Security features

Security features of a DBS certificate

As part of a safer recruitment decision-making process, where appropriate, an original DBS certificate must be seen.

Copies of digital photographs are not acceptable and must be rejected.

A DBS certificate contains the DBS logo on the front face and contains a number of security features which can be used to verify whether it has been counterfeited or altered.

When examining a DBS certificate, make sure to check:

  • the certificate has printing on both sides
  • the paper size is 209mm width x 404mm length, which is larger than A4
  • the personal information print colour on the certificate is purple
  • a 'crown seal' watermark repeated down the right-hand side of the certificate is visible both on the surface and when holding the certificate up to the light
  • a background design with the word 'Disclosure' appears in a wave-like pattern across both sides of the document (on the front of the certificate this pattern is green and on the rear of the document this is purple)

If you are unsure whether a DBS certificate is genuine, or you think that it may have been altered, you should contact the DBS immediately at

If you are presented with a clear certificate and after checking the Update Service it states “no further information on certificate,” contact the DBS at, as the certificate may have been tampered with.


Manual DBS certificates

These are issued where the way information has been recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC) means that full information is not picked up when being transferred from that system (PNC) to the DBS.

Manual certificates are formatted slightly differently than a system generated certificate but are produced on official DBS paper which has a number of built in security features.

Manual certificates are printed on A4 white paper with the word 'Disclosure' in wave pattern, green on both sides running edge to edge. This feature is so the paper cannot be copied due to no water marks on the paper we use.

A manual certificate will always:

  • have a certificate reference number on either starting MD, LM or RE
  • use black ink
  • state how many pages are to follow on the first page
  • be numbered at the bottom of the certificate and the numbers should flow in sync

Was this page helpful?

Very poor
Neither good nor poor
Very good