Criminal record checks are increasingly being used to screen job applicants, and can hurt your prospects of getting a job.
But should a recent speeding ticket (not a criminal offence) that puts you in the database allow an officer to check an ambiguous box that neither confirms nor denies the presence of a criminal record?
The Times Colonist reports,
The “may or may not exist” category — box No. 4 — is ticked when an applicant’s name turns up in police records for a wide range of reasons. Perhaps it was last year’s speeding ticket. It could be for being questioned by police about your barking dog or the fact someone noted your car’s plates while it was in the area of a crime being committed.
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has long-standing concerns about criminal-record checks, said spokeswoman Micheal Vonn.
“We hear various stories about the infamous ‘box No. 4,’ and we are increasingly concerned, because not only has the amount of criminal-record checks increased but so has the amount of data that police are collecting.
“We understand there are very, very few guidelines and there are inconsistencies,” said Vonn, adding that what gets noted on a police database is often not verifiable.
“In the [fourth] box I have found, in assisting complainants, things that are so shocking and detrimental and prejudicial to their employment, such as police conjecture as to their mental health.”