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Fears DBS Supreme Court ruling may compromise safety

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Fears DBS Supreme Court ruling may compromise safety 1st February 2019

Fears have been raised that this week’s ruling in the Supreme Court will put public safety at risk.

In the case, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of three people who claimed their lives were blighted by past minor criminal convictions. The Court said the way the criminal records are disclosed to employers infringed human rights.

Whist the case related to the employer/employee relationship, the implications of the ruling may be further reaching.

Supreme Court justices found that the criminal records disclosure scheme was "disproportionate" in two respects.

These were that all previous convictions should be disclosed, however minor, where the person has more than one conviction, and also in the case of warnings and reprimands issued to young offenders.

As a result of the ruling, the Government will have to consider reform of the system.

Licensing authorities have for some time been concerned that local police forces are already too liberal with their filtering of relevant criminal history of taxi and private hire licence holders or applicants. Fear have been raised that, as a result of this lost appeal, filtering of relevant criminal history information will more stringent that may put public safety at risk.

James Button, IoL President said: “It remains to be seen how the government will respond to this very important judgment, but any restrictions on disclosure that could affect the safety of the public when they are using taxis would be very worrying.

There may be a need for a difference to be drawn between disclosing matters to prospective employers, and to regulatory bodies. If a regulatory body, in full knowledge of a person’s criminal history, determines that they are suitable to be admitted to that particular profession, trade or occupation, then an employer should be able to take that membership as satisfactory evidence of their suitability. That would remove the need for disclosure to employers.

However, that is speculation at this point, and I hope that the Government will address the issue as a matter of urgency.”

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