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  • Why do I need a police check?

    Whether you live in Tasmania or Canberra (ACT), or any other place in Australia, you will be required to produce a Police Check when you apply for almost any position, role, or License in Australia.

    The NPCS processes thousands of Police Check applications across Australia daily, as it has become a vital Background Check in Australia. The Police Check reveals only permissible personal information about the applicant, yet they are valid for getting credible details.

    Here are some of the reasons why you need a Police Check in Australia

    • ✔ It is part of the employment requirement in Australia

    Almost all employers request that you submit a Police Check result as a part of our application process in Australia. The government even mandates that the employers (in specific sectors) include the Police Check assessment as part of their recruitment steps before employing candidates.

    It can be a violation for organisations or employers in a sensitive or regulated sector (e.g. in aged care) if they do not make such background checks from their employees or workers.

    • ✔ For Obtaining Australian licenses

    You cannot get specific licenses in Australia without the Police Check. Agencies that issue Real Estate, Liquor licenses or Commercial Drivers licenses in some cases request a Police Check certificate for the purpose of licensing before issuing the applicant with a license.

    If you are starting a business/enterprise in some sectors in Australia, you may have to present a Police Check certificate. To submit a Police Check for a licensing purpose, the candidate must conduct the Police Check and select "Licensing" as the purpose of their Police Check.

    • ✔ Real Estate Licenses

    Having a clean criminal record Police Check result will increase your chances of getting a Real Estate license. If the licensing agency finds criminal history relating to fraudulent, deceptive or other compromising acts, it can refuse you the License to work in Real Estate.

    • ✔ For Volunteering Purposes

    To become a volunteer in Australia, the candidate must select the "Volunteer" as the purpose of their Police Check in the Informed Consent Form. Although all Police Check certificates give the same information, a Police Check with a "designated" purpose will prioritise the relevant offences.

    For example, a person who wants to volunteer in the vulnerable sector will have the conviction of assaults, sexual assault, or other violations against a person disclosed on their Police Check certificate.

    The Police Check will only release these records if the State or Jurisdiction considers the record disclosable.

    • ✔ For Personal Probity

    You may be required to present a criminal history check for personal probity if you are entrusted to certain probity related roles, for example, a representative of a school board. The criminal history check will be used to determine if your character is fit for the role.

    • ✔ For Immigration and Visa

    Renewing your Visa or applying for a new one is incomplete if you do not have a Police Check in Australia. The Immigration agency assesses the candidate's Visa to ensure they do not have pending crimes or programs that require them to remain in Australia.

    The agency can also refuse you a Visa if you have a pending warrant issued by a court. Generally, it is difficult to obtain the Visa if you have;

    • Arrest warrants,
    • Pending Court summons,
    • Court orders preventing you from travelling outside Australia,
    • Good Behaviour Bonds.

    However, you can only obtain a Police Check for Immigration/Visa through the Australian Federal Police.

    • ✔ For keeping tabs on your updated records on the Criminal Database

    It is hard for a person to keep track of their criminal records by heart or by personal records. The truth is that not all violations show up in a candidate’s record unless it was issued in a court, and it was not committed for any other diversionary program.

    Knowing your criminal records via a criminal record check can help you plan your future applications and consider any diversionary program your offence qualifies for. For example, you can focus on your crime-free period if you discover you have a crime that is eligible under the Spent Conviction scheme.

    • Improves your integrity and business reputation

    The Police Check certificate is also proof of a candidate's clean record in recent times (if they have no recent conviction). Partners in a business or investment always need some evidence or certificate of trust from the person they do business with. The Police background Check can be a good document for this.

    Why Employers and Licensing Agency need the Police Check certificate

    Most employers or organisations will include a Police Check requirement before admitting or hiring a candidate. It is not usually out of compulsion for the government due to their internal risk and mitigation policies.

    Not only do individuals have a need or benefit from the Police Background Check, Employers, agencies, and corporate organisations need the Police Check for;

    • Vetting the identity of the candidate they hire

    The police background check is also a means for employers to verify the profile of the person they hire. It helps sieve out fake or bot applications from the original suitable candidates.

    Since the Police Check certificate contains basic details about the candidate from the general Australian records, it is a more credible means of assessment.

    • A sound risk mitigation plan

    There is a lot of potential risk in employing a notorious criminal to a sensitive position. For example, hiring a repeat sexual offender in an organisation that works close to children or vulnerable people can be a “waiting disaster”.

    Employers assess candidates Police Check results to avoid hiring persons with a repeated history of committing crimes that compromise their jobs.

    • Safeguard their interests, investments and customers

    Corporate bodies that cater to significant investments or resources belonging to the populace must be careful who they hire. Financial institutions, for example, handle all valuable documents, money, pensions and assets of their customers. With increasing targets to financial agencies, these corporate investments must continue to improve their security platform and strength.

    For example, employing a candidate with a notorious history of cybercrime, fraud-related offences, Stealing and other offences can be a potential liability to the organisation.

    • Improve their Public relations and brand image

    Customers are always scared if they detect their investments are under threat. They will not hesitate to "drag" an organisation that neglects complete safety or security procedures.

    Including the Police, Check assessment may be a sound statement of how you prioritise safety and security in your enterprise.

    Where do I need a Police Check?

    You will need the criminal history check in almost all sectors and agencies in Australia regardless of the role or position you apply for. Whether it is for paid or Volunteer employment, you will need the Police Check to take up a role as;

    • Healthcare professionals
    • Financial Service workers
    • Legal Workers
    • Liquor sellers
    • Pawnbrokers
    • Real Estate agents
    • Construction workers and contractors
    • Public vehicle drivers
    • Aged care workers
    • Childcare
    • Tutors
    • Correctional Staff
    • Mining workers
    • Government Personnel
    • Vehicle dealers
    • Fireman services

    And any other profession that grants the personnel direct or indirect access to sensitive positions or positions of trust.

    What information does a Police Check disclose?

    The details you find in a Police Check are the Disclosable Court Outcomes of the candidate. The Jurisdiction will release such records per the purpose of the Check or where the offences are relevant.

    If the candidate has a clean record or their offences have been spent under the legislation, their result will return as a No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NCDCO).

    The Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCO) are generally part of a candidate's criminal history. They include;

    • Court Convictions

    All convictions issued by a court enter your criminal records on the Australian criminal database. Unless your sentence is committed for another program, it will always appear on a Police Check certificate in Australia.

    • Sexually related assault

    While some convictions are "spent" and removed from a criminal record, an offence of sexual assault/violation will always appear on your Police Check. The certificate will also disclose the kind of punishment that the court orders.

    • Finance related offences

    Offences of fraud, misappropriation, theft, robbery and other finance-related crimes are always shown on the Police Check. These types of violations will hardly qualify for any legal pardons under the State laws.

    • Pending charges

    The Court can include your pending charges in your Police Check record, especially if it relates to the role. Also, if the pending charge is of community risk or potential danger, the Court will record it in their criminal records.

    • Arrest Warrants

    A warrant for a criminal offence will likely appear on the candidate's Police Check.

    • All other unspent convictions

    All your unspent convictions will appear on the Police Check, regardless of how old the conviction is. However, Spent convictions are permanently removed from your criminal records and national criminal history.

    • Good Behaviour Bonds

    If the Court commits your sentence for a Good Behaviour Bond, the details remain on your criminal records for the Bond duration. Only the Court can issue a GBB depending on the peculiarities of the offence.

    What does not show in my Police Check?

    Unless you obtain your Police Check, you cannot perfectly tell which offences the State/jurisdiction deems releasable under the law. For all you know, you may not even have a releasable record per the State laws.

    Offences not shown in a Police Check may imply that they are outside the scope of what an Australian Court handles.

    They include;

    Any conviction given by an overseas court or under their legal system is not part of your Australian criminal records. These convictions can never appear on your Police Check in Australia. Any employer that wants to reference such records must employ other credible means of getting them.

    Other records that do not show in a Police Check are;

    • Diversionary programs
    • No findings of guilt
    • Police cautions
    • Infringement notices that were not settled in Court
    • Convictions given by agencies other than an Australian court
    • Spent Convictions.

    What is the Spent conviction scheme?

    The Scheme allows certain "eligible offences" to be removed from a candidate's criminal records once the offender has satisfied a period of good behaviour. Also, the offender must have completed any other condition or orders given by the Court during the sentencing.

    What is a Good Behaviour Period?

    The Good Behaviour Period is the period immediately after a conviction or when the offender completes their prison term (if one is given). After this period elapses without the offender getting another conviction, their offences can be "Spent" if eligible for the Scheme.

    The Good Behaviour Period may also be called;

    • Crime free period,
    • Waiting period,
    • Qualification period,

    The Crime free period for offences are;

    • Ten years of "crime-free period"; for a conviction by an adult court.
    • Five years of "crime-free period"; for a conviction by a juvenile court (3 in NSW).

    It must also follow that;

    • ✔ The individual does not get another conviction within this period, or else the period restarts
    • ✔ The term of imprisonment imposed is not more than 30 months. (Should be 30 months or less)
    • ✔ The conviction does not lead to a further court hearing.

    Do I need a Police Check for an internship?

    Generally yes, depending on the type of internship or placement, your organisation may request that you do a Police Check. However, if your role does not explicitly require you to work in a sensitive or cautious position, the organisation can waive these requirements.

    Do I still need a Police Check after I get hired?

    Generally yes, in some industries, the Australian government encourages employers to carry out regular Checks on their staff and employees, primarily if they work in sensitive areas. An organisation that works in a vulnerable, Security or Data management sector may request periodic updated Police Checks from their employees.

    Usually, most employers request an updated Police Check at least once every year, depending on the sector they provide their services to.

    Do I need to renew my Police Check?

    If you constantly need to present or submit your Police Check, then yes, you must renew your Police Check periodically. Most employers will not accept a Police Check certificate older than three months, as they believe a person's criminal record can change very quickly. If you work in an organisation or agency where you must provide updated Police Checks, you need a renewal.

    Is my Police Check applicable outside Australia?

    Yes, an Australian Police Check may be valid overseas if an overseas agency requests your criminal records in Australia. However, they may require a further background check before hiring you.

    Do I still need a Police Check after submitting other background check results?

    If a Police Check is part of the organisation's or employer's internal policies, you must provide the Check in addition to any other background check you provide. The Criminal History Check is usually the initial background check for most employers.

    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 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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