What is a Criminal Background Check?

criminal background check

The background check consists of a search of public records for any criminal offences that a person has committed. They are mostly carried out by employers seeking to recruit a candidate. The checks may include arrest records, convictions and the sex registry. Some checks may also include lawsuits and driving offences. The check will generally show the arrest records for the past seven years, and in some cases the check may also show any outstanding arrest warrants.
It is not only businesses that may wish to carry out this type of check. If you are considering employing someone to work in your home, such as a cleaner or a babysitter, you will want to try and ensure that they are trustworthy.

There are facilities available online for finding out this information. You can use the search engine to find sites which have this facility. Many sites offer this service for free. Before searching, you should try and find out as much information as possible about the person. You will need the full name of the person and if possible, the date of birth.

If you are hiring a new person, especially for a role that deals with children or is in a healthcare profession, you can request for a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check on your future employee. After contacting the DBS, providing you have valid reason for requesting a DBS, you will receive a form which you will then pass onto the prospective employee. Upon completion, the employee will send the form off to the DBS and will then receive a certificate which they can then present to you.

There are three types of DBS check available. The cheapest is a standard check which costs £26. This check takes about 2 weeks and will investigate the individuals record for cautions, warning and convictions, both spent and unspent. If you would prefer something more thorough, you may want to apply for an enhanced check which investigates the individuals records with local police authorities for any relevant information. These cost £44 and take 4 weeks. You can also apply for an enhanced with list checks, which is similar to the enhanced check but also looks at the DBS barred lists.

If you want to check a potential volunteer, you can get a background check for free.

In summary:
  • You can check for history of criminal activity.
  • There are websites where you can check free of charge.
  • More detailed checks are available for a fee.