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Northern Ireland digitises criminal record checks


Northern Ireland’s Department of Justice (DoJ) has added a new service to its AccessNI portal to issue digital criminal record check certificates.

It said this makes it the first criminal history service in the UK to offer criminal check certificates digitally and makes the portal the only UK service offering online applications for all types of checks. 

The new system enables applicants to receive criminal check certificates in digital format then forward them to an employer. The DoJ said this can make it much faster than the traditional paper process.

Nick Perry, permanent secretary of the DoJ, said; “Today’s move further demonstrates the department’s commitment to making the justice system more effective by delivering a modern and efficient service, focused on meeting the needs of its customers. 

“AccessNI plays a vital role in protecting our communities by providing criminal record checks for those applying to work with children and vulnerable adults. Investing in this new technology will provide an end to end digital service which allows the fastest and most secure method of receiving certificates in the whole of the UK.”

95% of applications

Digital certificates will be available to customers who have no information to be disclosed on their certificate, equating to 95% of AccessNI applications.

Certificates which contain disclosed information will continue to be sent out in paper format, and applicants who do not wish to receive a digital certificate will continue to have the option to receive a paper certificate through the application process.

Access NI processes three types of criminal checks – basic, standard and enhanced – with the total for 2017-18 amounting to more than 140,000.

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