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  • How often do you have to do a police check?

    If you ever wonder how many times you have to apply for the Police Check for your various applications in Australia, then you are not alone. The Police Check has become so essential in Australia that in many job applications it is not possible to complete an application without submitting a Criminal History Check in Australia.

    How often you apply for the Police Check depends on what you use it for or the organisations that request it. For some roles, the organisation may require the applicant to submit a Police Check within regular intervals. So, the frequency of a Check usually depends on your role or the organisation you work with.

    A national police check can be obtained online via the Australian National Character Check (ANCC) website. Most national police checks are dispatched to applicants within 24 to 48 hours, with the remainder that get referred for manual processing taking longer.

    For existing employees or contractors, most organisations require a renewal of national criminal history check results on an annual basis. For new starters, most employers and decision makers do not accept a criminal history check result that is older than three (3) months. These timeframes do vary and depend on each organisation’s internal risk assessment and mitigation policies.

    Why do organisations request updated Police Checks?

    The Police Check is a standard document to assess a candidate based on their criminal records. The requesting party can only get an accurate assessment of the candidate if it is updated records. And this is why most organisations and employers demand that the candidate submits updated records of the Police Check.

    Furthermore, the regular updated Check is a way to keep employees or candidates in line while on the job. Of course, if the candidate knows that they have upcoming assessments, they will try to maintain their clean records in Australia.

    Also, some organisations include the Criminal Record Check as a vital part of their internal risk mitigation policies. The Police Check for such companies is a way to ensure that people don't deviate from the strong integrity and principles of the institution. The Australian government, through various legislations, also provides that organisations that work in sensitive sectors have a credible internal policy.

    It is an excellent civil practice for businesses and organisations to protect the interests and values of their customers. The organisation must take conscious steps to safeguard all the properties under their care and control. It also means creating a safe environment for both customers and workers – one intentional move to achieve this is to request a criminal record check before employing candidates.

    Does the Police Check expire?

    People wonder why the organisation should request frequent Police Checks if the certificate never expires. Yes, the Police Check certificate cannot expire (technically) since it is a point in time check; the results can become obsolete based on the candidate’s criminal records.

    Usually, businesses and employers request new starters to provide a Police Check not older than three months to prevent them from assessing older records of the candidate. They believe that three months is a reasonable threshold until the candidate may get another conviction.

    Where do I need a regular Police Check?

    Although most employers request the Criminal History Check as part of a recruitment condition, they do not demand regular Checks with the same frequency. For example, an organisation operating in a sensitive role may request the Police Check once a year from their staff and employees depending on their internal policies.

    How frequent you need the Police Check usually depends on the organisation or the role you perform.

    As general examples, you may have to provide regular Police Checks for the following roles;


    • Finance related offices

    As an accountant, auditor, treasurer, stockbroker or any other person working an organisation or the public accounts, the decision makers in the organisation may request that you submit a Criminal History Check within respectable periods. Such positions of holding public funds are very sensitive and detrimental in the case of collapse; regular Background Check is a form of risk prevention.


    • Working with the Vulnerable

    If your role requires you to be in proximity with vulnerable people either as a paid employee or volunteer, you may have to provide updated Police Checks. The vulnerable are people with special needs and cannot make solid decisions or secure themselves from exploitation.

    Employers and decision makers should also be aware of other regulatory requirements if their organisation engages in a regulated industry, such as working with vulnerable people check requirements or working with children check requirements.


    • Data management

    If you work in a government or private enterprise where you are exposed to or manage sensitive data, you may have to submit updated Police Checks.


    • Sensitive Licenses

    Obtaining specific licenses require you to submit a Current Police Check in the application. However, you may need to update these records within respectable periods for sensitive licenses in Commercial Vehicle Driver Licenses, Liquor sales and Real Estate.

    The licensing agency also has the right to seize or cancel a license if the offender has a compromising record or through court/legal orders.


    • Accreditation/professional bodies

    Most accreditation bodies will request for your Police Check in Australia before they admit you into their organisation. For some of these organisations, you may continue to update your Police Check results within respectable periods to renew your membership. They also have the legal right to suspend or disqualify you from the organisation once your criminal records compromise their policies/vision. Some of these groups include;

    Professional groups for;

    • Teachers and Educators,
    • Journalists,
    • Religious bodies,
    • Public transport operators,
    • Professional Finance bodies.

    Can I refuse to update my Police Check results?

    Employers are encouraged to outline written internal policies to the candidate before hiring them. However, if you are aware of the policy for updating your Police Check, and you fail, the organisation can take further actions per their policies.

    How do I get the Police Check?

    There are many good avenues the Australian government provides for obtaining the Police Check in Australia. However, most applicants prefer to use the online method of applying for the Police Check due to its convenience and speed.


    • Online application (Applying through the ANCC)

    Several accredited service providers in Australia (like ANCC) process the Police Check for applicants when they apply online. All procedures and materials for this application are completed online. The applicant can even get a hard copy of the result and the soft copy they get initially.

    All online applications are usually concluded within 24 to 48 hours of the Checking unless the check is referred for manual processing. Also, candidates don't have to get to special centres or cafes to begin an application. They can start and complete the application using their PC, mobile phone or tablet in Australia.


    • Applying through the local Police office

    Candidates can also apply physically through any police office near them. The State and Territory Police forces issues valid Police Checks to all vetted candidates through any of their local Police branches.

    However, as this application method is manual, it can take as long as ten days before the candidate gets the result of their Check.


    • Applying through the Local Post office

    The post office can help process the Police Check by transferring Police Check applications from the candidate to the National Police Checking Service.

    Applying directly through the post office means the applicant may need to physically attend a post office to complete the process.

    Is there a difference in the Police Check by the different mediums?

    The approved service provider or method you employ to apply for the Criminal History Check does not affect the legitimacy of the Police Check.

    However, where the Employer or requesting party has stipulated a source or means of obtaining the Police Check, the candidate must obey it.

    What details change about my Police Check?

    The main reason employers demand the Police Check is that certain conviction records about the offender may have changed within a period. The Police Check is a document reflection of the candidate's record on their criminal history check. If the candidate gets a new conviction or record, it will appear on their updated Police Check, the same thing if any of their offences are expunged.

    However, not all details change in a Police Check certificate; some details are barely affected depending on the jurisdiction laws.

    What details are in my updated Police Check result?

    The updated Police Check contains the changes made to the applicant’s Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCOs) (if any).

    The DCO is the list of all convictions, findings of guilt and other records on the criminal history that can be released through the Check. Not all your records are available to the public based on some jurisdiction laws.

    The details on your updated Police Check may vary depending on the purpose or role you select. For example, a Police Check for a volunteer may have slightly different details than paid employment if the roles are different.

    The DCOs for the Police Check will reveal details like;


    • Traffic Offences

    Yes, traffic offences or violations settled in court or where the court issues a conviction will appear on the Police Check. Also, as a corporate driver or operator in an organisation, your updated traffic convictions are essential to them and the Police Check.


    • Sexually related offences

    The Police Check will reveal any conviction of sexual misdemeanours, rape, abuse and any other conviction. For most cases, a sexual related criminal record may be detrimental and the candidate may have to surrender their role.


    • Offences against corporate bodies

    Your past behaviours or relationship in the corporate environment is essential to many employers. For example, they would refrain from hiring a person that is a liability to their organisation.


    • Unspent offences

    Generally, the records in a Police Check are unspent records under Australian laws. Any offences that are spent never appear on the Police Check in Australia.


    • Non-conviction sentences

    Not all non-conviction sentences are automatically removed; some are disclosed on the applicant's Police Check records. Your non-convictions sentence or finding of guilt is part of your records unless for some selected diversionary programs.


    • Good Behaviour Bond

    Some Good Behaviour Bonds remain on the candidate's criminal history until the expiration of the Bond. During that period, your Police Check will contain all the Bond details, including the offence that resulted in a bond.

    Do I have to pay every time I apply for the Police Check?

    Yes, each Police Check application attracts a base fee when you apply online. And it has an extra charge if the candidate favours a hard copy of the Police Check.

    The Police Check process attracts a base fee every time you apply for the Police Check in Australia. However, there may be special arrangements by the organisation to cover the cost of the Check.

    Furthermore, other organisations may create a business account with online services like ANCC to order, manage and view the candidate's Police Check.

    Can I use the Police Check anywhere in Australia?

    Regardless of where you obtained the previous Police Check result, you can renew or use it in another State/Territory in Australia. If you received the Police Check in Tasmania, and your job or role transfers you to another branch in Queensland, you can still use the certificate if the purpose of the work is the same.

    What happens to Spent convictions when I renew my Police Check?

    Once you renew your Police Checks, all records ‘legally Spent’ from your Disclosable Court Outcomes are removed from your Police Check.

    The Spent Convictions Scheme in Australia clears all eligible offences from the candidate's record after settling a period of good behaviour. Furthermore, these records will never enter their updated Police Check and remain invisible/inaccessible to another party unless required by law.

    This is one benefit for the candidate when updating their Criminal History Check; all the expunged details on their criminal history are correctly adjusted on the updated records.

    What if I fail an updated Police Check?

    Every organisation has policies in dealing with these issues, depending on how relevant the conviction record is to the role. The Employer or organisation may decide to transfer the candidate or remove them from that role.

    However, their actions must undergo the relevant procedures per their internal company policies and should not constitute discrimination based on a criminal record.

    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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