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Home Resources & Technical Articles Pre-Employment Screening Topics Police Checks Difference between Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check and AFP police check

Difference between Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check and AFP 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.


Getting your police check in Australia is not as hard as it once was. With a mobile, PC, Tablet device, you can apply for, and receive your check result within as little as 24 hours (70% of instances) when you apply through services like Australian National Character Check. The remaining may take up to 15 business days.

However, there are some misconceptions some people make about Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks and their purposes.

Whilst a nationally coordinated criminal history check (NCCHC) is predominately suitable for employment, licensing and accreditation purposes, an AFP police check is predominantly suitable for Immigation, Visa, Commonwealth employment, overseas employment & overseas adoption purposes.

Some people may also think the results issued by an approved online service provider are inferior to those issued by the Australian Federal Police. That is not correct.

Below we outline the main purposes for why people will need a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check and why others will require an AFP police check.

What is a police check?

All Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks are issued by a central government checking system (and in the case of a potential match, they may sometimes be manually vetted by state or territory police forces) irrespective of the state/territories/agencies that you apply through. A police check in Australia contains details of all convictions, pending charges, finding of guilt given by a legal Australian court.

Information contained in police checks in Australia is sourced from a single, national criminal database.

Therefore, in general circumstances and depending on the purpose of the check, it does not matter whether you get it by applying through the AFP or accredited service providers like ANCC.

There are however specific purposes in which a check should only be obtained via the AFP. Those purposes are shown below.

What do you need either of the police checks for?

Police checks are a standard requirement to ascertain suitability for a role. It is even mandatory for some roles like in aged care.

Here are some of the general purposes for which you need a police check from either the AFP or via an accredited service provider like Australian National Character Check (ANCC).

Check purposes for obtaining from the Australian Federal Police (AFP)

    ✔ Overseas employment purposes

    ✔ Immigration and visa purposes

    ✔ Commonwealth employment purposes

    ✔ Firearms licenses and co

    ✔ Other approved purposes as stipulated on the AFP website.

Check purposes for obtaining from services like Australian National Character Check (ANCC)

    ✔ Employment and General Recruitment purposes

    ✔ Probity and Educational placement purposes

    ✔ Accreditation purposes (CPV Drivers, teachers, and co)

    ✔ Contract purposes (Real Estate, Freelancing)

Do organisations have preferences for the police checks they accept?

Generally no, however there are exceptions. Since all police check results are sourced from the same central government database, organisations are not interested in where the check comes from (as far as it is valid and from an accredited source).

However, for some reasons or affiliations, some agencies may favour a source in their requirement due to the required purpose of the police check.

For example, immigration, visa-related, overseas employment, employment with Commonwealth agencies, overseas adoption or some licensing agencies may request you to submit a police check result that is issued by the Australian Federal Police (AFP). This is because accredited online service providers do not provide checks for the above purposes. The above purposes are only within the jurisdiction of the AFP or in some cases, state and territory police forces.

Where should I get my police check from if it’s requested?

If you are requested to submit a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check result for the purpose of employment, probity or various accreditations, then you can apply online through the online process of Australian National Character Check or other online service providers.

This method is not only easy for tightly scheduled workers and related, but most applicants get their results within 24 hours unless their check gets referred for manual processing by the central government database due to a potential match. In the case of a check being referred for manual processing, the result may take up to 15 business days to process.

With an internet-connected device, you can complete your application in less than 12 minutes. The upgraded online payment options even make the whole process easier and faster than ever.

To obtain a check for employment, accreditation and other similar purposes, you can apply via the portal of the ANCC.

However, if it is requested, or preferred, that you submit a check from the AFP or a state or territory police force; please contact the local police office directly.

It should be noted that Australian National Character Check (ANCC) is not affiliated with the AFP or a state or territory police force. Applicants that wish to apply for a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check via the AFP or a state or territory police force must do so directly through their websites.

What specific offences are shown on each check?

Police checks in Australia carry individual previous and pending convictions recorded in Australia.

What convictions are generally shown in both checks?

Some of the convictions that will show up in a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check either given by an accredited service provider or the AFP are;

  • All Sentences and Convictions
  • Pending court charges and offences
  • Convictions/Charges against corporate organizations
  • Sexually related offences
  • Traffic offences for which an individual is convicted in a court

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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?

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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'.

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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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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.

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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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