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  • How long is an Australian police check valid for?

    There are many uses for a Police Check in Australia, and this is why most people are wondering how long their certificate will last. The Police Check is one of the most in-demand certificates among employers, agencies and decision makers. There are only a few things where you do not need a national criminal history check in Australia.

    The Police Check is a check that has no set expiry date; it is a point in time check. Such checks only run from the period they are issued until the holder or the person who requests it thinks it has become obsolete. Technically, a Police Check does not expire; it is valid from the point of issue onwards. The validity period of a police check will depend on the organisation and their internal risk mitigation policies.

    Why do organisations refuse older Police Check results?

    While the Police Check does not expire, most organisations or employers will refuse Police Check results older than three (3) months. Usually, a Police Check is a requirement; they stipulate that such checks must not be older than three months.

    Applicants who have older Police Check results must renew them before applying for such a position/role.

    Therefore, an organisation can interpret or assess results depending on their internal risk mitigation strategies.

    Why do organisations and division makers require a recent Police Check result?

    The Police Check result is constantly updated; such records change as the person gets new convictions. A recent Police Check will capture a person's conviction even though it was recorded the previous day.

    Also, in roles where the individual will perform sensitive duties, the employer must assess them based on their recent records. There are a lot of benefits to evaluating a candidate's recent records, it shows;

    • The tendency of a candidate for "trouble"

    A recent criminal record check result will show an employer the tendency of an applicant to re-offend. Assessing a person based on a one-year-old check will preclude their recent conviction history, which may offer many insights.

    • It shows all updated records

    A recent criminal record check result will show the updated Criminal records of the candidate. An example is that all the convictions that are spent will not appear on the Police Check. Also, other updates to a person’s criminal records will reflect on an updated Check.

    • It aids better assessment

    The agency or employer assessing a criminal history check result will do a better job with a recent record. It is possible for an employer to fault discrimination if they assess a person by an older record.

    A recent criminal history check can guide the assessor whether such offence(s) relate to the role or not.

    How long does a Criminal record last?

    Having a criminal record on the Australian criminal database is an exhausting reality for some. These records remain on the database for a long time, unless special laws;

    • Removes such offences under the Spent Convictions Scheme,
    • Decriminalises such offences under Australian law,
    • The Court sentences them for other programs.

    If none of these happens to your offences, then such records may remain on your criminal database for life. And all your criminal records on the Australian criminal database will appear on a Police Background Check in Australia.

    A Criminal record will last for a lifetime unless specific programs in the legislation erase them (the Spent Convictions Scheme).

    What is the Spent Convictions scheme?

    Under this Scheme, eligible convictions are wiped off a person's criminal record check. However, these convictions/offences must satisfy the conditions as outlined in the Scheme.

    However, not all offences can qualify for the Spent convictions scheme. The Scheme only applies to minor infractions (e.g. Summary offences) that had little impact on the victim and incurred minor penalties.

    An offence will be eligible for the spent convictions scheme if;

    • The Court did not impose penalties of more than 30 months for such violation,
    • The offender has observed a Good behaviour Period without another conviction,
    • The offence is part of the listed offence under the Scheme.

    What is a Good Behaviour Period for the Spent Convictions Scheme?

    An offender must observe a period where they must not be indicted or receive convictions for another crime. People rightly refer to this period as the crime-free period or rehabilitation period.

    The Crime free period duration will vary depending on how the individual was convicted.

    The period is;

    • Ten years for convictions received as an adult or (in an adult court), and
    • Five years (3 in the state of NSW) for convictions obtained as a juvenile or (in a Youth Court).

    What is the benefit of a Spent Conviction?

    If any of the offences on your criminal record is eligible for the Spent convictions, it will be removed from your records. This action will reflect when you update your criminal history check certificate.

    Besides having your spent offences removed from your records;

    • Right of No disclosure

    You don’t have to reveal details of such convictions to an employer or any other inquisitor. Your spent records are private, and you are under oath to remain silent if you do not want to share such records.

    • Those convictions cannot be used to assess you

    It can qualify as discrimination if an employer assesses you based on a Spent Conviction. Except where the legislation or the roles requires the assessment of spent records, an employer must not evaluate you based on such records.

    • They are updated automatically.

    In most States, you do not need to apply to have your convictions spent. The eligible convictions will be erased from your records once you meet all the conditions. In Western Australia, the person may have to apply to have their conviction/s spent.

    What do I do if my Police Check result is rejected?

    If the requestor rejects your criminal history check certificate because it is old, then it is time to renew that Check.

    Renewing a criminal history check is not different from the initial application. Applicants can renew their police check online through approved service providers like Australian National Character Check (ANCC).

    How do I renew a Police Check?

    A Check renewal will require you to provide your updated personal details and complete the application form along with all supporting identification documents again.

    Depending on the preference and the use of the criminal history check, you can renew your Check through any of the following methods;

    Australian National Character Check (ANCC)

    There are numerous service providers approved by the government to issue Police Checks. These service providers make the process more convenient and faster through online application portals.

    Most candidates who apply through ANCC will get their results within 24 to 48 hours. The remaining that get referred for manual processing will take longer.

    Local Australian Police Forces

    Australian police forces issue a criminal history check certificate to all candidates who apply through the local police. Such an application may require you to physically visit the Local Police office to verify or attest your IDs. Applicants should allow between 10 and 15 business days to get a result.

    The Post office

    The Local Post office serves as an intermediary between the applicant and the National Police Checking Service (NPCS). The applicants must ensure they submit complete details on their application forms and present their identity documents to the post office.

    What shows up on a Police Check?

    The information revealed on a nationally coordinated criminal history check relates to the purpose of the check (which you must select).

    There are various uses for a Police Check, and this may determine the different preferences.

    A Police Check for employment may prioritise details about;

    • The applicant’s previous records with corporate bodies,
    • The convictions relating to financial or employment records on the applicant’s record,
    • Any conviction history in misappropriation of public misconduct,
    • Any other conviction that is relevant for the role they are applying for.

    Police Check for Licensing or Accreditation

    Obtaining certain licenses in Australia may require you to tender a criminal history check certificate. The details on the Check will reveal the applicant’s convictions (if any) that may affect the suitability of the individual to hold the license.

    The convictions on a criminal record check certificate are called Disclosable Court Outcome (DCO). However, if the applicant has no releasable conviction records, their Police Check will return with a No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO). The results of a criminal history check may display the following convictions as a DCO:

    When should I apply for a Police Check?

    As most organisations do not accept older Checks (usually older than three months), it is best to apply for a criminal history check at least one month before you need it.

    How can I obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?


    If you are an individual, you can obtain a national criminal record check certificate online via Australian National Character Check’s police check application form. The results are dispatched via email.

    Business and Enterprise Customers

    Business and Enterprise customers are able to sign up to ANCC’s business portal where they can order, manage, track and view candidates’ criminal history check results on their business portal. Organisations will undergo a process for approval prior to being granted access to ANCC’s business portal.

    ANCC sends an invite to the applicant to complete their criminal record check online and handles the application and informed consent form. Contact ANCC’s business and enterprise partnerships team today to enquire about setting up a business portal for your organisation.

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