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

    If you have to do a background check as necessary as the Police Check, you will understand why most decision-makers request frequent Police Checks from candidates. It is wrong to think that an organisation requesting regular Police Checks is overbearing or petty because even legislation in your Territory may support criminal history checks for particular roles, accreditations and licenses.

    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.

    Applicants can obtain a nationally coordinated criminal history check online for a base price of $48.90. Payment options include debit card, credit card or PayPal.

    How often you renew your Police Check varies and usually depends on some factors;


    1. The organisation/employer that requests the Police Check

    The Police Check is deeply the central part of most organisations’ risk structure. For these organisations, your Check renewal may be more frequent than others.

    Most employers and decision makers request existing employees or contractors to renew their Criminal History Check at least once a year.

    When hiring new staff or granting a license or accreditation, decision makers generally don’t accept police checks that are older than three months. Some organisations may accept checks up to six months old however this will depend on their internal risk mitigation policies.

    Organisations usually state the required frequency of the Police Check renewal in their internal organisation policies.


    1. The role or position you are holding

    The biggest factor of how frequent your Police Check renewal is usually how "sensitive" the role you hold. Suppose your job involves proximity to vulnerable and other members of the society. In that case, your renewal will be more frequent than a person who works the machines in a factory.

    Also, the employer may be independent in determining how frequent the Police Check is as long as they abide by other principles in Australia.

    Some roles where you will require frequent Police Checks include;

    • Accountant, Auditor, Stockbroker,
    • Healthcare roles,
    • Caregiver, Aged care personnel,
    • Data management and handling personnel, especially in the government or finance institutions
    • School Bus Driver, Educator, Teachers,
    • Nannies,
    • Public servants.

    1. Your criminal records changed over the period

    In some cases, it can be an offence for the candidate to hide their criminal records from their employer, mainly where it directly affects the role they perform.

    For example, an employee in a bank should always renew their Criminal History Check if they get a conviction;

    So also, a volunteer or paid employee who works with children must update their Police Check records with their employer if they have received a conviction relating to abuses or sexual misdemeanours.

    Many other factors can affect how frequent you need to update your Police Check, but they merely depend on these listed here.

    Why should I renew a Police Check?

    Many people believe the Police Check should be done once and for all if the candidate passes the initial evaluation. However, the argument is flawed because the Police Check is a product of the candidate’s criminal records at the point in time that it is released.

    Renewing your Police Check will also help you in lots of ways, including;


    • Proper assessment from decision-makers

    Since the criminal records usually change depending on the candidate's interaction with Australian legislation, only a Police Check renewal can reflect such updates. Without a Check renewal, the decision-makers cannot access your current criminal/conviction records and may give a biased assessment. So, in many ways, the Police Check renewal is also beneficial to the candidate.


    • Your Spent convictions no longer appear

    If you have offences that are cleared off your criminal records due to the Spent convictions scheme, they will be taken off your renewed certificate. Having a result of your certificate is very useful, as;

    You no longer have to disclose or talk about such offences even to potential employers,

    The employer cannot assess you as a result of a spent conviction.


    • Police Check renewals are mandatory for specific roles

    The Australian legislation mandates employees who work in certain areas (e.g. aged care roles) to provide consistent updates to their Police Checks. For example, if your role involves caring for vulnerable or other sensitive positions in Australia, it can be detrimental to your job to refuse a Criminal History Check renewal.


    • Police Check Results can get obsolete

    Even if the Police Check is not for a general application, your Police Check certificate records can still be obsolete for "Private" use. Using an "old” or “outdated" result may give you an untrue and incomplete assessment of your Criminal records.

    Is it lawful for the employer to demand a Police Check renewal?

    The Australian government rarely interferes with how organisations handle or interpret the Police Check so long as it does not contradict the law.

    The employer should ideally include the details of their Police Check renewals in their internal policies and explain it to the candidate before finally employing them.

    What if I refuse a Police Check renewal?

    Organisations usually have their independent ways of dealing with such issues. However, dialogue and understanding between both parties should precede any rash decisions.

    If the candidate is fully aware of the policies and stubbornly refuses to provide the Police Check, the organisation can handle the matter per their internal policies and employment contracts.

    Does a Police Check renewal change all my details?

    No, a Police Check renewal will only update older records from your criminal records in Australia. It does not mean a total change to your criminal records. The only time your entire records can change because of renewal is if all your details become spent or cleared for other legal programs.

    Can the Police Check expire?

    This is a tricky question, especially if you consider that the Police Check certificate carries no official expiration date. A Police Check certificate only has the date of issuance and the date of application, but never the date when the result expires.

    Technically, the Police Check result should continue running until all parties agree that records have become obsolete. When the parties determine the result is outdated for practicality, people regard it as "expired".

    For most organisations and corporate bodies, the threshold is three (3) months. Most employers will not accept a Police Check that is older than three months. So for these organisations, we can say they consider Police Check results above three months as expired.

    Other organisations may accept a criminal history check that is up to 6 months old, however this entirely depends on the organisation and their internal risk mitigation policies.

    Can an employer refuse a Police Check certificate?

    Regardless of how vital the Police Check is to the Australian corporate world, the organisation can refuse a Police Check, especially if it does not meet their standard. The organisation is free to use its internal policies to "sieve" through the Criminal Record Check results.

    The employer should ideally state what details and criteria they consider the background check assessment. Also, the internal policies should cover their handling of the Police Check evaluation like;

    Do I have to pay for the Police Check renewal?

    Yes, every criminal record check attracts a base fee that validates the application. If you do not complete the payment, you cannot get a certificate.

    If you cannot afford renewals, approach the decision-makers and reach an agreement with them. Most times, the organisation may have programs to cover part or total costs of the candidate's renewals.

    However, if these incentives are not available, you must pay the total costs for the certificate regardless of how many times you are required to renew a Police Check.

    Can a third party renew a Police Check on my behalf?

    Employers or other organisation groups sometimes take up the responsibility of the background check on their candidate. They will streamline the entire process through a central account.

    Most employers may find trouble centralising the process except through an online method like the ANCC. With the Business Service on ANCC, employers can easily verify their accounts to “Initiate a Police Check” on behalf of their candidate. The application is completed with the candidates informed consent.

    Do I need to provide different Identity Documents for the Police Check renewal?

    You do not need a different ID document to renew your Police Check; the requirement is the same. You may only present an additional Identity document if the previous ones have expired or become obsolete.

    For the Police Check renewal, you still need the same IDs you used for the original application.

    Where can I get a Police Check renewal?

    The Police Check renewal has the same process as the regular application. The accredited government outlets for the Police Check application include;


    • Online application

    The online application via approved service providers like ANCC takes less than 15 minutes regardless of where you apply from. You can complete the application forms and other requirements using a PC, Tablet or mobile device.

    Data is processed over a secure and encrypted network.

    This method of application tends to be the most popular and the fastest. Applicants usually get their NCCHC certificate within 24 to 48 hours unless it is referred for manual processing.


    • A State or Territory Police Force

    You can apply for the Police Check renewal through any local Police office regardless of the Territory or jurisdiction. The candidate must visit the police office with the complete requirements and information for the Police Check.

    This application is a physical means of application with paper-based applications. It may be difficult to apply through a local Police office if you are on a demanding schedule. Check renewals through this method take as long as ten business days before the candidate gets their certificate.


    • Applying through the Local Post office

    Applicants can also submit their forms through the Post office to the National Checking Service. However, the applicant must ensure that all the fields are filled correctly, and the ID verification matches the details you submit.

    What records will I find in my updated Police Check certificate?

    Of course, the updated Police Check certificate may not differ from your older certificate if the;

    • Issuance times are not far apart, and
    • The candidate did not get a conviction within that period.

    The updated Police Check shows your changed record (if any) on the Australian Criminal Database, including;


    • Criminal convictions

    Any conviction an Australian court records against you automatically enters your criminal record. It can range from Summary offences like;

    • Public disturbance, common assault, traffic offences (convictions)
    • To more serious (indictable offences like;
    • Manslaughter offences, Fraud and stealing offences, aggravated assault, robbery offences, Financial misappropriation, and so on.

    • Pending Charges for a criminal offence

    All pending charges for a criminal offence will likely enter your criminal records, especially if it is a sensitive matter. The updated certificate will capture these new details, mainly those that will affect your role/duties.


    • Arrest warrants for a criminal offence

    If you have an arrest warrant for a criminal offence, it will appear on your criminal records when the warrant enters police records.


    • All other unspent convictions

    Unless your offences are Spent or committed for any other program, they are bound for the Police Check certificate. So any other updated conviction that is not Spent will be disclosed in your updated certificate.

    How can I obtain a national police 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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