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Is a CRB/DBS check necessary - 17 November 2013 PDF Print E-mail



Should the Social Right of Pedlary be subject to CRB check to refuse certificate?


There are several forms of self-employed trading – some include:



The smallest micro-business of certified pedlary entitles a pedestrian to trade in public throughout the UK. The criteria to trade as a pedlar under the Pedlars Act is age above 17, one month’s residency in the issuing jurisdiction and considered a person of good character. A pedlar is a pedestrian and may use pedestrian means of carrying and displaying goods in public. Pedlary is a social right and as such self-regulating.


Market-Traders and Licensed-Traders

The next is market-trader or licensed-trader with regulated entitlement to set up a static pitch with large-scale apparatus to display and sell goods. Such apparatus is immovable and can cause public liability. Suitability is discretionary but the trading itself is stringently regulated under statute regarding space, public liability insurance, trading hours and goods sold.


Sole-Trader or Company Director

A sole trader can establish a business, buy an ongoing business, run a shop or any other establishment intended to provide services to the public. There exist no statutory criteria to assess suitability or good character. Such trading is self-regulating.


Application process

An application to the Crown for a pedlars certificate in most jurisdictions requires two “good-character references” by householders known to the applicant. Recently some police jurisdictions have made-up their own local policy to prevent applicants from obtaining a certificate for any offence including cautions registered on an Enhanced CRB check.


Is such local policy appropriate, necessary or proportionate?

It can be argued that that such policy is none of the above when considering the criteria for other types of self-employed trading activities. Each of the above trading types have equal access to the public and equal responsibility to the public but pedlar applicants are not treated equally. Applicant pedlars contend that a CRB test of good character discriminates unduly and is therefore unfair.


Question for the executive & judiciary:

Given that pedlary is a social right akin to the right to vote, the right to use the NHS or the highway, should a pedlary applicant be subject to enhanced CRB police record check for entitlement to work in public?


End - research


update 25 Jauary 2016:


Can BIS produce an Objective Test of Good Character? 

The latest BIS consultation informs stakeholders that government and police are consulting on an objective test of good character. Pedlars are the primary stakeholders most likely to be affected but are excluded from further consultation. is aware of numerous cases where an Application for a Pedlars Certificate is refused on the grounds that there is 'an entry' on a CRB/DBS/PND search without disclosing the nature of the entry - police interview, speeding fine, conviction, report of incident etc with no assessment of whether or not an entry is 'spent' under the Police & Criminal Evidence Act. 

Government has determined to remove the one month 'residency' requirement and rely solely on some form of test of good character but police have no access to records of Applicants from outside the UK which may lead to perceived discrimination against UK Applicants and in conflict with the Services Directive. Pedlars contend that the notion of an 'objective' test is without merit.






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