Do Cautions Show on a DBS Check?

If you need a criminal record check for a job, you might be wondering if cautions show on a DBS check. Some cautions will show up on DBS checks. However, under a recent ruling, some of these are now subject to filtering.

The Disclosure and Barring Service is there to support and assist in safe recruitment. Some job roles involve working alongside sensitive data or vulnerable children and adults and so it is imperative employers check each candidate’s background.

About DBS Checks

DBS checks replaced the Criminal Record Bureau in 2012 but in many workplaces, a CRB is still a valid document if you had one of these done before the changes.

Since 2020, some cautions can now be protected after a set period, meaning they will not necessarily show on the checks.

Our comprehensive guide on protected cautions and convictions explains in detail what types of offence might not be disclosed.

Cautions & DBS Checks

The 4 types of DBS Checks are; Basic, Standard, Enhanced, and Enhanced with Barred List(s).

All of these will show the relevant cautions but some can be filtered out after a set period has elapsed. Some types of offence, however, cannot be filtered out and will remain on the DBS Check indefinitely.

  • Basic checks will disclose any unspent convictions or conditional cautions.
  • Standard DBS checks will show details of convictions and cautions that are not protected and therefore cannot go through the filtering process.
  • Enhanced DBS checks will display pretty much the same information as the Standard but is subject to any extra information held on file by the police, particularly if it is relevant to the job role in question.
  • The Enhanced check with the Barred List(s) will tell an employer if an individual is included on either/both lists that will exclude them from the option of working with vulnerable people such as children and adults.

How Long do Cautions Stay on Your DBS Check?

The length of time a caution will remain on your DBS check depends entirely on the nature of the caution.

Informal Warnings

If an offence is committed, you may receive an informal warning which avoids the court process. This type of caution will remain on your check for 12 months, for both adults and young people.


A caution has more implications for your record than a warning and will remain on your check for 6 years as an adult, 2 years for young people (under 18).

Any custodial sentences which result in a sentence of 2.5 years and above will result in that record remaining unspent and cannot be filtered.

Cautions Which Will Always Show on a DBS Check

Cautions considered more serious are not protected and therefore will never be considered for filtering. Such cautions included in this situation are listed below:

  • Cautions for specified offences – See full list on UK GOV site.
  • Custodial sentences (this includes suspended sentences)
  • Murder and manslaughter charges
  • Kidnapping and hijacking
  • Money laundering
  • Violent crimes
  • Safeguarding crimes
  • Child protection crimes such as abuse and neglect
  • Crimes of a sexual nature
  • Aggravated burglary
  • Robbery

Examples of Cautions Which Will Not Show After Qualifying Period.

Certain cautions can now be filtered after the qualifying period of time as they are considered less serious. Such offences include:-

  • Minor driving offences
  • Common assault
  • Drunk and disorderly
  • Soliciting
  • Drug possession
  • Theft

Minor Driving Offences

Minor driving offences such as speeding or driving without a MOT will not show up on a DBS of any level. Of course, more serious driving offences such as drunk driving, reckless driving or driving while disqualified may well show up on a DBS depending on the charges and end result of such crimes.

Minor driving offences include:

  • Driving in a bus lane
  • Driving without wearing a seatbelt
  • Failing to stop for a red light
  • Driving without an MOT
  • Parking fines
  • fixed penalty charge

Disclosing Cautions to Your Employer

When it comes to the interview process at a prospective workplace, honesty is always the best policy. Disclosing previous cautions won’t necessarily exempt you from the job you have applied for as it may be completely irrelevant.

All employers have the responsibility of treating every candidate fairly and with no element of discrimination. By being upfront and honest from the go, you are putting yourself in the best light possible.  After all, everyone has a past and have done things they aren’t proud of.

Further Reading


Will a caution for shoplifting show on DBS?

When a caution is issued for shoplifting, this will show on a DBS for 6 years for adults and 2 years for young people under the age of 18. After this point, this caution can be filtered and effectively removed from your check.

How to remove cautions from DBS?

You can call Gov.UK to ask their advice about removing cautions from a DBS check after the appropriate period of time has passed. Should you wish to get the caution completely wiped from police records then you may need the services of a lawyer.

Do youth cautions show on a DBS

In 2020, new rules were introduced which means youth cautions are not automatically disclosed on a DBS.

Are conditional cautions shown on a DBS?

Conditional cautions will show up on a Standard and Enhanced DBS check but not on a Basic one. Some will be eligible for filtering after the required length of time has elapsed.

Further Reading

  • For a broader look at our guide on what does a DBS check show, our guide on the criminal record check process and filtering of offences.

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