Durham Police Unveil New Guidelines For Criminal Background Checks
Durham Region Police have announced some welcome changes to the guidelines the force follows on criminal background checks. Starting Feb. 1, police will, in most cases, no longer release non-conviction records, meaning people applying for jobs or volunteer positions will no longer be adversely affected by any past involvement with police.
The changes came about after much-publicized accounts across Ontario of people who lost out on jobs or couldn’t become volunteers due to disclosures in police background checks about past brushes with the law, even if there were no convictions or even charges. Information revealed on these checks included unproven charges, withdrawn charges and mental health calls to 911. These people’s lives were disrupted by what police revealed to potential employers or volunteer organizations.
The new guidelines aim to strike a balance between providing information about individuals applying to work with vulnerable people and the rights of those applicants to privacy and the presumption of innocence, members of the Durham police services board were told recently.