Criminal record checks can play a key role in your personnel security regime, both at the pre-employment stage and in maintaining security standards.
The National Aviation Security Program (NASP) requires a basic criminal record disclosure for certain roles. This shows unspent convictions only.
Who needs a criminal record check?
Potential employees, including non-British nationals, must have successfully passed a criminal record check (basic disclosure) before they can be employed in a role that requires a background check to be undertaken.
Current employees who hold an airport identification card must successfully pass a criminal record check (basic disclosure) on renewal of their airport identification card.
A criminal record check (basic disclosure) is required for someone to work:
- unescorted in a security restricted area (SRA) at an airport, as they will need to hold an airport identification card issued by the airport manager
- as a certified trainer
- as a certified validator of known consignors
- as the person responsible for security and its implementation at a regulated agents or known consignors site
Applicants will also require an equivalent overseas certificate for all countries in which they have lived continuously for 6 months or in the previous 5 years.
Repeating a criminal record check
As an employer, if your employee holds an airport identification card then you will be required by the airport manager to obtain a new criminal record certificate (basic disclosure) before they will renew an airport identification card.
Applying for multiple airport identification cards
Anyone who wishes to apply to hold a permanent airport identification card at more than one airport will need to produce criminal record certificate documentation for each card application.
This can be the same criminal record certificate provided it is presented within 10 weeks from the date of issue.
Criminal record checks and counter terrorist checks
A criminal record check is also required as part of a Counter Terrorist Check (CTC), or higher level of National Security Vetting (NSV): however please note that this is a separate process.
CRC at basic disclosure level is required to meet the requirements of a background check.
Applications for CRCs, returned in the form of a criminal record certificate, can be made by individual employees or on behalf of a group of employees by an employer or agency (provided applicants have given their permission).
- Applicants working in Scotland should apply online to Disclosure Scotland for a basic disclosure certificate.
- Applicants working in England and Wales should apply online to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for a basic disclosure certificate.
Applicants working in Northern Ireland should apply via Access NI for a basic disclosure certificate.
The current fee for a criminal record certificate at basic disclosure level is £25 per employee.
The requirement to successfully complete a background check applies to all staff, irrespective of whether they are new or existing and regardless of length of service.
The only exception is where a staff member has a valid CRC already in force in respect of the role undertaken with the same employer. In the meantime, CRCs must be renewed on expiry, after 5 years.
Are overseas CRCs required where prospective employees have previously resided, or spent periods abroad?
Yes, for the purposes of a background check, overseas criminal record certificates are required for each country in which an applicant has been continuously resident for 6 months or more, covering the previous 5 year period.
Recruitment records must also include an indication of the process used to cover criminal records in respective states of residence, and copies of all criminal record certificates obtained.
Recruitment records must be kept for all persons recruited for at least the duration of their contract of employment.
What recruitment records must employers retain in order to provide evidence of CRCs having been successfully completed?
NASP provisions require that recruitment records shall be kept for the duration of an individual's contract, and that those recruitment records must include, in the case of a background check, copies of all criminal record certificates.
A copy of the certificate should be kept on the personal file in order for the CAA's Inspectors or independent validators to be able to verify that the relevant checks have been satisfactorily completed.
Criminal record certificates are the property of the individual who applies for them and to whom the information relates. Employers must therefore obtain permission from an individual in order to retain the certificate or keep a copy of it.
Disclosure certificates, including those issued overseas, can be considered valid for up to 10 weeks from the date of issue.
If an overseas criminal record certificate is more than 10 weeks old but the applicant has not returned to a country from which a CRC was obtained since the date of issue (the date of issue can be up to 10 weeks prior to their date of departure), that certificate will be deemed valid.
I am a recruitment agency supplying staff to the aviation security industry. Are CRCs already undertaken transferrable from one role to another?
No, disclosure certificates are only valid for 10 weeks from the date of issue.
In the case of new contracts of employment or work placements of staff on the books of a recruitment agency whose CRCs fall outside the 10 week period, a new disclosure certificate must be obtained. This is on the basis that each new employer is legally responsible and accountable for an employee during the period of the contract of employment.
The NASP requires that a Known Consignor shall designate at least one person at each site responsible for the application and supervision of the implementation of security controls at that site, i.e. a 'Security Manager'.
- Security Managers appointed on or after 29th April 2010 are already required under the NASP to successfully complete a background check
- Background checks are required for all Known Consignor Security Managers, irrespective of the date of appointment.
I work for a Regulated Agent and am located in, or have access to, a warehouse where known screened cargo is stored. Do I need a CRC?
This depends on the role.
Personnel carrying out front-line security controls, such as the screening or guarding of cargo, are designated as SIA-licensable and are therefore subject to a CRC in order for the exemption to apply.
Staff undertaking, for example, administrative, clerical or IT roles, or who may simply have access to secure areas of a warehouse where known screened cargo or other supplies are stored, while conducting other non-front-line roles, are not deemed to be SIA licensable.
The activity of an individual 'handling' air cargo or other supplies who performs no security function (e.g. simply moving cargo or supplies from one area to another) would similarly be deemed not to be SIA licensable. In respect of both these examples of non-SIA licensable activity, a CRC is not required.