ACRO Police Certificate Document
ACRO stands for Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office. ACRO is a national office that manages criminal record information with a goal of creating safer communities.
ACRO is responsible for the management of the UK Central Authority for the Exchange of Criminal Records (UKCA-ECR), which in turn exchanges information on convictions with other EU Member States.
The Home Secretary has designated this responsibility to the Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary, who utilise ACRO to achieve its objectives.
Outside the European Union, ACRO exchanges information records with all non-EU Interpol countries via Interpol channels.
ACRO is able to exchange information records with all European Union countries and all non-EU countries via Interpol.
Police Certificates, International Child Protection Certificates, and subject access and record deletion requests are handled by ACRO, and are most commonly required when an individual seeks to work in a different country. They may also be required when conducting financial transactions and banking applications.
ACRO Police certificates
The ACRO Police Certificate can be used to provide details of whether an individual has a criminal record in the United Kingdom. It is often required by embassies and high commissions as part of a visa application. As ACRO can capture international date, the certificate may also include any foreign criminal history that has been disclosed to the United Kingdom.
Application for a Police Certificate
If you require a Police Certificate, an application must be made directly to ACRO. This can be done on their website or by post. It should be noted that the ACRO Police Certificate application form must be used by all applicants.
Certificates must be applied for on an individual basis. Only the person named on the certificate can apply for a Police Certificate, and that certificate will cover that individual only. A Police Certificate can be applied for by anyone who has worked or lived in the United Kingdom. When applying for the certificate, you must include a passport style photograph, a clear colour copy of your passport, and a proof of address.
Why a Police Certificate and not a Disclosure and Barring Scotland (DBS) Certificate
There are several differences between the two certificates. Firstly, a ACRO Police Certificate will not be accepted in the United Kingdom for employment processes. The DBS Certificate is designed for this. Conversely, a DBS certificate cannot be used to visa purposes but a ACRO Police Certificate can. This is particularly the case if you are travelling to South Africa, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia or Belgium. Please note this list of countries is not exhaustive.
Please ensure you check with the relevant High Commission, Embassy, receiving jurisdiction, or requesting authority which certificate they require. Ultimately, it is their decision which document they choose to accept.
A Police Certificate cannot be used for employment purposes in the UK.
If your ACRO Police Certificate has been signed by an official of the issuing authority, an apostille can be affixed to the document by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office directly.
There is no requirement for notarisation. The signature on the document must be a wet ink signature however.
If you require your ACRO Police Certificate to be legalised with apostille but it does not contain a signature from an official from the issuing authority, it will need to be certified by a notary. This is the same case, if you have a printout, digital scan, or photocopy of your certificate. The Notary must have a valid practising certificate, and must sign the document in the United Kingdom. The notary must also state the action they have taken i.e. if they have witnessed the official signature, confirmed it as an original document, or certified it as a copy. The notary must subscribe their personal signature to the document, and also include their full name and address as well as the date of notarisation.
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