PLP raises concerns on disregard scheme for historic consensual gay sex offences

Published: October 20 2016

PLP raises concerns on disregard scheme for historic consensual gay sex offences

This news item was updated on 21/10/16
The Government has announced today that it will introduce a statutory pardon for men with historic convictions for consensual gay sex offences. The pardon will only apply to men who have successfully applied to the Home Office to have their conviction disregarded.

PLP is concerned about the accessibility of the Home Office disregard scheme and appeal process, which does not appear to be meeting its intended aim of allowing the thousands of men in this situation get convictions removed from their records. The number of men who have applied under the scheme since it was introduced in 2012 is extremely low: according to information obtained by PLP under the Freedom of Information Act, as at 7 June 2016 there had only been 320 applications, 83 of which have been successful. None of the unsuccessful applicants has exercised their right of appeal to the High Court.

PLP is also concerned that not all repealed gay sex offences have been included under the disregard scheme. For example, the now repealed offence of importuning, which the Government has acknowledged was used in a discriminatory way against gay men, is not included. The offence is categorised as a sex offence, and so a conviction or caution for this offence can be disclosed on a DBS check to employers indefinitely.

You can find more detail of the concerns rasied by a PLP client, in an article in the Independent, here.

For more information about PLP’s work on this issue, please contact Katy Watts at