CRB – Criminal Records Bureau UK and Transgender People

Transgender UK Law and Legal – CRB – Criminal Records Bureau UK and Transgender People


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Criminal Records Bureau United Kingdom


  • Q. “I am a transsexual person and am concerned that revealing details of my previous gender to the person countersigning my Disclosure application may infringe my privacy. What should I do?”
  • A. The CRB has a special application procedure for such cases. For further information please contact Clare Blackburn, CRB Investigation Manager, who will discuss this matter in confidence with you on 0151 676 1523.

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) has now changed its procedures and introduced a special mechanism so that applications for Criminal Records Disclosures by transgender people working with vulnerable groups need no longer lead to exposure of the applicant’s transgender history. Just as importantly, the new procedure does not weaken the fundamental purpose of the checking process, which is to protect vulnerable people.

Sensitive information (ie former gendered names) that would make a trans person’s previous history apparent to an employer can now be left off the official application form so long as the missing information is sent under separate cover to a special address provided for this purpose by the CRB.

The Bureau have provided a pro-forma letter to accompany this separate information and the address for handling this information is completely separate to the normal submission processes, so that information can be dealt with sensitively by a specially trained team established for this purpose. The team will then marry-up the sensitive information with your normal application in such a way as to satisfy the CRB that the disclosure process remains as thorough as it is intended to be. If you have no criminal record, or if any recorded offences are in your reassigned role/name then the disclosure sent back to your employers will contain no indication of your past. Only those people who have conviction records in their previous identity and gender will find those details reproduced on disclosures.

It should be possible for trans people in the UK to now apply for and move among jobs in education, nursing and other caring roles involving vulnerable people without the fear that their personal medical history will need to be revealed in the process of providing a report on their Criminal Record to employers.

[It is advised that where the letter reads ‘post-operative’ you read ‘post-transition’, and that you use this system whatever your operative status.]

The CRB’s purpose is to protect children and other vulnerable people. So they have to be confident that their searches of police records identify all convictions and other matters relating to individuals, in whatever name or gender. In order to be able to conduct a proper search, they therefore need to be aware of all previous names used and about any gender reassignment.

To date, this has required applicants for Disclosures to give a variety of personal details to the CRB on an application form which is later countersigned by a registered person, usually the prospective employer. This is where the previous name and gender details have come to light. Secondly, the previous name and gender details have also appeared on Disclosures, copies of which are sent to registered bodies. This has been the case even when, as in the majority of cases, no convictions or other relevant matters have been revealed.

The CRB’s position has been that whilst the requirement to reveal previous identity details may have been in conflict with Article 8 of the ECHR, the right to a private and family life is not absolute. It was necessary to balance the rights of those wishing to conceal details of their previous identities against the rights of those vulnerable members of society who have a right to expect protection by the service offered by the CRB. The judgement was that, in these circumstances, the rights of vulnerable people outweighed those of those seeking to conceal personal details.

They have revisited the issue in the light of the Goodwin and “I” cases.

It remains essential for the CRB to be aware of all details of any previous name and gender of those applying for Disclosures. Nevertheless, they have devised a process which will allow individuals to pass those details on to the CRB, without first revealing the details to the registered body. Furthermore, in the majority of cases, the previous identity will not appear on the Disclosure, nor will it be made available to registered bodies in any other way. Below is a copy of a page from a blank Disclosure application form. You will see that Section C, headed Additional Personal Details, asks applicants to reveal details of previous names. When completed, these are the details that appear at the top of a Disclosure, alongside the other personal details of the applicant. This is irrespective of whether any convictions are revealed. The names in which convictions are recorded are an integral part of the criminal record and repeated elsewhere on the Disclosure, next to the details of the conviction. Where the record shows the subject of the conviction is not the same gender as the applicant for the Disclosure, that fact also appears on the Disclosure.

I am a transsexual person, do I have to reveal details of my previous gender?

The CRB has a Confidential Checking Process for Transgender Applicants who do not wish to reveal details of their previous identity to the person who asked them to complete an application form for a CRB Disclosure.

For further information please contact the CRB Customer Services Team on 0151 676 1452,
or you can email

The revised process will work in the following way:
Post-operative transsexuals are invited to leave those parts of Section C blank where revealing details would indicate that they had previously lived under another identity in another gender. The parts of Section C most likely to be left blank are lines 25 to 27 inclusive. It should still be possible, however, to complete other details in Section C.

The applicant then submits the application form to the registered body in the normal way for countersignature and transmission to the CRB.3. At the same time as stage 2, the applicant writes to a secure mailbox at the CRB (paper or email equivalent) using a pro-forma letter. An example is attached and copies are available from CRB. A special contact address is below. A hand-written alternative is acceptable. The letter gives details of previous name and gender along with certain other details which will help to link the letter with a Disclosure application. The applicant will be asked to send documentary evidence of their previous identity with the letter (which should include Date of Birth).

It will be very important for the applicant to send the letter to the separate CRB address intended for these letters and not to use the normal CRB application address. The applicant should also take care to post the letter at the same time the application form is passed to the counter-signatory. It is recommended that 1st class post is used.

The CRB will link the application to the letter and conduct searches of criminal and other records using all names submitted. A Disclosure will then be printed in the name given on the application form only. Details contained in the letter only will not be reproduced or stored on the CRB computer system for future enquiry. This is expected to apply to well over 90% of customers making use of the new procedure.

Where a conviction is recorded in any name, details of that conviction will be revealed on the Disclosure. The details will be date of conviction (or caution), court (or police station), details of offence, sentence and name in which the conviction record is held. These are integral parts of the criminal record as supplied to the CRB by the Police National Computer. If the conviction record refers to a gender other than that in which the applicant has made the Disclosure application, the previous gender will also be revealed. This is the only circumstance in which previous identity, not included on an application form, will be released. Each CRB applicant has to pass an identity check before their application can proceed. This involves showing certain documents to the registered body, details of which are recorded on the application form. Clearly, transsexual applicants will not wish to show certain documents, for example birth certificates. They may, therefore, find it more difficult to successfully pass the identity checking process. However, a wide variety of documents may be presented and we do not expect there to be difficulties in this area.

All of those with no previous criminal record will benefit from the new process, along with many of those who have convictions in their pasts. Only those who have conviction records in their previous identity and gender will find those details reproduced on Disclosures.

The new process has been effective since the 28th October 2002 in the United Kingdom. Customers contacting CRB who are concerned about issues affecting transsexual people will be referred to the small team handling this type of application and they will pass on details of the new procedure.

This process marks a significant step forward which will protect the previous identities of nearly all post-operative transsexuals using the CRB’s service.