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  • Does a police check cost money?

    Police Checks are becoming increasingly popular in Australia. Now, every institution, agency, organisation and private business requests for one before admitting a person. In cases where the roles fall under the “sensitive” sectors;

    • Child-related services
    • Health care services
    • Financial roles
    • Vulnerable care, and so on,

    For such roles, workplaces mandate a criminal history check certificate as a requirement and the individual must not have a conviction in a related role.

    What is the cost of a police check?

    Just because a police check is a nationwide scheme does not mean it is free for all kinds of applications.

    However, the cost may vary depending on the channels or method of applications.

    When applying for a check, you are required to pay a certain amount or a base fee. It is only to start an application at the national checking agency.

    Depending on the purpose of a police criminal check and the medium you apply through, it can cost between $41 and $100 in Australia per check.

    The base price of a police check is $48.90. Applicants can apply on the Australian National Character Check (ANCC) website. Majority of checks are dispatched within 24 hours with the remaining that get referred for manual processing taking up to 15+ days.

    Can the cost of a police check be subsidised?

    In some cases, some services reduce the cost of a police check for volunteers. Where having a police record check is mandatory, the workplace requesting the check may waive or subsidize the price for the volunteer. This is entirely dependent on the requesting organisation.

    Furthermore, the volunteer organizations may bear the total/part cost for the Police Check by applying through ANCC’s business portal and sending criminal history check invites to applicants.

    It is not uncommon also for other private organisations to request for a police record check from a candidate. Many organisations want to avoid "re-verifying" a criminal history check result and would rather request the check themselves via an accredited service provider like Australian National Character Check (ANCC).

    All checks must be conducted with the “informed consent” of the individual.

    What happens if I don’t pay the base fee?

    When completing an application online, you must pay the base fee required. For online applications via ANCC, this can be paid via PayPal, Credit/Debit cards, or other online payment methods. Service providers like ANCC make the payment methods easier and more secure for applicants.

    However, without payment of this base fee, your crime check application will not be completed.

    How can I get a free Police Check?

    Aside from police history checks for volunteers (where the cost is reduced), or where the requesting organisation bears the cost, there are no other ways you can get a free police check in Australia. The popular and credible method to obtain police history checks is going through paid agencies, as earlier discussed. It includes applications made through;

    • Service providers like Australian National Character Check (ANCC)
    • Local Police office
    • Local Post office

    Non-Paid/Generic/Public method

    The other non-paid method is the Generic or Public method. This method is not common but can be suitable for roles where the person's past offences are not damaging. This method is mostly employed to get more knowledge of the individual from free resources. You may be able to obtain a free background check on someone using less credible methods (e.g. social media).

    Some of the examples are;

    Using Search Engines

    The internet is home to trillions of information from millions of blogs, articles, websites, posts, ads, videos, public discourse, seminars, and so on. It is getting harder to hide our social lives each day. Search engines have the pull and resources to creep into any online activity ever posted.

    However, it can be a very exhausting and worthless venture. The plethora of information makes a simple search return countless unrelated materials, and you are left to sort through. A search on David Roost can bring out an overwhelming amount of information (most, useless to your search).

    This venture may provide a lot of information but is also similar to the "Needle in a haystack" idiom

    Social Media platforms

    Bigger than the craze for gold is the race for data. You will be surprised by the amount and value of data each social media site "controls" on its platform.

    A simple search on a popular platform like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram can provide data like;

    • Past events
    • Affiliates
    • Family
    • Recent activity
    • Location
    • Social History
    • Pages and portfolios
    • Other affiliate links

    In most cases, this is even more information than you need for background knowledge of the person.

    Other useful Social Media links to run a background check can be;

    • Twitter
    • Reddit
    • Google business and so on.

    Request for any legal documents

    A simple request for a legal document can set apart legal from illegitimate workers in Australia. Hiring an illegitimate worker (e.g. someone who does not have legal work rights in Australia) can have disastrous consequences, especially if they provide freelance/personal services to you.

    Some documents you can demand are;

    Employers can also determine the residency status of an individual by requesting;

    • Certificate of residence with photo ID
    • VEVO service to check passport validity
    • Drivers license, Tax ID, or Medical insurance card

    Public Criminal Databases

    Various free sites can offer limited but useful information about people. This information may either be publicly sourced, privately investigated, and so on. However, it is not a legal background check in Australia, but it is usually worth the information. Some of them are;

    • Familywatchdogs
    • Zabasearch
    • Truthfinder, and co

    Financial History checks

    For the very likely event that a person has applied for credits or loans successfully or not, that person will have his credit reports available.

    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission can help you with information on people who have applied for credits including basic work history, properties, projects and related financial information.

    Public records

    There are lots of public records in the general public archives. The various records depend on the institution holding them. Some of them are;

    • National Archives of Australia: You can get information about a family history
    • Australia Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
    • Department of Social Service
    • Australia Birth, Death and Marriage
    • Victoria Public Record Office

    Some of these records run far back into the 20th century, including immigration and citizenship details.

    Wrapping Up

    When making use of free background check services, keep in mind that the information may not be completely accurate, and there might be information gaps. It should not be taken as a legal background check - for that visit Australian National Character Check.

    For more specific information about an individual’s life and work, a criminal check should be in order. Where "vulnerable people", safety and care is concerned, criminal backgrounds should take precedence.

    Copyright & Disclaimer

    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.

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