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What does not show up on a police check?

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.

If you are preparing for your Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check, you may be a little nervous about the results that show up on the police check. Well, you don't have to be; one thing to know is that not all your violations or records in Australia show up in your police check results.

The Disclosable Court Outcomes are the only releasable part of the candidate's criminal records in Australia.

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

Below we outline items that do not show up on a police check.

What are ‘No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO)’ on a police check?

If your police check result returns as an NDCO, it means there are;

  • There are no records in the candidate's criminal records, or
  • Certain records that cannot be disclosed.

If your police check returns as with an NDCO result, most people refer to it as “Passing” your police check.

All the sentences/court outcomes that do not appear on your police check are the ‘Non Disclosable Court Outcomes’. Besides the NDCO, other violations are never part of the conviction records released by the jurisdiction.

To know the type of offences that will not appear on your police check result, it is essential to understand what the police check is in Australia.

Police check in Australia

The police check is a nationally coordinated criminal history check that “searches” of all criminal activities or violations of the candidate in Australia. The police check result will contain a list of their court given;

  • Convictions,
  • Sentences,
  • Imprisonment terms,
  • Arrest warrants for a criminal offence, and
  • Other releasable details relevant to the check

Most employers, decision makers and organisations require the police check result in most applications to assess the candidate for the role/applications they seek. They can often turn away an applicant because of indicting records on their police check result, especially if relevant to the matter.

Since the police check is a national Check, it includes all the criminal files and databases of the individual from every jurisdiction in Australia. However, the individual jurisdictions can uphold their rules regarding the offences they release about the individual in their police check result.

What details do not appear on the police check?

The details that do not show up on the police check result are intentionally out of it because they are beyond the legal structure of the background check. Some of these details include even court sentencing that doesn't have the right of disclosure, including;

  1. Overseas convictions

All convictions given by a foreign court or in another country do not count as part of your Australian Criminal records. The criminal history does not include the details of the candidate abroad offences or sentencing unless an Australian court was involved in the sentencing.

Organisations who would like to assess a candidate’s overseas convictions must explore other means, for example an interNationally Coordinated Criminal History Check. The police check result will only reveal the convictions that you got in an Australian court or under Australian laws.

  1. Diversionary programs

Most diversion programs usually end up in other records other than the criminal records of the candidate. And this is why some offenders hustle all through the court proceedings to convince the court into granting them such mitigating programs or sentencing.

Depending on the kind of program you get, diversion programs mostly do not appear on a candidate’s police check result. For example, if the court sentences you to community service with fines, it usually does not remain on a Criminal record once the applicant completes the program.

Other diversions program includes;

  • Compulsory Drug/Alcohol rehab program,
  • Community service sentencing under a community officer,
  • Conditional Release Orders where the court lists certain conditions that can guarantee you an exchange for normal sentencing,
  • Sentence suspension depending on the type of offence.

  1. Good Behaviour Bonds (after the expiration of the Bond period)

Sometimes people classify the Good Behaviour Bonds as a diversion program, and while they are not entirely wrong, there is still a bit of difference. Most Good Behaviour Bonds last longer than diversion programs (usually 2 – 5 years). And for the bond duration, the violation or offence will appear on your police check certificate.

The court usually orders good behaviour Bonds, where it considers a conviction or other punishments too harsh for the offence.

  1. Matters prosecuted by authorities outside of Statutory Law Enforcement Agencies

The Australian Police, a State Prosecutor or other Statutory Law Enforcement Agencies are the default prosecutors for all State or Territory related matters.

However, it is not an offence if a candidate is prosecuted for violations outside Australian laws or the jurisdiction of the Police. Matters outside the jurisdiction of the Police usually agree of less importance to Australian criminal laws but may be capable of civil unrest and aggravation.

Some examples include family matters over property sharing or testaments/deeds, Divorce, Disagreements in business and other civil matters settled in court. The court outcomes or statements on non-criminal matters or those that are not handled by Statutory law enforcement agencies do not enter the police check result of the candidate.

  1. Penalties imposed by other institutions or professional bodies

The internal laws of a professional body or organisation do not "hold water" in the criminal history unless the candidate gets a court conviction. Punishments, fines, suspensions, and other punishments or even finding of guilt, not from an Australian court, does not matter to Australian criminal law and hence the police check result.

These penalties from third parties do not appear on your police check unless there is a court conviction or sentencing for a criminal offence. Although every organisation has independent jurisdiction over their establishments, such policies must not contradict the Australian legislation.

  1. Police Cautions and Warnings

One of the minor “getaways” the Police authority offers offenders is to issue them with a Police warning/caution. The Police warning is usually done on the spot with verbal agreements that the offender abides by certain conditions and be of good behaviour in the future.

A Police caution is a little more formal than Warnings; they are usually issued in the Police station or office. The candidate must agree to certain conditions and accept their offence for a Police caution/warning to be valid. The main requirement for Police warnings/cautions is that the offender does not repeat the act.

Police Warnings and cautions are issued for minor offences where the officer considers it within the scope but trivial for a court ruling.

Police cautions and warnings will not show up on a nationally coordinated criminal history check if there was no court ruling or conviction involved. However, there are limits to the amount of caution or warnings a candidate can get in Australia.

Breaching the condition of a caution or warning may lead to a court summon or full proceeding on the original offence.

  1. Dismissed or Dropped Charges

If the court finds a stalemate or stagnation regarding a case, it may rule for a dropped case favouring the defendant. It includes cases where the court cannot find reasonable evidence against the candidate, or the prosecuting team continues in a manner not deemed suitable to the Court.

A dropped charge means no ruling or sentencing on the matter; hence, the candidate will have none of such records (dropped or dismissed charges) on their police check result.

Also, if the court considers the case incomplete regarding the evidence, the files, the charge or the proceedings, it may discharge the defendant.

  1. No finding of guilt

If the court does not find you guilty of an offence, it does not enter your criminal record or appear on the police check result.

Also, all dropped or dismissed charges do not appear on your police check result and do not affect your criminal history or records in Australia.

  1. Civil matters that do not lead to a criminal offence

Regardless of the scope of the civil matter, only court issued criminal convictions show up in a police check result. Civil matters that do not constitute a criminal offence will now show up on a police check result. Examples of civil matters may include private or contractual disputes, amongst others.

  1. Intervention/Restriction Orders

The court has the responsibility to grant restriction orders to prevent danger to a person or group. The complainant may apply to the court to grant an order against an aggressive or threatening party coming near them or their property. While a court rules the other party as aggressive or threatening to the complainant, it is not a conviction for an offence.

Intervention orders do not appear on the police check unless the defendant breaches any of the conditions of the order.

If the defendant breaches a court order, the court may, through a normal hearing, decide on whether to prosecute the defendant formally or adjust the conditions of the order.

  1. Fines from regulatory bodies (without a court conviction)

Some offences or violations in Australia usually end up in the offender paying stipulated amounts as a fine. Although the fines are a form of punishment and deterrent to the offence, it does not show up on your police check unless the court issues them as part of a conviction.

Various regulatory and special government agencies issue a fine as punishment instead of charging the offender. The Police can issue a fine for a wide range of offences as stipulated by the Police Acts and the State and Territory jurisdictions.

How can I obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?


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 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 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.

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

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