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What’s in 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 hiring for a role or open position, you may be concerned about some candidates' records or applicants, depending on the role they are performing. Some of the candidates' records that most employers are interested in are shown in the police check Australia.

The police check in Australia is a nationally coordinated background Check that contains all the criminal records of an applicant in Australia. Only the releasable records of the applicants can appear on the police check (not all convictions or violations).

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.

What records show up in a police check?

The candidate's Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCOs) is what comes up on the police check certificate in Australia. However, the details in the DCO depend on the candidate's interactions with the Australian laws and the court.

A police check in Australia can return with two types of results:

  • Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCOs)


The most prominent components of the DCO on a Candidate's police check are the court convictions and any other details the legislation permits for disclosure. These records include;

  • Court Convictions

If any Australian court has convicted you in the past for an offence, it will appear on your police check results in Australia. There are various offences the court can sentence you for in Australia if you are guilty.

  • Finding of Guilt

The court can find a person guilty of an offence in Australia without recording a conviction against them. Whether the court sentences or not, it will appear on your police check result unless it is committed for any applicable diversionary program.

Usually, the court will find the candidate and opt against sentencing if it considers a conviction harsh for the offence.

  • Arrest warrants for a criminal offence

Arrest warrants for a criminal offence may show up on your police check until the candidate settles the matter with the Police or the courts.

  • Pending Charges

Your Pending charges for a criminal offence can appear in the police check, especially if it is related to the purpose of the check. As long as the court has not dismissed or closed the case, it will be part of your Criminal Check in Australia.

  • Good Behaviour Bonds in Australia

If the Court commits your offence for a good behaviour bond or other special programs under the Australian laws, it will appear in your police check for the bond duration. However, all your Good Behaviour Bonds, including the records, are wiped out from your criminal history after settling the conditions and the bond periods expire.

Some other examples of the conviction history on a police check in Australia includes;

Are overseas convictions shown in a police check?

The Australian police check only contains the details in a candidate’s criminal records within the country. All other records outside the nation do not appear in your police check unless they were partly handled in an Australian court.

Any organisation that must reference the overseas records of an applicant must explore other means to get these results.

Overseas records fall outside the scope of a candidate’s criminal records or the police check in Australia.

What other details are not on my police check?

It is wrong to think that all your violations or minor misdemeanours in Australia appear on your police check in Australia. While some offences may enter other records, they are not included in the Australian Criminal Records or the police check. These records may be classified as the ‘No Disclosable Court Outcome’ of the candidate (NDCO).

Also, if your criminal record does not contain any conviction at all, it will return as an ‘No Disclosable Court Outcomes’ NDCO.

Certain details can never show up in a police check, and these include;

  • Court convictions outside Australia

It includes overseas convictions, offences committed outside the Commonwealth, imprisonment terms served outside the Australia jurisdiction (unless if the Australian legal system was involved).

  • Matters not settled by an Australian court

If a religious, political or social group enact individual laws to sanction an individual within their internal policies, it is not the same as Australian convictions.

Your police check is a complete reflection of the details of your criminal records under Australian laws.

  • Matters concluded by outside court settlements.

If both conflicting parties reach an agreement outside the court and before the court verdict, it no longer enters the offender’s criminal records. Also, the offender cannot have any other remainder or record of the offences as long as they keep to their agreement.

  • Minor infringements or fines settled without a court hearing

Minor violations that are settled by a fine or infringement notice and do not end up in court will not show up on a police check.

How fast does my police check update?

The police check can only be updated when the candidate updates or renews their police check through a standard application. However, a candidate’s criminal records are updated quickly once the court makes its final ruling and sentences them for the offence.

Why is the content of a police check important?

The result of a police check is both necessary and informative to the employer/requesting party and the candidate.

  • For the employer or decision maker

Most people will need to provide the result for the police check before they can complete their application for a paid role or to an agency. The decision makers can make out the following information from the candidate's record check including;

  • Verify their identity

The police check does not just reveal the candidate's history; it also confirms the candidate's identity. Personal information like names, contact details, and addresses is some of an employer's basic information from the police check.

In some ways, this simple piece of information can help to curb impersonation and fraud offences.

  • Confirm their suitability for the role

The conviction details of the police check can tell the employer whether the candidate is a suitable fit for their organisation or not. The decision makers will primarily consider the relevance of the conviction records to the role the candidates seek or the job they will be performing.

For example, a candidate who must work in a vulnerable-related role should not have a recent offence such as;

  • Sexual assaults,
  • Domestic violence,
  • Offences of deception.

  • Keep employees in Check

Most employers now adopt frequent police checks as an internal risk mitigation policy for their organisation. Under a sound policy, they can lawfully demand their employees to provide updated police check certificates at regular intervals.

For the Candidate

The applicants for the police check also benefit from the information in the certificate.

For example,

  • General knowledge about their own records

If the candidates know their updated records, it can help them choose and prepare for their future applications wisely.

Since they know that employers carefully select candidates based on their "suitability", their police check will give them a better guide on preparing their best applications.

  • It reveals their updated records

The candidate may also want to know their updated records with the Australian Police for its sake or any other purposes.

How long does a police check application take?

The police check applications generally take 24 to 48 hours when you apply online through accredited service providers. Checks that are referred for manual processing will get delayed and will take up to 15+ business days.

However, Physical applications usually take longer than when you apply online, usually about 10 to 15 days until the applicant gets their result.

About 30 % of the applications the NPCS receive are usually delayed due to manual processing. When applications are delayed, it may take extra 5 and 15 days before the applicant will receive their result.

Do the details in a police check expire?

After submitting a police check as part of the requirement for a job, your employer may still request updated certificates. Mostly these demands are at intervals as part of an internal organisation policy. You may confuse this to mean that the police check expires after a certain period, but technically it doesn’t.

The police check in Australia is a point in time check that continues to be useful for some time after the issuing body issues it. So, if you are wondering if the details of your police check will expire, it will not until the decision-makers consider the validity period obsolete for their purpose.

Why do Traffic offences show in a police check?

Some people think the traffic offences or records are stored by default in the Police/Traffic records of the State alone. Traffic records settled in court will appear on the candidate's criminal record if the court finds them guilty of the traffic offence.

However, if your traffic offence was settled on the spot through some infringement notice or other forms of tickets and fines, it will not appear on the police check.

Are Intervention (Court) Orders part of the police check result?

Although all court pronouncements or judgements are the main content of the police check result, it does not include an intervention order. The confusion for most people is that since a Magistrate and a sitting court issued the court order, it should be part of the criminal records.

The intervention order is just a set of conditions and warnings from the court where the offence is possible but has not happened. The intervention should be considered more as a precautionary move than sentencing.

However, breaching a court intervention order is what counts as an offence in Australia. If the defendant goes against the court order conditions, they will be sentenced by the court for a breach.

So, while an Intervention/Restriction Order will not appear on the police check, breaching them is a severe offence and a breach of the order will show up on a police check.

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 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.


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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.

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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!


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