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  • How often is a police check required?

    Most employers and organisations strive to incorporate the best and safest methods in their routines and activities. An organisation may adopt the means it considers safe for the business, employees, customers and assets so long as it does not contradict Australian laws. One popular form of Employers ensuring safety is to request a Police Check from employees and candidates.

    The Police Check certificate is not just a standard assessment check; it has become popular and widespread throughout Australia.

    What is a Police Check in Australia?

    The Police Check is one of the most popular background assessments of an individual, employee or potential candidate. The Check certificate contains all the disclosable court convictions of the individual that are linked to them on the Australian Criminal Database.

    At the end of the checking process, the applicant will get a certificate that discloses all their releasable court outcomes under that jurisdiction.

    Employers assess candidates based on their Criminal History Check certificate because of the integrity and general acceptance of the certificate. The Police Checks are even conducted for specific purposes; Employment Police Checks are helpful to employers who want to hire a candidate.

    How frequently does an employer request the Police Check certificate?

    The Police Check is not a permanent pass/fail check; it is sourced from a constantly updated criminal record on the Australian database.

    Ideally, the individual should update their records within reasonable periods, especially if they get a conviction from the court. It is a severe offence in some cases/roles if an employee receives a new conviction and hides it from their employer.

    Some employers even include it in their internal policies for employees to be forthcoming about new convictions or other updated criminal records.

    How often is a criminal history check required?

    A recruiter or employer will request an updated Police Check as part of the requirement for all applicants. Most decision makers usually specify that Police Checks should not be more than three (3) months old from the date of issue.

    An employer can refuse your Police Check if it falls short of their specifications.

    Staff or employees may also be required to submit updated Police Checks within respectable periods. The period when an employee should submit an updated Police Check varies depending on the organisations and the sector they operate in.

    Generally, most organisations request an updated Police Check once every year for current staff as part of their internal risk mitigation policies.

    How long does the Police Check last?

    One reason for frequently requesting Criminal History Checks is that employers know how quickly a candidate's criminal records can change. These records are never permanent or stable, even though some people think they can predict a person's "potential for crime."

    The Criminal History Check is a point-in-time check; the Disclosable Court Outcomes may change depending on when it was issued. Although these certificates are not permanent, they do not expire in the technical sense.

    However, most organisations limit the age of the Police Check they accept from candidates or employees. Typically, no employer will accept a Police Check older than three months, except where the Police Check is not a primary "issue".

    The Australian government even encourages employers in specific industries to adopt internal policies that promote the safety and security of customers, staff and properties.

    Do details on a Police Check certificate change when they are updated?

    The details of a Police Check will only change if the candidate has an "active" legal status with Australian laws. If the candidate has received a conviction between the last Police Check issuance period and the new one, such records will enter their Police Check certificate in Australia.

    Furthermore, the updated Police Check will exclude convictions that have been Spent since the last check. If any of the offences become eligible to be spent, they are automatically taken off your records, which will reflect this in the latest Police Check application.

    However, an updated Police Check may contain the same details as the last one if the candidate does not have a recent conviction history.

    What details are shown in an updated Police Check?

    The updated Police Check contains all your Disclosable Court Outcomes from the Australian Criminal Database. It means not all offences are released on the Police Check certificate depending on the jurisdiction and their laws on disclosures of criminal records.

    Employer Police Checks may prioritise offences relevant to the roles or positions the candidate seeks. The applicant should expect to see the following details;

    • Offences against corporate bodies,
    • Sexual related offences and assaults,
    • Fraud offences, especially against an organisation,
    • Offences of misappropriation and embezzlements,
    • Office misconducts and misbehaviours that result in a conviction,
    • Driving related offences settled in court (for driving-related roles),
    • Other unspent offences per the jurisdiction.

    Can an employer dismiss an employee for a recent conviction?

    An employer may dismiss a candidate for a recent conviction, especially if it is grievous, aggravating or detrimental to a group, or the victim and the criminal record is likely to impact the inherent requirements of the job.

    However, employers should be cautious when "wielding the axe". Employers must ensure that a dismissal due to a criminal record does not amount to discrimination. The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) are special agencies present to prevent and curb discrimination because of criminal records.

    Can an Employer obtain the Police Check on behalf of the candidate?

    If the employer or employee agree that constant Police Checks applications can be costly or cumbersome, the employer can streamline the process.

    Through the Business Portal of ANCC, approved employers can order a Police Check from a candidate anytime, any place.

    The Business Portal provides an account for the employer where they can initiate, track, and monitor Police Check applications. It also ensures a safe and convenient method to handle candidates' data in one place.

    Why do Employers request a Police Check?

    One wonders why a Criminal History Check should be a frequent thing, but the next important thing should be why do employers need Criminal History Checks in the first place.

    There are many reasons your organisation or other employers will request a Check before hiring a person. Usually, it depends on the relevance of the offence or criminal records to the roles/functions the candidate engages in. Generally, a Criminal History Check is helpful to an employer for;


    • Confirming identity

    Although not the primary purpose, the Criminal History Check certificate can still confirm to the employer that the candidate is who they claim to be. With the Police Check as a requirement, it is hard for issues like certificate forgery, mistaken identity or manipulation of personal data. ANCC’s comprehensive application and identification procedure requires applicants to establish four forms of identification documents to obtain a criminal history check, as well as biometric linkage to the application and liveness during the police check process.


    • Evaluating suitability for the role

    Most employers are not just looking for "qualified" candidates; they are also looking to recruit 'suitable' ones. The Criminal Record Check certificate can be a sound document or means to separate candidates by assessing their criminal records.

    Some conviction records will compromise the role/position, and no employer wants that.


    • Improving the Public image

    Customers tend to prefer organisations that care about their privacy, safety and feedback. Employing a notorious "unrepentant" criminal to a role can do damage to the business or enterprise.


    • Protect assets and interests

    Imagine how terrifying it may be to discover you hired someone with a recent conviction in fraud to manage your business finances, or hiring a current sex offender as a private tutor for a vulnerable person.

    The Police Check can assist employers in this problem since it reveals all relevant and disclosable court outcomes.

    Employers include the Police Check certificate as an internal risk mitigation strategy. It serves as a precaution for recruitment in sensitive positions.


    • Abiding by Australian Laws

    In some industries (e.g. aged care work), the law requires frequent police checks, especially if your business operates in sensitive or specified sectors. In ensuring safe practices and risk management, the government encourages employers to request Police Check results from employees and candidates.

    Wrapping Up

    There are many other reasons why an employer will also request a Criminal History Check during and after recruitment. However, these reasons may rest entirely on the preference of the employer and the role they are recruiting for. It does not matter how frequent the employer requests a Check as long as they do not contradict the laws.

    How can I obtain a national criminal history check?

    Individuals

    If you are an individual, you can obtain a national criminal record check certificate online via Australian National Character Check’s police check application and informed consent 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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