DBS Update Service and Common Law Disclosures

Policy Scope:

This policy affects Police Officers, PCSO’s and Custody Staff who in the course of their duty come across information regarding a person, that they deem necessary to be disclosed to a third party or regulator.

Policy Aims and Objectives:

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Update Service

Under the authority of the Police Act 1997 and the safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, the work of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is central to supporting a robust safeguarding environment in relation to sensitive employment and voluntary positions. Upon request, SYP will provide a criminal record certificate allows an employer to make a risk based recruitment decision, taking into account the sector (primarily child and/or adult) in which the post operates. 

Common Law Police Disclosures

Common Law Disclosures act in conjunction with the above DBS service and outlines the scope for the Police to use their professional judgment to make common law based disclosures in circumstances where they consider this to be necessary to support public protection. This complements but remains separate from the statutory DBS arrangements.

This policy and its related procedure (D51551) is intended to identify an efficient and justified route to share conviction or other relevant information about individuals with third parties primarily under Common Law powers for the purpose of the prevention and detection of crime. In respect of Common Law Police Disclosures, this means making urgent pressing ‘social need’ disclosures of police information to employers and/or regulators using Common Law powers. A ’pressing social need’ might be the safeguarding or protection from harm of an individual, a group or individuals, or society at large. This must be proportionate with balancing the needs, rights and interests of the person in question. It will involve considering the impact of disclosure on the private life of the individual concerned. Decisions should also take into account any adverse impact disclosure might have on the prevention or detection of crime.

Constraints to these powers are that each case is considered in its own individual circumstances.
Additionally, any decision to disclose information will be in line with the Data and Protection Act 1998, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Associated Procedural Instructions:

This policy is supported by the following procedural instructions:

D51551 - Commin Law Police Disclosures
The Authorised Professional Practice (APP) section entitled Information Management, and other relevant SYP policy documents such as D51512 Information Management and Compliance.

Equality Act 2010

The Act creates a statutory requirement for all Functions and Policies (Including Procedural Instructions) to be analysed for their effect on equality, diversity and human rights, with due regard to the General Equality Duty.

In principle, this document has been assessed for discrimination, which cannot be justified, among other diverse groups.

Human Rights/Discretion:

The purpose of providing policy is to give an indication to staff of the expected course of action. However it is not possible to cater for every possible combination of factors that would justify a departure from stated policy. The Human Rights Act 1998 requires the proper use of discretion at all times and nothing within this policy and associated procedural instructions prohibits the proper use of discretion in appropriate circumstances.

Where action is taken that has the potential to interfere with an individual's Human Rights, the reasons behind the making of the decision to act in that way should be recorded on the appropriate forms, or where this is not practicable, in pocket books or policy logs.

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Exemptions do not apply to this statement of agreed policy under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Review Arrangements:

Enforcement and Reporting 

  • Enforcement

It will be the responsibility of all police officers, police staff, including supervisors and managers to ensure strict compliance with this policy and the guidance documents referred to therein. 

  • Recording

All recording and administrative requirements relating to this policy and / or guidance will be subject to examination and evaluation by South Yorkshire Police Senior Command Team, the Professional Standards Department and / or relevant others.

This policy together with its Equality Analysis will be reviewed every year 2 years

Rights of redress for members of the public:

Anyone who feels that a member of staff has behaved incorrectly or unfairly, or who is dissatisfied with organisational matters, service delivery or other operational policing issues, has the right to make a complaint.

Initial action should be taken in one of the following ways:

  • Complain in writing or in person to the Senior Officer at the appropriate police station or to the Chief Constable of the force concerned.
  • Visit a local Citizens' Advice Bureau
  • Contact a Solicitor

Rights of redress for South Yorkshire Police personnel:

South Yorkshire Police personnel who feel they have grounds for concern in relation to the implementation of policies may, as appropriate:

  • Pursue concerns through their line manager.
  • Contact a First Contact Advisor.
  • Pursue a grievance formally through the South Yorkshire Police Fairness at Work Procedure.
  • Seek advice from their staff association or trades union.
  • Use procedural instruction D50241 Management of Complaints, in the section entitled Handling Complaints relating to Direction and Control.

Start Date:
27 August 2007


Wednesday, 11 May, 2016 - 00:00