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Frequently Asked Questions

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Through our frequently asked questions section we aim to help you find the answers you need without having to call us to ask for information. We've provided answers to questions on a range of topics which are regularly asked of police forces up and down the country.

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The table below provides details of when a conviction will become spent. Please note that the sentence length includes any time spent on licence. Q89 provides further information on cautions and convictions.

Some convictions will never become spent and others don't require a rehabilitation period at all. Those that will never become spent include -

(a) a sentence of preventive detention;
(b) a sentence of detention during Her Majesty's pleasure or for life, a sentence of detention for a term exceeding thirty months;
(c) a sentence of custody for life; and
(d) a sentence of imprisonment for public protection.

Those that don't require a rehabilitation period (therefore the period of time until it becomes spent will be nil), include -

(a) an order discharging a person absolutely for an offence,
(b) any other sentence in respect of a conviction where the sentence is not dealt with in the table below.

Sentence

Rehabilitation Period

Adult (18+) at conviction/disposal

Young person (under 18) at conviction/disposal

Prison (including suspended prison sentences)

Over 4 years or a public protection sentence


Never spent


Never spent

More than 30 months and less than (or equal to) 4 years

Length of sentence

+ 7 years

Length of sentence

+ 3 and a half years

More than 6 months and less than (or equal to) 30 months

Length of sentence

+ 4 years

Length of sentence

+ 2 years

Less than (or equal to) 6 months

Length of sentence

+ 2 years

Length of sentence

+ 18 months

Community order/ youth rehabilitation order

Length of sentence

+ 1 year

Length of sentence

+ 6 months

A compensation order

The date when the payment is made in full.

The date when the payment is made in full.

A relevant order

The day provided as the last day on which the order is to have effect

The day provided as the last day on which the order is to have effect

A fine

12 months

6 months

Removal from Her Majesty's service

12 months

6 months

Caution, reprimand or warning

None required

None required

A sentence of service detention

12 months

6 months

Current rating

1 2 3 4 5

Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.