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  • How long does a police check last?

    When applying for most jobs and roles in Australia, one of the common requirements is a police character check. If these roles fall within the sectors categorized as the "sensitive roles" some organizations mandate you to provide the criminal record check result as a part of a risk mitigation strategy.

    The national criminal history check result contains the updated list of an individual's convictions. It includes all Criminal history sourced from the various State/Territories criminal databases across Australia. However, it should be noted that police check results are not a permanently conferred certificate.

    Does a police check certificate expire?

    A Police Check is a point in time check as current as of the point of issue. For example, If a candidate receives their national criminal history check three months ago, it only contains convictions history up till that point.

    A police check will remain valid as long as the requesting organisation or employer wants it to remain valid, depending on their internal risk mitigation strategies. Generally, most organisations and decision makers in Australia do not accept a check that is older than three (3) months.

    What is the general validity period of a police check?

    Since it is mostly at the discretion of organisations to interpret the results of national police checks, there is rarely a consensus agreement. However, most organisations will not accept a police record check older than 3 months.

    Furthermore, most employers will request that their existing workers submit updated police criminal check results within respectable periods (e.g. every one year or so).

    In certain roles, the Australian government also ensures that employees have an updated background check result within specific periods.

    What do I do if I get another conviction?

    If you are within the period of getting an updated criminal history check, and you get another conviction, apply to get an updated criminal record check. In certain roles, it is an offence to hide details of a new conviction from your employers.

    Some examples of those who work in sensitive roles are;

      ✔ Aged care services/Vulnerable care services

      ✔ Children related roles

      ✔ Certain financial roles

      ✔ Commercial drivers

    How long does the record of a police check remain?

    Convictions that are recorded against your name on the criminal database remain for life. However, if the court finds you guilty, but records no conviction, then it does not appear in your Police Criminal records.

    However, applicants can apply to have their minor offences become Spent. Such offences will neither show in your criminal history check results nor indiscriminately disclosed.

    If an offence becomes spent, it will never appear in your crime check result but will remain in the police records. However, not all offences qualify for the Spent convictions scheme and in some cases, selected old offences will still show up on the police check.

    Help, I have lost my copy of my criminal background check result

    Sometimes, candidates who have previously received their police background check can no longer locate it for whatever reasons. If you have lost access to your result, you can contact the agency where you applied.

    Australian National Character Check keeps copies of checks for 12 months.

    If you obtained a check at the local police office, you must visit the police office for that copy.

    However, a stored (old) copy of the check is not the same as a renewal of your criminal history check.

    How long does a police record check application take?

    For all those who need to submit an "updated" check, you can apply online via ANCC. Successful applicants mostly get their results within 48 hours. The remaining that get referred for manual processing may take up to 15+ business days. Applicants can track their police checks to get updates on progress.

    However, some other factors may lead to a delay in when applicant get their Police Check result;

      Sources of Criminal database;

      A criminal history check contains conviction history sourced from all criminal databases of all the States and Territories. For applicants who have lived in multiple areas, it may take longer to process their application.

      Manual Reviews

      Manual review occurs when an official with the national check agency must supervise a check. Even though it is not uncommon (about 15% of Police Check applications are flagged), it can delay an application for additional 10 -15 working days. It, therefore, trumps the plans of the applicant if they need it urgently and applicants should therefore apply for their checks within a reasonable time frame to allow adequate time in case a check is referred for manual processing.

    How do I receive my Police Check result?

    Depending on the application source you choose, there are various ways to receive your results.

      Online application form

      When you apply online via services like Australian National Character Check (ANCC), you will receive a digital copy of your national police check sent to your email provided. You can submit this copy for an online application or verification.

      Candidates can complete an application via their PC, Tablet or mobile devices.

      Local police office

      Candidates who apply via the local police office may receive their results by post. The results are issued usually after 5-10 business days.

      Since this method of application is partly paper-based it may require physical presence to certify identification documents. The issuance period may be slower.

      Local post office

      The local post office also prepares and submits all criminal history check applications sent through them. This method may also require physical attendance at a post office to certify ID documents.

    What offences does a criminal history check result reveal?

    The police crime check result discloses all the convictions and legal offences of an individual convicted by a court. These offences are called Disclosable Court outcomes (DCOs), and they are but not limited to;

    • Convictions and Charges against corporate organisations
    • Sexually related offences
    • Traffic charges for which an individual is convicted in a court
    • All Sentences and Convictions
    • Pending court charges and offences
    • Other offences not under the spent convictions scheme

    “Offences" not disclosed on your Police Check

    Not all your “offences” are considered Disclosable and will therefore not show up on police checks – asides from the spent convictions or legal convictions.

    Some offences are not considered “serious” or lack the jurisdiction standing to be included in your DCOs:

    These offences are, and are not limited to;

    • Convictions outside the country.
    • Diversion programs.
    • Spent Convictions
    • Punitive measures by third party institutions or other professional bodies and unions.
    • Offences outside the jurisdiction of Australian police agencies and courts.

    Why does a police history check expire?

    Technically, a police clearance check does not expire nor lose its validity. However, since it is a point-in-time check, it means some convictions may get stale. Also, an older check does not contain newer convictions (if any) and does not give accurate history of the individual.

    Since police checks are crucial in many spheres of the economy, it is wise to request an updated crime record check that reflects your current records, including (removed spent convictions).

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