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  1. Declaration of a criminal conviction

    If you are made an offer you will be asked to agree to specific Terms of Admission. At the time that you confirm your acceptance of your offer, you agree to inform your College if you have a relevant unspent criminal conviction. Furthermore, if you are subsequently convicted of an offence before you start your studies, or during your time at Cambridge, you agree to inform the University and your College and to permit the University and College to share the information with each other.

    Having a relevant unspent criminal conviction will not necessarily preclude you from studying at Cambridge. However, the University and Colleges require this information (post-offer) to enable us to discharge our responsibilities to safeguard all students and staff.

    If you applied for Medicine (including the Graduate Course in Medicine) or Veterinary Medicine you will have also been asked to declare if you have any spent or unspent criminal convictions on your UCAS application. If you are made an offer for any of these courses you will be required to agree to a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

  2. Relevant Unspent Criminal Convictions

    A relevant unspent criminal conviction is deemed to include convictions, cautions, admonitions, reprimands, final warnings, bind over orders or similar involving one or more of those listed below:

    • Any kind of violence including (but not limited to) threatening behaviour, offences concerning the intention to harm, or offences which resulted in actual bodily harm
    • Offences listed in the Sex Offences Act 2003
    • The unlawful supply of controlled drugs or substances where the conviction concerns commercial drug dealing or trafficking
    • Offences involving firearms, crossbows and knives
    • Offences involving arson
    • Offences listed in the Terrorism Act 2006

    The definition of ‘spent’ is complex, being affected by such factors as the type of the offence, the age at which the person was found guilty and the sentence received. “Spent” generally means the criminal conviction has lapsed over time to the extent where you are not required to declare it for employment and other purposes. The Unlock website provides useful information on when a conviction is spent.

    If you are unsure whether a caution is relevant and/or unspent, you should seek advice from a solicitor, Citizens Advice Bureau, or the Probation Service. If you seek advice from a solicitor you may have to pay for that advice.

  3. Offer Holders from outside the UK and European Economic Area

    The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (the Act) is relevant to those of all nationalities and residencies, and the concept of “spent” convictions as set out in the Act applies regardless of the jurisdiction of the court where the offender was convicted. You should note that the Act states the following:

    • Whilst a conviction acquired outside Great Britain may be spent under the relevant law of the country where the person was convicted, it is not automatically deemed spent under English law. The Unlock website provides useful information on when a conviction is spent.
    • In determining whether a conviction is capable of becoming spent, a sentence imposed by a court outside of Great Britain will be treated in the same way as the corresponding sentence under English law, or its nearest equivalent.
    • Where a sentence is imposed by a court outside of Great Britain, the period before which the conviction is deemed spent will be calculated according to English law, as set out in the Act.
  4. Undeclared Criminal Convictions

    If you fail to disclose a relevant, unspent conviction the University may withdraw their offer or, if you have matriculated, take disciplinary action.

  5. Procedure following a declaration of a relevant unspent criminal conviction by an offer holder

    The information you provide concerning criminal convictions will be passed to appointed persons at the College (usually the Senior Tutor) to enable them to complete a risk assessment. The risk assessment will take into account factors including:

    • The nature of the offence, including its relevance to the proposed programme and to the context of undergraduate study;
    • The time that has passed since the offence occurred;
    • Any pattern of offending;
    • The sentence given.

    They may share the information with relevant administrative staff at the University and the members of the Admissions Standing Committee on Criminal Convictions Declarations. You may be asked to provide further information about your conviction.

    If the case is determined to be low risk, the risk assessment and a full set of documentation will be referred to the Admissions Standing Committee on Criminal Conviction Declarations to confirm this judgement. If confirmed, you will be informed and the offer will proceed as normal. If the case is determined to be medium or high risk, the risk assessment will be referred to the Admissions Standing Committee on Criminal Conviction Declarations for consideration and, if needed, further information will be sought.

    A decision on whether or not to withdraw your offer will be based upon your particular circumstances and informed by the recommendation of the Admissions Standing Committee on Criminal Conviction Declarations. This may require the Standing Committee to obtain further information about any declared convictions from third parties and to share relevant information with those third parties. The Standing Committee will make one of the following decisions:

    • your offer can proceed and no additional, provided you meet any other conditions specified in your offer
    • your offer can proceed but additional conditions of admission conditions will be applied to mitigate risk once you become a registered student (such as specific pastoral support, supervisory arrangements or restrictions on accommodation or non-academic activity)
    • your offer is withdrawn
    • further information is required and the case will be reconsidered.

    All records and correspondence relating to your declaration of a relevant unspent criminal conviction will be securely stored in accordance with the University’s Data Protection Policy, as well as any data protection policies issued by your College. Furthermore, all information relating to your conviction will be stored separately and securely. Access will be restricted to those directly involved in the assessment of the conviction. Copies of DBS certificates themselves will be disposed of after any relevant decisions have been made and once they are no longer necessary, though we may need to keep a record of the fact that a DBS check was carried out.

    It is important to understand that a failure to declare a relevant unspent criminal conviction is taken very seriously, and could result in expulsion from the University and College.

  6. Criminal Convictions Disclosure Form

    If you are required to disclose a relevant, unspent criminal conviction you should complete the Criminal Convictions Disclosure Form and return it, marked confidential, to the Senior Tutor of the College you have applied to.

Disclosure and Barring Service check (Medicine and Veterinary Medicine only)

If you’re offered a place to study Medicine or Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge, you're required to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Medicine offer holders will require an Enhanced Disclosure and Veterinary Medicine offer holders will require a Standard Disclosure.

Minor misdemeanours won’t necessarily prevent you from entering the medical/veterinary profession but you should declare these in your UCAS application and you’ll be sent the relevant forms to complete if you’re offered a place.

Overseas students will be asked to provide similar evidence.

More details can be found on the University's Rules and Legal Compliance webpage.

Criminal Convictions Disclosure Form