What to tell us when you apply guide

FtP question 1: Cautions and convictions

This page will help you answer fitness to practise question 1 on your application.

Have you been formally cautioned or convicted by the police or a court?

If your caution or conviction is protected by law in the UK, answer no.

What you need to tell us

You need to tell us about formal cautions and convictions you have, unless they are protected by law in the UK.

What do we mean by 'caution'?

When the police give a formal written warning to someone who has admitted to committing a criminal offence. This includes:

  • cautions for any offence
  • conditional cautions 
  • formal warnings given by the police outside of the UK.

What do we mean by 'conviction'?

A conviction is the result of a person being found guilty of a crime by a court. This includes:

  • convictions for a criminal offence in the UK or in another country
  • road traffic convictions for a criminal offence in the UK or another country
  • convictions from a military court or tribunal.

What you don't need to tell us

If I received a verbal caution

You only need to tell us about a caution given to you verbally if it was followed by a formal outcome and you admitted to committing a criminal offence. For example, in Scotland, a police officer may give a verbal caution to inform someone of their right to remain silent where the person doesn’t admit to committing an offence. You don't need to tell us about these.

If a caution or conviction is protected by law in the UK 

If a caution or conviction is protected it means you don’t need to tell others about it as it meets criteria set out in law. It’s based on the time that has passed since the offence and the seriousness of the crime. You don’t need to tell us about any protected cautions or convictions.

When is a caution or conviction protected?

It depends on your age at the time you received it and how much time has passed since you received it. Regardless of where you received it, we apply the laws applicable in England and Wales.

A caution is protected if both bullet points apply:

  • it is not for a ‘listed offence’*
  • more than six years have passed since the date of the caution (or more than two years have passed if you were under the age of 18 when cautioned).

A conviction is protected if all bullet points apply:

  • it is not for a ‘listed offence’*
  • you didn’t receive a custodial sentence
  • you haven’t been convicted of any other offence
  • more than 11 years have passed since the date of conviction (or more than five years and six months have passed if you were under the age of 18 when convicted).

*A listed offence is one that will never be filtered from a DBS certificate. These include serious violent and sexual offences that relate to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.

What should I do if I have a caution or conviction that isn't protected?

If you have a caution or conviction that isn’t protected, answer yes to fitness to practise question 1 on your application and give the following details:

  • whether you received a caution or if you were convicted of a criminal offence
  • the date the caution was issued or the date when you were convicted
  • the offence the caution or conviction was for and the circumstances leading to it
  • the name and address of the issuing court or police service.
  • whether you told your employer or medical school/university, and if so, what the outcome was.

For advice about other offences and actions, including fixed penalty notices, read our guide on other police actions.

I’m still not sure whether I need to tell you about a caution or conviction. What should I do?

Use our 'What to tell us when you apply' tool to help you decide whether to tell us about a caution or conviction. If you’ve used the tool and you’re still not sure get in touch with one of our advisers.