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The Coalition Government made a commitment in 2010 to “change
the law so that historical convictions for consensual gay sex with
over 16s will be treated as ‘spent’ and will not show up on
criminal records checks”. The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012,
which received Royal Assent on 1st May 2012, establishes powers to
meet that commitment.
Under provisions contained in Chapter 4 of Part 5 of the Protection
of Freedoms Act (s.92-101), the Secretary of State for the Home
Department (“Home Secretary”) has new powers to disregard certain
convictions upon written application by the individual.
In order for an eligible conviction to be disregarded it must
appear to the Home Secretary that (a) all parties involved in the
conduct constituting the offence consented to it and were aged 16
or over at the time the offence was committed, and (b) any such
conduct now would not be an offence under section 71 of the Sexual
Offences Act 2003.
The application handling process has been developed by the Home
Office working in close partnership with data controllers
(Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), HM Courts and
Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and Ministry of Defence (MoD) and The
National Archive (TNA). A dedicated Home Office Casework Team has
been established to handle the application process.
The Home Office has set out basic information on its web site and
more detailed guidance is attached to the application form that
applicants will be required to submit.
View Home Office information
Completed application forms should be submitted to the dedicated
Home Office Casework Team:
Chapter 4 Applications
4th Floor Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
Or by e-mail to:
Note: Application forms submitted to the City
of London Police will be returned and not re-directed.