Case study – Toby – Failure of the system to amend a restraining order has led to the loss of several jobs

Toby contacted our helpline for some advice regarding a restraining order which he’d received in 2010. He explained that he had originally been given an ‘indefinite’ order which his solicitor considered to be excessive.

An application was made to the Court to amend the order whereupon it was changed to 2 years.

Since then Toby has applied for several jobs and has been unsuccessful in all of them.  Initially he’d assumed that this was because of his criminal record but once his conviction was spent he thought it was more likely to be because he didn’t have the necessary skills and experience.

At the end of 2019 Toby was offered a job as a delivery driver for a large retailer. As his conviction was spent he didn’t disclose it to his employers and he wasn’t worried about his basic DBS certificate being sent straight to them. However on receipt of the certificate his employers withdrew the job offer. His conviction had been disclosed and his employers took the view that Toby had been dishonest.

Further investigations revealed that his restraining order was still recorded as ‘indefinite’ meaning that his conviction remained unspent.

He immediately highlighted the error to the police but it took many telephone calls and copies of his court records before the police accepted that a mistake had been made in the recording of the order.

Toby is currently taking legal advice from a solicitor concerning a possible claim for damages against the police.

Toby said:

“I knew that getting a job with an unspent conviction was going to be difficult but I was surprised when I continued to get rejection after rejection even after my conviction became spent. I find it hard to understand why the Police National Computer wasn’t updated and I’ll never know the true extent of the damage this has caused me.”


Notes about this case

  1. This case relates to Unlock’s policy work on improving how the DBS works for people with a criminal record.
  2. We have practical guidance on applying to a court to end a court order.
  3. Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.
  4. Other policy cases are listed here.
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