THE CONS' CHARTER; EXCLUSIVE Criminal Records Kept Secret in Move to Cut Re-Offending Toll

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Byline: BOB ROBERTS

EX-CONVICTS are to be given sweeping new rights to keep their criminal records secret, it was revealed last night.

A Home Office document says even the most serious criminals should only have to declare their convictions for two years after release from jail.

Young criminals should get a "clean sheet" and have their records wiped out when they reach 18, the report says.

And minor offenders will be under no obligation to give details of their crimes to new employers.

At present employers have the legal right to ask job applicants for details of their criminal record. People who have been in custody between six and 30 months have to declare their convictions for 10 years.

Those who have served sentences of more than 30 months never have their convictions "spent".

Home Office minister Lord Falconer said: "The best way to make our communities safe is to reduce re-offending. …