What is a PNC Check? Everything You Need to Know

What is a PNC Check?

A PNC check is a search of the Police National Computer (PNC), which is a database of criminal records held by the police in England and Wales. The PNC contains information on people who have been convicted of crimes, cautioned, or given a warning.

What is The Police National Computer?

The PNC is a computer system that is used by the UK police to store information about crimes, criminals, and other people of interest. The PNC was first established in 1974, and it has been expanded several times since then. The PNC is now a vast database that contains information on millions of people.

How Does The PNC Work?

The PNC is a complex system, but it works in a relatively simple way. When the police arrest someone, they will create a record of the arrest on the PNC. This record will include the person’s name, date of birth, address, and any other relevant information. If the person is convicted of a crime, the police will add a record of the conviction to the PNC. The PNC also contains information on people who have been cautioned or given a warning.

Who Can Access The PNC?

The PNC is a confidential system, and only authorized people can access it. These people include police officers, social workers, and other professionals who need to know about people’s criminal records.

Why Are PNC Checks Important?

PNC checks are important for a number of reasons. First, they are an important aspect of public safeguarding. By checking the PNC, employers and other organizations can make sure that they are not hiring or working with people who have a history of crime. Second, PNC checks can help to prevent crime. By knowing about people’s criminal records, the police can target their resources more effectively.

How Can I Get a PNC Check?

If you need a PNC check, you can apply for one through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The DBS is a government agency that is responsible for checking people’s criminal records. Every level of DBS check performed includes a thorough check of the PNC.

However, Basic and Standard checks definitely won’t show all the information about you on the PNC on the certificate – and even an Enhanced DBS check certificate won’t necessarily contain all your PNC information. For more guidance on what the different types of DBS check show, take a look at our guide, linked here: What Does a DBS Check Show?

So if you want a PNC check performed for legal or safeguarding reasons, you can still get a DBS check – the police will do a thorough search of the PNC, they just won’t reveal everything they have on you. But if you want to see the information yourself, a DBS check isn’t the route to take.

How Can I Get a Basic DBS Check For Myself?

To apply for a DBS check, you will need to fill out an application form and provide the DBS with some basic information about yourself. The DBS will then search the PNC and provide you with a certificate containing some details, if any, on your criminal record. As discussed earlier, this report is a safeguarding measure, not a way for people to check their complete PNC records.

At Aaron’s Department, we facilitate the application process for employers – we’re what’s known as an Umbrella Body. We’ll still accept payment from individuals requesting Basic checks for themselves, but we recommend that they use the government website directly. This is because the services of an Umbrella Body aren’t really necessary for individuals requesting Basic checks.

What if I Want to See All The Information The PNC Has on me?

But if you wish to see your entries on the database yourself, there is still another option. You can issue the DBS a Subject Access Request (SAR), to see what information the PNC holds on you, which the DBS must provide in full. This option is available thanks to UK Freedom of Information and Data Protection laws. We’ve linked the government’s guidance page here.

The information disclosed is not a valid legal document, and cannot be used for any official reason. It will satisfy your PNC curiosity, but we can’t think of any other uses.

PNC Checks – a Summary

PNC checks are an important tool in safeguarding and policing. If you need one doing, you can apply for a DBS check, or request a SAR from the DBS. There are pros and cons to each of these options, though.

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