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  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Pre-Employment Screening Topics National Police Checks When does a Police Check Expire in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

    When does a Police Check Expire in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

    Applying for a paid job, volunteer work or specific licenses will have you running to obtain a criminal history check in Australia. It has become the default means for employers to assess their candidate's suitability for the role.

    The Police Check is conducted nationwide and has lots of benefits both within and outside the ACT. Naturally, every applicant will want to know how long the Police Check lasts, or until when before the information becomes obsolete.

    When does a Police Check in the ACT expire?

    A Police Check in the ACT is a point-in-time check and has no set expiry date. It remains valid from the point of issue. The Police Check is only up to date from the candidate's criminal records to when they receive the result. Most decision makers and employers in the ACT do not accept a police check that is older than three (3) months.

    A Police Check can become obsolete depending on how long it was issued. For example, a police check issued one year ago will have a blank on the candidate's record for that year.

    How old is “too old” for a Police Check?

    Most employers/organisations in the ACT will not accept Police Checks older than three months. Depending on their internal policies, these organisations consider a Police Check older than three months as losing vital information (recent criminal records).

    However, these companies usually specify the age limits of the criminal history check they accept.

    What happens if my Police Check is “too old”?

    If you want your updated criminal records, renew your Police Check. This process is similar to obtaining a new Check.

    What are the benefits of renewing your criminal history check?

    Updating your criminal history check has benefits both for the requesting party and the applicant. The most significant advantage is that the criminal records on the checks are updated even to include recent convictions, and erase all Spent convictions.

    • Better assessment

    When evaluating a candidate's criminal records, the recent convictions hold more weight than older convictions. An updated Criminal Record Check will help the Employer determine if the candidate may relapse in the offence or maintain their good behaviour period.

    • Records not to assess

    Updating a Check means that all convictions "Spent" on the Criminal records will be updated. Spent convictions are erased from the updated Police Checks and will no longer appear.

    Also, the candidate has the right to no disclosure; they are under no obligation to reveal the record unless by special legal orders.

    Specific laws also forbid the Employer from evaluating a candidate based on their Spent records unless relevant to the matter.

    • Aid your applications

    Updating your Check informs the applicant of their current records. Some convictions will preclude them from specific applications, which can help them better prepare for other applications.

    Can my Police Check expire even when I don’t have a new conviction?

    It is impossible to prove to an employer or any other party that you have not gotten a new conviction. In the end, you are better off applying for an updated criminal history check certificate before applying for the role.

    However, if you apply for the Police Check for a personal reason, you may put off renewing the Check if you have not received a conviction in that period.

    Where can I get my Police Check in Australia?

    Obtaining a Police Check in Australia has become easier over the years. The licensing of third party agencies to help with the distribution has improved efficiency and speed.

    Applying online; Australian National Character Check (ANCC)

    One common and easy way to obtain a Police Check is to apply through approved service providers. Some applicants may receive their police background check results within hours when they go through this method.

    Applying this method, it can be completed online. You can use a PC, Tablet, or mobile device to Start and Submit your application.

    Applicants will receive an e-copy (PDF) of their Check result mostly within 24 to 48 hours of applying. The remaining that get referred for manual processing will take longer.

    Applying through the AFP

    The AFP is directly involved in vetting and endorsing the Police Check result conducted by the National Police Checking Service.

    Applying via the local Police office will require paper forms and may require ID documents to get certified.

    Candidates typically receive their certificate between 10 and 15 days.

    The Local Post office

    Applications can also be submitted through the local post office. While the post office does not conduct any check, it forwards all applications to the National Check service.

    Applicants may typically wait between 10 and 15 days to get their Check results mailed to them.

    Do the means of my Police Check affect the certificate?

    No, all Police Checks contain the same information since they all come from the same source. All information or Checking is from a central government database.

    What information does the ACT Police Check reveal?

    The Police Check can only reveal your Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCOs). Any other details on your criminal record not considered releasable are part of the No Disclosable Court Outcome (NDCO).

    The DCO contains a lot of relevant information depending on the purpose of the Check.

    A criminal history check for paid employment as a driver will include all your convictions relating to driving offences.

    The details of a DCO includes;

    • All Criminal Charges, including suspended sentences,
    • All traffic-related criminal offences,
    • All finding of guilt where the Magistrate issues no conviction,
    • Pending court charges,
    • All convictions except those that are Spent

    What is an NDCO?

    If there are no releasable convictions on your Criminal records, your Police Check certificate will return as an NDCO.

    It is also possible to have a sentence not deemed releasable by the jurisdiction laws, mainly due to a Spent conviction.

    If you have an NDCO, then you have a "clean" Police Check certificate.

    What does not show on a Police Check?

    Generally, The Police Check does not reveal sentences that Courts issued outside of Australia. The following details will never appear on the Police Check;

    • Where the Court finds you not guilty of an offence,
    • Overseas convictions where the Australian legal system was not involved,
    • Diversionary Programs,
    • Spent convictions.

    What is the Spent Convictions Scheme in the ACT?

    Offences that are “Spent” in the ACT will no longer show up in the criminal record check. It is a form of legal pardon given to offenders, especially for minor offences.

    However, not all offences may be eligible for the Spent Convictions Scheme; specific regulations apply. And these regulations may vary among the various States.

    The Spent convictions scheme in ACT includes where;

    • The offender is pardoned
    • The conviction is quashed and discharged
    • The Court gives a sentence without a conviction
    • Where a Good behaviour Bond is imposed instead of a conviction/imprisonment.
    • Where the “criminal free” period elapses without the person committing another offence.

    The Crime free period is a stipulated duration where the offender must be of good behaviour. The period runs consecutively and lasts;

    • Five years for convictions in a juvenile court or if convicted as a juvenile,
    • Ten years for convictions in an adult court or if convicted as an adult.


    • The conviction must not have attracted more than six months of imprisonment.
    • The waiting period commences after your jail term.

    Does a Spent Conviction program expire?

    No, the effects of a Spent conviction is for life. These spent offences will be pulled off from your criminal record checks.

    However, it is still possible for a Spent conviction to affect you;

    • Spent offences can be presented in Court as evidence for another proceeding,
    • Specific roles will require the person to disclose their spent convictions.

    How to process a Police Hisotry Check renewal

    A popular way to obtain a police history check is to apply online through ANCC;

    Applicants usually complete the application within fifteen minutes through these steps;

    1. Select the “Start a new Check” option on the ANCC portal home.
    2. Click and fill the form requesting your personal information.
    3. Select the purpose of the Police Check; Employment check, Probity criminal record check, Licensing check, and so on.
    4. Payment for the service can be made through any of the online payment options. The popular ones are credit/debit cards, PayPal, and so on.
    5. Verify all the data you have provided just before you click the “Submit” option.
    6. Provide copies of the verification ID requested. A clear photo image may also serve the purpose.
    7. Stay in touch with the process through the "Track a Check" option.

    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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