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  • What is a police clearance check?

    Australia is usually not short of qualified, credible and certified applicants whenever you make a public call or recruitment in Australia. An establishment/agency will generally not be short of applicants whenever there is an opening; generally, the problem is selecting suitable candidates.

    Most of the time, there is no distinct or clear means to determine how suitable a person is for the role unless you conduct a background check. The essence of the background check is to highlight particular qualities or records that may be compromising the candidate's application; it is also a legal means of selection in Australia. And there is no better and popular background check like the Police Clearance Check.

    What will I find in a Police Clearance Check result?

    At the end of a Police Clearance Check, the NPCS issues a result to the candidate that details all the releasable records on their criminal history. Any conviction, violation or other offences where the court finds you guilty will appear on your Police Check certificate; it is called the Disclosable Court Outcomes.

    The Disclosable Court outcomes include all your unspent convictions or sentences besides suspended sentences, community orders and diversionary programs.

    The details of your Disclosable Court outcome include;

    • All findings of guilt

    As long as the court finds you guilty, it will appear on the Police Clearance Check unless the court immediately gives a suspended sentence. If the court suspends your sentences in conditions, the details will appear on your Police clearance check until such conditions are satisfied.

    • Court convictions

    All convictions given by a court (Magistrate/Judge) will enter your Police clearance Check result. The decision-makers often focus on the convictions more than any other details on your Police Clearance Check. A sentence does not show up on the Police Clearance Check only if they become spent.

    • Court issued Warrants due to a criminal activity

    If the court grants a warrant against you in Australia due to a criminal offence, it may be included in your Criminal records, especially if it is a grave matter.

    • Good Behaviour Bonds

    Your Good behaviour Bonds will continue to reflect on your Police Clearance Check for the entire duration of the bond.

    • Other unspent convictions

    Any other violation, order or verdict issued by the court that is not “Spent” will appear on the Police Clearance Check.

    What is a Police Clearance Check used for in Australia?

    Almost no sector in Australia doesn't need the Police Clearance Check; even private individuals will find the details useful in their decision-making. However, some significant areas fully employ the Police Clearance Check;


    1. Employment Checks

    Australia's recruitment and employment sector is a big beneficiary of the Police Clearance Checks; hundreds of thousands of Checks are processed each year for employment alone.

    An Employment Police Clearance Check is not a distinct check; it reveals more details about the candidate regarding the corporate world.

    For example, employers will be more interested if a candidate has a record for fraud offences than if they were “ran a red light” (unless it is for a driving role). The employment Police Clearance Check cuts through almost all jobs or positions in Australia.


    1. Volunteer Checks

    The challenging part about volunteering is the more profound background check the organisation may conduct on you. There is no slack when evaluating a candidate's role as a volunteer, especially in sensitive positions.

    Most volunteer organisations may even request the Police Clearance Check and other "particular" background check certificates.

    A volunteer Check will reveal deeper details about the candidate regarding the volunteer role. For example, a person who wants to volunteer in an orphanage or Childcare centre will have all their criminal records regarding vulnerable persons exposed (if they have any).

    It is nearly impossible to become a volunteer without the Police Clearance Check; even the government mandates it for some roles.


    1. Probity Checks

    These are other forms of Background Checks for candidates who apply for specific roles in various scopes. For example, part of the requirement for child adoption will require the candidates to undergo a police check for personal probity.

    Generally, the probity check determines how suitable or "eligible" the candidate is for the task. Matters relating to probity checks do not usually need a precedent of academic or any other form of qualifications. The Checks (Probity) are usually the most significant deciding factors on whether the applicants are successful or not.

    Examples of cases for a probity check include;

    • Business to business transactions,
    • Board membership,
    • Cases of Mergers and acquisitions,
    • Obtaining Rights for specific operations or commodity
    • Partnerships,
    • Financial dealings,
    • Corporate activities,
    • Taking up a Public role.

    1. Licensing Checks

    One of the processes to obtain a license in Australia is to submit a valid Police Clearance Check result to the licensing agency. The Police Clearance Check for Licensing is a way to prove your eligibility and identity for the license you are applying for.

    The Licensing Police Clearance Check result will come out tuned to the license the candidate is applying for. Depending on the type of license being obtained, a Police Clearance Check for a license application may contain details that show if the candidate has ever been convicted of;

    • Assault offences,
    • Robbery,
    • Affray offences,
    • Domestic Violence,
    • Disobeying court orders,
    • other public misdemeanours,

    Some examples of licenses in Australia include,


    1. Accreditation by Professional Bodies

    Professions that have their higher or exclusive bodies do not usually admit people into their organisation that easily. In most cases, the candidate/professional must provide their Police Clearance Check to prove to the employer that they will not be a liability.

    For example, a professional body for teachers may refuse admittance to a fellow educator if they have a conviction regarding violence against persons.

    Who can apply for the Police Clearance Check in Australia?

    The PCC is open to all above the age of 18. However, those below 18 should be with their guardian when applying for the Police Clearance Check in Australia.

    What do you need to apply for a Police Clearance Check?

    The Police Check process can be tedious if you are applying physically through any of the traditional means. The online method of applying for the Police clearance Check is the easiest; candidates only have to apply through a secured portal.

    However, before applying, the candidates should;

    1. Know the accurate answers to the questions on the informed consent form. It can be detrimental to your application to fill in the wrong detail on the Police Check application form as your application will likely get delayed until the correct information is provided.
    2. Prepare the Identity document they will be submitting. The National Police Checking Service lists the variants of the required ID the candidate must provide. Also, the ID you provide must prove any of the records you submit in your informed consent form.
    3. The type of Police Check you need

    There are various "Purposes" of the Police Check application, depending on your needs. The Police Clearance Check is based on the "purpose" you select. However, if you select the wrong purpose for your Police Check, you cannot undo this once the result comes out.

    Also, you cannot switch between Police Clearance Checks for different purposes. Sometimes the "purpose" of the Police Check determines the medium you apply through For example, only the Australian Federal Police (AFP) can issue a Police Check for Immigration and Visa.

    How long does a Police Clearance Check last?

    The Police Clearance check is not a once-for-all check; it needs to be updated as a person's criminal record continues to change. A Police Clearance Check result usually depends on the agreement between both parties (especially the requesting party).

    Typically, the employers accept Police checks that are not older than three months. They believe this is a reasonable enough period of grace until a Police Check renewal. It is at the end of this period most people consider the Police Clearance Check to have expired.

    So, generally, you may not be able to use the Police Clearance Check after three months of issuance.

    What roles do I need in a Police Clearance Check in Australia?

    Although the Police Clearance Check cuts across various roles in Australia, it is more vital in some sectors compared to others. Anyone applying for the following positions must submit a Police Clearance Check.

    • Roles in Healthcare and related professionals
    • Work in the Aged care
    • Childcare workers
    • Tutors and Educators
    • Vehicle dealers
    • Civil servants
    • Chef, Cooks, Nannies
    • Fireman services
    • Domestic Staff and Workers
    • Correctional and Prison Staffs
    • Miners and work in a quarry
    • Government Personnel
    • Financial Service workers
    • Legal Workers and other practitioners
    • Liquor sellers
    • Pawnbrokers
    • Real Estate agents
    • Construction workers and contractors
    • Public vehicle drivers
    • Air hosts/hostesses
    • Hoteliers and hotel managers
    • And any other profession that grants the personnel direct or indirect access to sensitive positions or positions of trust.

    What won't you find in a Police Clearance Check?

    Most people know what to expect from their Police Clearance Check result, especially if they have always been privy to their records. However, most are unaware that not all offences show up in their Police Clearance Check.

    Some offences are considered "irrelevant" to the certificate or just outside the Australian jurisdiction. For example, overseas convictions are never part of your Check in Australia.

    If you have an overseas conviction, they may enter other records outside the Australian criminal database and the Police Clearance Check.

    An organisation that considers that the overseas records will be essential to the assessment must employ other means in getting such records.

    Other records that will never come up in a Police Clearance Check are;

    What is the Spent Convictions Scheme

    After a period of good behaviour, eligible offences will be taken off a candidate’s criminal records. These offences will never appear on the candidate’s record in Australia, and they don’t have to disclose unless by special court or legal orders.

    Offences will become Spent after the offender has satisfied the Good Behaviour Period and any other condition the court stipulates.

    Good Behaviour Period in Australia

    Eligible offences can only become "Spent" after the Good Behaviour Period elapses without the person re-offending. The Good Behaviour Period is the same thing as a Crime free period in another jurisdiction.

    The Crime free period is;

    Benefits of the Spent convictions scheme

    Most people see the Spent conviction program to correct their convictions history, and they hopefully await it. For example, under the Spent convictions Scheme,

    The candidate is not obliged to divulge or disclose such records before an employer or any other interviewer. Only a Judge or special legislation can make them disclose their spent convictions records.

    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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