Disclosure of Convictions and Declaration
How do I qualify for a personal licence?
To qualify for a personal licence the applicant must fulfil certain criteria. These are set out in the Act. The licensing authority must grant the licence if it appears that:
the applicant is aged 18 or over
no personal licence held by him has been forfeited within the period of five years before making the application
he possesses an accredited licensing qualification, or is a person of prescribed description
he has not been convicted of any relevant or foreign offence
If the applicant fulfils all these criteria, the licence will be granted. If any of the first three criteria are not met, the licensing authority must reject the application. The licensing authority must notify the chief officer of police for its area if it appears that an applicant has been convicted of any relevant or foreign offence, as set out above.
The Secretary of State will accredit licensing qualifications and the bodies who will be able to award these. Details of the qualifications and accredited bodies may be viewed on the DCMS website in due course.
What is the meaning of the term 'relevant offence'?
'Relevant offence' refers to the offences listed in the Act that could, on conviction, rule out the grant or renewal of a personal licence to the applicant concerned.
The offences include:
those involving serious crime
those involving serious dishonesty
those involving controlled drugs
certain sexual offences
offences created by the Act
Since the Licensing Act 2003 received Royal Assent, there have been some minor changes to the list of relevant offences. Applicants should therefore refer to Schedule 4 of the Licensing Act 2003 and The Licensing Act 2003 (Personal licence: relevant offences) (Amendment) Order 2005
When applying for the grant of a personal licence or for the renewal of a personal licence, the applicant must include details of any relevant or foreign offences for which they have been convicted or, in the case of applications for the renewal of the licence, have been convicted since the grant or last renewal of the licence.
What if I am convicted of an offence while holding a personal licence?
The Act makes provision for the holder of a personal licence charged with a relevant offence to produce his licence to the court or, if that is not practical, notify the court of the existence of the personal licence.
If a licence holder is convicted of a relevant or foreign offence while holding a personal licence, they must as soon as reasonably practicable inform the licensing authority which granted the licence of the conviction. The licensing authority must then notify the chief officer of police for its area who may, within 14 days, notify the authority that he considers that the continuation of the licence would undermine the crime prevention objective. If so, the authority must hold a hearing to consider the objection notice unless it is agreed that a hearing is unnecessary and this could lead to the revocation of the personal licence.
If an applicant for the grant or renewal of a personal licence is convicted of a relevant or foreign offence during the application process, they must also notify the licensing authority applied to of the conviction. Failure to do so is an offence.
How do 'foreign offences' differ from relevant offences?
Relevant offences mean those offences listed in Schedule 4 to the Act. Convictions for offences (other than relevant offences) under the law of any place outside England and Wales, including other parts of the United Kingdom such as Scotland and Northern Ireland, are counted as foreign offences. Details of these will also need to be given. The reason for the separate terms is that offences under the law of places outside England and Wales, which are equivalent to relevant offences, will not necessarily exist in exactly the same form as relevant offences.
How will licensing authorities check relevant and foreign offence records?
Each personal licence application will have to include details of records of any relevant or foreign offence for which the applicant has been convicted. The licensing authority must give notice, where an applicant has been convicted of a relevant or foreign offence, to the chief officer of police for that area. The police will then consider the conviction.
For relevant offences the police will consult either their own records or those of the relevant police force if the offence was committed in a different area. The chief officer of police will then notify the licensing authority if he is satisfied that granting or renewing the personal licence would undermine the licensing objective of preventing crime and disorder.
For foreign offences the police will take steps to contact their counterparts in the region or country where the conviction occurred.