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Historic convictions

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 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 National Police Chiefs' Council, 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.​​