Serious offending and specified offences

Reference: FTP-2c-1

Last Updated 05/09/2018

We’ll usually refer the most serious cases of criminal offending straight to the Fitness to Practise Committee. These cases include those where the courts gave the nurse, midwife or nursing associate a sentence of immediate imprisonment, or if the nature of their offending was particularly grave.

We call convictions of that level of seriousness ‘specified offences’. We will always take into account how long ago the offending happened when we decide whether to send it directly to the Committee.

What are specified offences?

For us, specified offences include: 

  • hate crimes
  • sexual offences
  • offending previously known as ‘serious arrestable offences’

Hate crimes

We consider that a hate crime includes any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.1

Sexual offences

Sexual offences include any offences which involve sexual activity or sexual motivation. They also include any involvement with child pornography.

Former serious arrestable offences

Certain offences were previously defined in section 116 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 as ‘serious arrestable offences’. The full list includes, in addition to various forms of sexual offending, various extremely serious crimes2.

The definition also includes less serious offences (arrestable offences), if they led to, were intended or threatened to lead to, or were likely to lead to any of the following consequences:

  • serious harm to the security of the State or to public order,
  • serious interference with the administration of justice or with the investigation of offences,
  • the death or serious injury of any person, or a substantial financial gain or serious financial loss to any person.

1 This definition was used by the CPS and the former Association of Chief Police Officers.
2 The list included treason, murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, causing an explosion likely to endanger life or property, certain offences under the Firearms Act 1968, causing death by dangerous driving, hostage taking, torture and many drug-related offences, and a variety of hijacking offences.

The guidance in our library, needs to be read alongside our NMC Guidance during the Covid-19 emergency period. We have new rules that are in force during the period of  the coronavirus emergency that are relevant to how it applies.

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