Criminal Offences – Frequently Asked Questions
The University will not conduct investigations into allegations of criminal offences, and will normally postpone any misconduct procedure under the Conduct Regulations until the police investigation or legal proceedings are concluded. However, the University must be made aware, in certain circumstances, of criminal investigations, charges, bail conditions, convictions and certain Court Orders made in respect of students, to determine whether any interim measures are necessary, under the Interim Measures Regulations.
I have an unspent criminal conviction, acquired before I started studying at the University - do I need to declare it?
Possibly. Students must disclose any unspent criminal conviction for a relevant offence* at enrolment and registration to the Director of Education and Student Services (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you do not do so within two workings days, this may constitute a misconduct offence under the Conduct Regulations.
Students on accredited programmes (medicine, dentistry, nursing and midwifery, psychology, teaching, social work, pharmacy, professional legal training) must declare all criminal convictions. You should contact your School for further information.
- What is an unspent criminal conviction?
What makes a conviction ‘spent’ depends on your age at date of conviction in court and the length and type of sentence received. The rehabilitation periods are outlined in The Rehabilitation of Offenders (NI) Order 1978, and you should check this Order to determine whether your conviction is spent or not.
- What is a relevant offence?
A relevant offence is a criminal offence involving any act of violence, offences concerning the intention to harm or resulting in actual harm, the unlawful supply of controlled drugs or substances where the conviction concerns commercial drug dealing or trafficking, offences involving firearms, arson, or those listed in the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 or The Terrorism Act 2006 or equivalent legislations for offences committed/conviction acquired outside the UK.
- I am a current student and have been notified that I am under police investigation in relation to a criminal offence, what must I do?
Students whose programmes are covered by the Fitness to Practise Procedure, (medicine, dentistry, nursing and midwifery, psychology, teaching, social work, pharmacy, professional legal training) must disclose to the Director of Education and Student Services (email@example.com) and their School Office as soon as possible if they become subject to a police investigation, any bail conditions, or acquire a criminal record in relation to any criminal offence.
Any other student must notify the Director of Education and Student Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) immediately if they are under police investigation for a relevant offence*, are charged with a relevant offence, are summonsed in relation to a relevant offence, or are subject to bail conditions which have any impact on their ability to attend campus or carry out study.
You must provide the following details:
- the nature of the offence;
- a copy of any police or court bail conditions imposed;
- the charge(s) (if any) against you; and
- the date of the alleged offence(s)
- the location of the alleged incident(s); and
- the name and contact details of the Investigating Officer, if known.
What happens if I do not disclose the required information to the University?
If you do not comply with your obligation to disclose the required information to the University, this may constitute a misconduct offence under the Conduct Regulations, the standard penalty for which is expulsion.
- What happens once I have made a disclosure?
A risk assessment will be carried out, and, if appropriate and necessary to protect members of the University in general, or to protect a particular member or members of the University, or to prevent a reoccurrence of any (alleged) misconduct, a precautionary suspension from the University may be imposed on you by a Precautionary Suspension Panel, pending the outcome of a conduct procedure, police investigation or criminal or civil proceedings. You will normally be invited to attend a meeting of the Precautionary Suspension Panel to present your case, and you will be notified in writing of the terms of any precautionary suspension, and written reasons for the decision will be made. If the matter is urgent, a precautionary suspension may be imposed immediately without you attending the Precautionary Suspension Panel meeting, however you will have the right to request a review of the decision in such circumstances.
If you are subject to a precautionary suspension, you will normally be able to access the student support services e.g. Student Wellbeing, SU Advice
- Will I be able to make a statement?
Before any precautionary suspension is imposed (except where the matter is deemed to be urgent by the Precautionary Suspension Panel), you will have the right to attend a meeting with the Precautionary Suspension Panel to present your case.
If the case is deemed to be urgent and the Precautionary Suspension Panel makes the decision to impose a precautionary suspension without inviting you to the meeting, you will have the right to request a review of the decision, and you will be invited to a subsequent meeting of the Precautionary Suspension Panel, to present your case.
- If a precautionary suspension is imposed, can I challenge the decision?
You have the right to appeal the decision of the Precautionary Suspension Panel to impose a precautionary suspension.
You must submit the Precautionary Suspension Appeal Form to the Appeals and Complaints Team (email@example.com) within five working days of notification of the decision of the Precautionary Suspension Panel.
The Precautionary Suspension Appeal Panel will comprise, the Director of Education and Student Services (or nominee) and a senior colleague. You will be invited to attend the meeting of the Precautionary Suspension Appeal Panel and make any representations that you wish.
- What can the Precautionary Suspension Appeal Panel decide?
The Precautionary Suspension Appeal Panel can decide to confirm the decision of the Precautionary Suspension Panel to impose a precautionary suspension, or it can overturn the decision and lift the precautionary suspension, or amend the conditions of the precautionary suspension.
If the decision of the Precautionary Suspension Appeal Panel is that the precautionary suspension should remain in place, the decision will not be re-evaluated unless there has been a development in the matter. You should inform the Appeals and Complaints Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) if there are any developments.
Any period of precautionary suspension may last until the police investigation, criminal, civil or conduct proceedings are concluded.
What if I am unhappy with the decision of the Precautionary Suspension Appeal Panel?
The decision of the Precautionary Suspension Appeal Panel is final, and there is no further internal right of appeal.
You have the right to submit a complaint about maladministration to the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman within six months of the date of notification of the University’s final decision.
- What if I become subject to an Anti-Social Behaviour Order, Non-Molestation Order, an Order under the Protection from Harassment (NI) Order 1997, or a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO)?