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A Cautionary Tale

We all have incidents in our lives that we would rather forget and put behind us. Mine certainly includes some rather dubious fashion choices. But what if your youthful indiscretions follow you around and only make themselves clear when you are going for your dream job?


Photo by retro-philj

Students who have been involved in the protests against tuition fees and found themselves in trouble with the police may find this when accepting a police caution. A caution is a conviction and, although it’s immediately spent in the eyes of the law, it can still show up on a criminal records (commonly known as a CRB) check. As it’s immediately spent it doesn’t have to be declared when you are applying for a job but imagine the employer’s views on seeing this listed on your CRB.

A caution is a way of the police dealing with offences without the need to involve the courts and accepting one can be seen as the best option when it’s put to you. It can be seen as the easiest way to get out of a police cell and back onto the streets. However this is no slap on the wrist, it is admitting guilt to the offence and as such a record exists for a long time. Don’t jump to accept a caution but also be aware that if you refuse this option you may be taken to court and found guilty which will mean a conviction appears on your record instead.

If you have to apply for a position whereby you will be required to submit to a CRB check (sometimes explained as ‘submitting to enhanced disclosure’) consider bringing the caution up with the employer first. Have an explanation ready to reassure the employer of the reasons behind it and how it has helped you change or reassess your goals. In other words turn a negative into a positive.

If you’re unsure of how to do this then contact your Careers Service for advice (University of Herts students can use the contact details to the right) or find more information from Nacro, the crime reduction charity.

Jerome Price Photograph

Jerome Price is an Employment and Placements Adviser in the Careers and Placements Service at the University of Hertfordshire


A little note from the University of Hertfordshire advice to applicants on the PGCE course:

There are some offences that will automatically exclude you from teacher training but other offences will not. Please note that teacher training is exempt from the regulations surrounding the rehabilitation of offenders act and that therefore no convictions will be regarded as spent. All applicants will be required to undertake an enhanced disclosure check with the Criminal Records Bureau and be screened by the Independent Safeguarding Authority. The most important thing is to disclose all convictions, cautions or reprimands when you are asked to do so. If you do not do so and it later comes to light from the CRB check that you do have a conviction, caution or reprimand then this will be treated very seriously.

  1. 23/03/2012 at 10:57

    I really like your writing style, wonderful info , regards for posting : D.

    • Careers & Placements Service
      28/03/2012 at 15:08

      No problem, glad you enjoyed it!

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