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The RCVS has a duty to act in the public interest as the UK regulatory authority for veterinary surgeons.

The requirement for disclosure of cautions, convictions and adverse findings has been introduced to safeguard the welfare of animals and of the public, and brings the veterinary profession in line with many others, as professions seek to assure the public that their members are fit to practise.

If a veterinary surgeon is convicted or cautioned, or investigated for serious alleged criminal activity, the police inform the RCVS as part of the Notifiable Occupations Scheme. This Scheme relates to professions or occupations that involve special trust or responsibility, in which the public interest in the disclosure of the investigation, conviction or caution, and other relevant information, outweighs the normal duty of confidentiality owed to the individual. The veterinary profession has been included in the Notifiable Occupations Scheme since April 2006. However, the operation of the Scheme does not negate the requirement for veterinary surgeons to make full disclosure to the RCVS.