The DBS is a government agency that works closely with the police, but is not actually a branch of the police force.
The DBS initiates criminal background checks (known as DBS checks, formerly known as CRB checks), and conducts some of the check themselves, but the majority of the information disclosed is processed by the police.
Who Does The DBS Work With?
The main organisations the DBS works with are:
- Local police forces within the UK, including Scotland and Northern Ireland, despite the fact that those regions have their own independent variations of DBS checks.
- The Home Office maintains the Police National Computer, which the DBS has access to. The PNC is the UK’s criminal record database.
The DBS can conduct a portion of the DBS check themselves without the assistance of the police by accessing the PNC.
- ARCO is a criminal records office that works in a similar way to the DBS, but facilitates checks primarily for use overseas rather than internally. According to the DBS’s website, the DBS and ACRO collaborate where necessary on the exchange of criminal records and biometric data.
- Registered Bodies and Responsible Organisations process DBS applications, and are party to applicants’ personal data – however, they have no way of viewing the results of the check or any criminal record data.
Registered Bodies are sometimes known as Umbrella Bodies – Aaron’s Department is one such organisation.
Summary: Is The DBS Part Of The Police?
To summarise, the DBS works with the UK’s many police forces and agencies, and has access to the Police National Computer. The DBS also works with the 3rd party facilitating the DBS application, but the 3rd party organisation has no access to criminal record data.
If you found this FAQ article helpful, you might also be interested in:
- What are Barred List DBS checks?
- Is an ARCO check the same as a DBS check?
- Can my DBS check get me fired?
About The Author
John has processed more applications than days he has been alive, and has become the DBS expert. Got a question? He knows the answer!