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Police Certificate Document

ACRO Police Certificate Document
ACRO stands for Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office. This is a national unit that is working towards building safer communities by management of criminal records information.

ACRO manages the UK Central Authority for the Exchange of Criminal Records (UKCA-ECR), which exchanges conviction information with other EU Member States. This responsibility is designated by the Home Secretary to the chief constable of our host force (Hampshire Constabulary), who delegates it to ACRO.

Outside the EU, ACRO exchanges information records with all non-EU Interpol countries via Interpol channels.

ACRO delivers services to members of the public including Police Certificates, ICPCs and the co-ordination of Subject Access and record deletion requests.

Police certificates

The ACRO Police Certificate details whether or not the applicant has a criminal record in the United Kingdom, and is often required as part of the visa process by high commissions and embassies. The certificate may include foreign criminal history information if it has been disclosed to the UK. 

Information about impending prosecutions and offences that are under investigation will feature on the certificate.


Application for a Police Certificate must be made directly to ACRO either online via their website or by post. Applicants must use the ACRO Police Certificate application form. Any other application will not be processed. Certificates will be issued to the individual named on the application and will only cover that individual. Anyone who has lived or worked in the UK can apply for a Police Certificate. On application, ACRO require a proof of address, a colour copy of the applicant’s passport and a passport style photograph.

Police Certificate v Disclosure and Barring Scotland (DBS) Certificate

A Disclosure and Barring Scotland (DBS) certificate is designed for use in the UK for employment purposes and cannot be used for visa purposes in place of a Police Certificate if you are travelling to Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cayman Islands, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States of America. It is the responsibility of the applicant to check with the relevant Embassy, High Commission or requesting authority whether a DBS certificate will be acceptable.

DBS and ACRO use different criteria when assessing what information may be disclosed.

A Police Certificate cannot be used for employment purposes in the UK.


The relevant embassy or High Commission will provide guidance on which certificate is required. The notary can notarise original certificates or copies, but this should be checked with by the party who will receive the document.