanticide' (that's the practice of intentionally killing an infant). So, as a young member of society, I have been lumped together with murderers, rapists, and the genocidally insane. Great.

Now, I am well aware that the laws regarding criminal record retention changed in 2006 after the Ian Huntley case. The previous system (the one that existed before 2006) deleted, or was supposed to delete, all warnings, cautions, charges and convictions from a young offender's record once they had turned 18. But guess what? In 2006 I had already turned 18. I was in fact 20 years of age. My caution was supposed to have been deleted 2 years previously. But, alas, it was not and is still sitting pretty on my criminal record. Good old fashioned British police negligence. It really does bring a tear to one's eye.

What I propose is quite simple really. This system needs a complete overhaul. Why equate smoking cannabis to raping and murdering a young child? What sort of message does that give? Individuals like me, who have committed such minor offences, should clearly not be castigated by a punitive and unfair system. This needs changing. Now.

CRB’s

Review the laws, I'm happy you are.  If someone has been found not guilty it doesn't mean he is not and the contrary is true.  The majority of people for survival they do illegal things so then if we look at our heart of hearts no one would be employed,  There are those who don't but they could be awful and still abide by the law so which one is better.  If someone lies on oath and has an incredible lawyer they get acquitted so they can work with children?  What about those from abroad with softer laws?  Or those where police are too scared to do anything or where the crime is not reported?  There are alot now sitting in front of the telly with their feet up because they took something which was a rip off from stores where everyone seemed to be taking at least if you ask all of them I'm sure they bought their toilet seat with their own money.  How dare the ministers allowed these stifling laws on us when they were taking us for mugs.  What is insulting is that only a whistleblower who was desperately forced to stay quiet provided us with the information.   There are people so angry because of this that they want to punch someone I thought the Government wanted to reduce crime.   So if Einstein stole a pen once he would have had to declare it and get himself written off because of that.  Act 53 of the 1974 Employment act is wrong and it had been stated why are you screwing people over for something they did in the past and for a century  even if it is the wrong verdict because notes get thrown out after three years if it is a small crime but the record stays till it's suffocating.  If I see someone ripping me off, like a decorator charging me thousands for a bog standard job because what he does is not legally a crime he gets a clear CRB.   Steve Lawrence murders probably have a glowing one, a taxi driver who nearly attacked someone sexually in Spain would have a glowing one and the list goes on.  I know the Government tries to cover everything but they should know that laws need a proper look at.  Thank God for this refreshing idea from Mr.Clegg, I know some people are making a joke of it but us who are serious at telling the Government what is wrong should not suffer as a result.  Also what about those MEP who say they made a day's work when they hadn't they just punched in and out ?  They are lesser criminals? 

Why is this idea important?

Review the laws, I'm happy you are.  If someone has been found not guilty it doesn't mean he is not and the contrary is true.  The majority of people for survival they do illegal things so then if we look at our heart of hearts no one would be employed,  There are those who don't but they could be awful and still abide by the law so which one is better.  If someone lies on oath and has an incredible lawyer they get acquitted so they can work with children?  What about those from abroad with softer laws?  Or those where police are too scared to do anything or where the crime is not reported?  There are alot now sitting in front of the telly with their feet up because they took something which was a rip off from stores where everyone seemed to be taking at least if you ask all of them I'm sure they bought their toilet seat with their own money.  How dare the ministers allowed these stifling laws on us when they were taking us for mugs.  What is insulting is that only a whistleblower who was desperately forced to stay quiet provided us with the information.   There are people so angry because of this that they want to punch someone I thought the Government wanted to reduce crime.   So if Einstein stole a pen once he would have had to declare it and get himself written off because of that.  Act 53 of the 1974 Employment act is wrong and it had been stated why are you screwing people over for something they did in the past and for a century  even if it is the wrong verdict because notes get thrown out after three years if it is a small crime but the record stays till it's suffocating.  If I see someone ripping me off, like a decorator charging me thousands for a bog standard job because what he does is not legally a crime he gets a clear CRB.   Steve Lawrence murders probably have a glowing one, a taxi driver who nearly attacked someone sexually in Spain would have a glowing one and the list goes on.  I know the Government tries to cover everything but they should know that laws need a proper look at.  Thank God for this refreshing idea from Mr.Clegg, I know some people are making a joke of it but us who are serious at telling the Government what is wrong should not suffer as a result.  Also what about those MEP who say they made a day's work when they hadn't they just punched in and out ?  They are lesser criminals? 

Force the Police to set down offences when required

Force the Police to follow the guidelines and set down minor offences that werwe committed decades previously instead of acting like spoilt children and refusing to.

Why is this idea important?

Force the Police to follow the guidelines and set down minor offences that werwe committed decades previously instead of acting like spoilt children and refusing to.

Remove old and trivial convictions

Please remove old and trivial convictions from the CRB.  I mean things like convictions for credit violations, juvenile theft, using bad cheques or minor deception.  Why not give these people another chance in later life if their records have remained unchanged for, say, 10 years. 

Why is this idea important?

Please remove old and trivial convictions from the CRB.  I mean things like convictions for credit violations, juvenile theft, using bad cheques or minor deception.  Why not give these people another chance in later life if their records have remained unchanged for, say, 10 years. 

Prosecution of Minor Offe ces

I would like to suggest a review of the process thatenables  prosecutors to provide the opportunity for defendants o plead guilty in their absence.   I belive the current system is wasteful of public onies for the prosecutors, the CPS and the courts.

I think the review should cover the following areas:-

  1. Fixed Penalties have removed large numbers of cases from the prosecution provcess.   Is there scope of extending this process further, partuclarly in the following areas:-
  • cases prosecuted by the police
  • cases prosecuted by the TV Licensing Authority
  • cases prosecuted  for fare evasion by transport undertaking such as trains, buses and trams

       2. The DVLA use their electonicrecords to issue fines automatically to those who fail to     pay  road fund licences.   Could this system be extended to other offences such as using a         vehicle without a current test certificate

       3.The police can use automatic number plate recognition software to determine whether a vehicle is insured.   Could this technology be used in conjunction with DVLA records to identify all uninsured vehicles.   Could that information then be used, perhaps by a contractor, to locate and clamp those vehicles until valid insurance (or proof of scarpping) is produced rather than pursuing the prosecution route

         4.In those cases where none of these is appropriate should the procedure for prosecution laid down in the Magistrates Courts Act be reviewed.   I would suggest the following as an alternative:-

  • write to the offender poitning out that have been reported for the offence
  • tell them what the maximum penalty is
  • tell them that that penalty will be imposed after 28 days unless the defendant chooses one of the following options:-
  • request a personal appearance before a court

(to save on travelling it should be possible to arrange any such hearing at a court local to the defendant rarher than to the offence and within 28 days)

  • make a submission is writing providing mitigationrelating to the offence and details of means

(those submission could be to a single national centre or a number of regional centres)

  •            provide an option for the proscutor to ask for a personal appearance of the defeant inappropritate cases such as, say, those where the defendant is liable to disqualification from driving

Why is this idea important?

I would like to suggest a review of the process thatenables  prosecutors to provide the opportunity for defendants o plead guilty in their absence.   I belive the current system is wasteful of public onies for the prosecutors, the CPS and the courts.

I think the review should cover the following areas:-

  1. Fixed Penalties have removed large numbers of cases from the prosecution provcess.   Is there scope of extending this process further, partuclarly in the following areas:-
  • cases prosecuted by the police
  • cases prosecuted by the TV Licensing Authority
  • cases prosecuted  for fare evasion by transport undertaking such as trains, buses and trams

       2. The DVLA use their electonicrecords to issue fines automatically to those who fail to     pay  road fund licences.   Could this system be extended to other offences such as using a         vehicle without a current test certificate

       3.The police can use automatic number plate recognition software to determine whether a vehicle is insured.   Could this technology be used in conjunction with DVLA records to identify all uninsured vehicles.   Could that information then be used, perhaps by a contractor, to locate and clamp those vehicles until valid insurance (or proof of scarpping) is produced rather than pursuing the prosecution route

         4.In those cases where none of these is appropriate should the procedure for prosecution laid down in the Magistrates Courts Act be reviewed.   I would suggest the following as an alternative:-

  • write to the offender poitning out that have been reported for the offence
  • tell them what the maximum penalty is
  • tell them that that penalty will be imposed after 28 days unless the defendant chooses one of the following options:-
  • request a personal appearance before a court

(to save on travelling it should be possible to arrange any such hearing at a court local to the defendant rarher than to the offence and within 28 days)

  • make a submission is writing providing mitigationrelating to the offence and details of means

(those submission could be to a single national centre or a number of regional centres)

  •            provide an option for the proscutor to ask for a personal appearance of the defeant inappropritate cases such as, say, those where the defendant is liable to disqualification from driving