AccessNI issues criminal record checks under Part V of the Police Act 1997. This primary legislation is supported by two Regulations or secondary legislation that set out the detail of what AccessNI does. One Regulation deals with registration of organisations by AccessNI while another Regulation deals with the detail of the disclosure of criminal record information.

Part V of the Police Act 1997

There is no consolidated version of Part V of the Police Act 1997 as it has been amended many times since its introduction.  There are also differences in how the legislation is applied to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  Please note that while the link below will take you to the current format of the Act held on legislation.gov.uk, the narrative in this Act makes it clear there are outstanding changes that have not yet been applied.

Amendments in 2015 to the Police Act 1997 in Northern Ireland

A number of significant amendments were made to Part V of the Police Act 1997 in Northern Ireland through Part 5 of the Justice Act (NI) 2015.  These include, introducing a minimum age for applying for a certificate, updating certificates, issue of a single certificate to applicants only and disputing police information included in certificates.  Please note that not all of these provisions have been commenced.

Regulations under Part V of the Police Act 1997

A large number of Regulations have been issued since AccessNI began work in 2008.  A list is set out below.  These deal with the “rules” around registration with AccessNI and matters in relation to the disclosure of criminal record information – for example the list of employment types for which an application can be made for an enhanced check.  A full list of these in date order is set out below.

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Registration) Regulations (NI) 2007

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Disclosure) Regulations (NI) 2008

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Disclosure) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2009

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Disclosure) (Amendment No2) Regulations (NI) 2009

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Disclosure) (Amendment No3) Regulations (NI) 2009

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Disclosure) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2010

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Amendment No2) Regulations (NI) 2012

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Amendment No3) Regulations (NI) 2012

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2014

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Amendment No2) Regulations (NI) 2014

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Disclosure) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2015

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Amendments No2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019

The AccessNI Filtering scheme

By law, AccessNI must not disclose old and minor information held on an individual’s criminal record.  Rules are set out by legislation to direct AccessNI as to the specific information on a criminal record that cannot be disclosed on a standard or enhanced criminal record certificate, through the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Record Certificates: Relevant Matters) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland ) 2014

In addition Schedule 4 of the Justice Act (NI) 2015 inserts a new schedule 8A into Part V of the Police Act 1997.  This legislative makes provision to enable individuals to seek a review of criminal record information disclosed on disclosure checks even where filtering of some information has already taken place. 

Further information about the filtering scheme can be found at the section entitled

Other legislation relevant to AccessNI

The Rehabilitation of Offenders (Exceptions) Order 1979

This legislation sets out the positions to which the Rehabilitation of Offenders (NI) Order 1978 does not apply.  In other words, those positions where an individual can be required to provide details of convictions that would normally be regarded as spent.  AccessNI standard and enhanced checks provide details of spent convictions and therefore this legislation is central to that work.  This is known in Part V of the Police Act 1997 as “asking the exempted question”.

There is no consolidated version of this legislation and therefore no link is available.

 

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