LiveChat Loading...

Australian National Character Check livechat loading
Australian National Character Check livechat loading

Police check for employees

The information on this webpage is to be read in conjunction with this disclaimer:
Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.

These days, many employers and organisations seek suitable and effective ways to evaluate the candidates they employ for their vacant roles. One of the most popular ways employers do this is to request a valid police check certificate as part of the recruitment process.

The police check is one of the popular background checks in Australia; it reveals the individual's releasable court convictions and other Australian records. It is a nationwide scheme, and the government even encourages its use in the employment process, especially when it is for Employment in a sensitive role.

How can I get a police check for Employees?


If you are an individual, you can obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History 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 Nationally Coordinated Criminal History 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.

What is the police check in Australia?

The police check is a type of background assessment that displays the applicant's releasable conviction. The police check certificate contains the convictions in a person's criminal records that can be disclosable.

The Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCOs) reveal the following details on the police check certificate;

The National Police Checking Service (NPCS) conducts the police check by comparing the applicant's information with data/profiles on the Australian Criminal Database. Suppose the check algorithm marks your name/details as a Person Of Interest (POI). In that case, the NPCs will forward it to the relevant State or Territory Police authority and the various records of all the States you have ever resided or worked in Australia.

After the Police authority successfully vets the checking, the applicant will issue the police check certificate.

Is there a different police check for Employees?

The police check is the same regardless of where or how you obtained it (as long as it is licit). However, the Informed consent application form requests the applicant to specify the purpose of their check.

The police check can be for;

When the applicant selects "Employment" as the purpose of the check, the NPCS will process the application as it is relevant to the role or position.

The certificate (result) will prioritise offences against corporate bodies, organisations, or other related offences for an Employment police check. Such Checks may make it easier for any employer who wants to assess the suitability of their applicants for the role.

Although the police check is nationwide, the details can vary in "priorities" depending on the applicant's purpose and the State or Territory’s information release legislation.

Furthermore, a police check for another purpose cannot be interchanged; a police check for Employment is not acceptable in place of a police check for licensing.

What information does the Employment police check reveal?

When you apply for a police check for Employment, the certificate will disclose the releasable outcomes relevant to the roles. The offences/details an employer is likely to find in the police check certificate for Employment includes;

  • 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).

Who can apply for a police check employment?

Anybody above the age of 18 can apply for a police check for Employment in Australia. Also, all immigrants with a valid work visa can apply for the Employment police check certificate.

When applying for the police check, the candidate should select the "Employment" option in the Informed Consent application form.

Where the organisation has a bias for a central coordinated and monitored process, they can utilise ANCC’s Business Portal where they can send invitations to candidates to complete the police check and view results when they become available. Australian National Character Check offers this option for approved organisations.

Which employee/role requires a police check certificate?

Almost all employers request a nationally coordinated criminal history check from candidates, especially if you are applying for a sensitive or public position in Australia. Also, the candidate will need to present updated certificates while on the role per the organisation’s internal policies.

If you want to work in any of these roles in Australia, you must generally obtain a nationally coordinated criminal history check certificate;

How often should an employee update a police check certificate?

There are many answers to this depending on the organisation or their internal risk mitigation strategies. Whichever policies the organisation adopts, it must include it in a written agreement and explain it to the employee.

The frequency of updating the police check is usually at the Employer's discretion but should not contradict Australian legislation if the industry is regulated.

However, the Legislation keeps a keener watch for organisations that operate in sensitive sectors. For example, an employee in an aged care role must be more frequent in updating their criminal history check than other less-sensitive roles. Other sensitive roles include;

  • Vulnerable sector,
  • Roles that involve handling sensitive data,
  • Public worker,
  • Health and Private worker,
  • Commercial Drivers.

As good practice, a number of organsations carry out annual criminal history checks for existing employees.

Also, if the employee commits an offence while employed, they are considered a potential risk to the organisation they work for. The supervising agencies also advise employees to inform their employers if they get a new conviction.

Where can you obtain a police check for Employment?

The police check has become more accessible and quicker, primarily through their convenient online application methods.

  • Applying through Australian National Character Check (ANCC)

Applying through online services like Australian National Character Check (ANCC) only requires a PC, Tablet or mobile device connected to the internet.

Applicants who use this method will receive their police check results within 24 to 48 hours of application unless their application gets referred for manual processing.

  • Applying through a State or Territory Police Force

Candidates can apply for a police check through the Local Police force. It may require the applicant to fill a paper-based form and include physical copies of their ID documents for certification. Applicants should allow at least 10 business days to receive a result.

What is the age limit of police checks an Employer can accept?

The police check is a point-in-time check; it does not expire in the technical sense. Left alone, a candidate can use/keep the police check certificate until they are no longer interested. However, most companies and agencies generally agree that a police check will become obsolete after three (3) months.

Therefore, most employers will not accept your police check if it is older than three months. They believe a candidate can have re-offended within that period.

Why do Employers/organisations conduct a police check?

The Check is a standard assessment for how veritable a candidate is for the role they seek. The peculiarities of specific roles make it mandatory for candidates with certain records to be precluded.

However, when assessing candidates based on the police check, employers must engage in best practices, including those stipulated in the Privacy Act for handling criminal records. The Employer must handle personal records most strictly and securely.

How should an employer handle a police check?

Although Employers can interpret a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check based on their discretion, they must follow specific guidelines.

The Australian government has also set up Commissions that oversee biases and discrimination.

While handling or interpreting/assessing the police check results, the organisation must;

  • Keep the records safe and secure per the Privacy Acts of Australia and other relevant Legislation on disclosure of records.
  • The organisation is recommended to have a written internal assessment policy, and they should ideally explain or highlight the process to the candidates before application or recruitment.
  • The Employer should only assess the candidate based on the relevance of the conviction to the role they are applying for. For example, it may be considered discrimination if a driving position applicant is assessed on animal poaching offences.
  • The Employer should not assess the candidate based on hidden or unclear policies. The requirements and indicators for criminal record assessment should be made available before recruitment.
  • The Employer should not assess the Criminal records of applicants by different metrics. If the Employer grants leniency in one part, it should be uniform unless it constitutes discrimination grounds.

Employers request for a police check because;

  • ✔ It provides a better assessment of the employee

It can be grave to assess a candidate based on their academic abilities or certificate alone. Most times, you should examine if such applicants are "morally" or legally suited for the role you are recruiting.

For example, it can be traumatic for the victim and dangerous for your business to employ a criminal history in assault to a vulnerable sector or role.

  • ✔ It is a risk mitigation strategy.

The Legislation advises and mandates specific sectors or enterprises to have a risk mitigation strategy. These strategies help to limit or mitigate the effects of a potential fall or negative occurrence.

The police check certificate can prevent the risk of employing an "unsuitable" candidate for a sensitive role. For example, hiring for a financial position is "risk-mitigating" not to hire a person with a criminal history of fraud.

  • ✔ Confirms the identity of the applicant

The police check certificate reveals useful personal details about the applicant. Employers can use the police check certificate to compare the information that the applicant claims.

It also ensures that the Employer does not hire an impostor or hide any relevant detail from them.

  • ✔ It may improve the organisation’s brand image

It is terrible for business and posterity if your organisation suffers a "brand watering/bashing". In a world of fast information and the internet, your business can suffer damages if suspected of a bad association. That is why most employers are quick to do away with an employee charged with improper workplace behaviour or other repulsive conduct.

  • ✔ Safer working environment

The Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check requirement in an organisation's policies will be a worthy check of an employee's conduct. Since employees know that they must provide regularly updated certificates, they may try as much as possible to abstain from getting unnecessary/avoidable convictions.

Can an employer dismiss an employee based on a police check?

It can be a tricky situation for the Employer to dismiss a candidate based on their criminal record.

Employers may be able to dismiss a candidate if the reason for requesting a nationally coordinated criminal history check is lawful, reasonable and the candidate’s criminal record is inherently relevant to the performance of the role.

Suppose an employee refuses to produce a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check in an organisation where it is part of the policy. In that case, the Employer can take necessary decisions according to their internal policies and contracts.

Still, Employers must be cautious when "punishing" candidates based on criminal record matters due to the anti-discriminatory laws. It is more helpful to take such decisions with legal advice.

Copyright & Disclaimer

The content on this website is communicated to you on behalf of Australian National Character Check™ (ANCC®) pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act).

The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction of this material may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act.

You may include a link on your website pointing to this content for commercial, educational, governmental or personal use.

The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice.

Why use ANCC?


Fast online application form

The online application form can be completed in a few minutes online. 70% of results are dispatched in 24 hours. Approximately 30% can take longer than 15 days due to a 'potential match'.


Australian based support team

All of our staff are based in Canberra, ACT. All data is stored securely in Australia. Each application is checked in accordance with Federal Government guidelines. Support staff are available from Monday to Friday 9AM to 5PM.


Top rated national police check provider

ANCC is amongst the highest rated employment background check providers. Refer to ANCC's Google Reviews and Product Reviews.


Guaranteed to be valid Australia wide

A nationally coordinated criminal history check is valid in all States and Territories of Australia.

Need discount police checks? We beat prices!

About ANCC

ANCC® enables individuals and approved legal entities to apply for a nationally coordinated criminal history check, which is commonly referred to as a national police check. The nationally coordinated criminal history check is valid all over Australia and can be used when applying for Employment, Probity, Licencing, or Commonwealth check purposes. Get discount police checks online. We beat prices!


based on 493 Google Reviews


based on 175 Product Reviews

Helped of customers and counting.

Not sure where to start?

Book in a free consultation with us to discuss your organisation's employment background check needs, or to get an overview of the ANCC Business Portal.