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  • What jobs require police checks in Australia?

    These days, it is getting more common for industries, organisations and institutions to request national police checks. For some roles or sectors, the government makes it mandatory for all applicants to submit check certificates as part of the application requirements.

    National police checks are useful to employers because they show updated convictions records of the holder at the point it is issued. Most organisations include the national police checks as part of their internal risk mitigation strategy.

    However, if you are asked to present a criminal history check, you can apply easily on the online portal of Australian National Character Check.

    For what purposes do you need a Police Check?

    Most times, applying for a check, you must state the reason or the purpose of the check. The result of a police check can differ a bit depending on the purpose you need the check for. The purpose of a criminal record check can fall into any of the following;

    • Paid Employment
    • When applying for certain roles, your employer will most likely request that you submit a background check result. And in some instances, the State legislation makes it mandatory that anyone employed in such roles submit a valid criminal history result.

    • Volunteering services
    • Even non-paid agencies will request criminal background checks especially if you are applying to sensitive roles. If your volunteer role requires contact with children, vulnerable or aged, you must generally submit police checks for volunteering roles.

    • Immigration/Visa renewals
    • When applying to renew your Australian visa or migrating outside Australia, you must submit a copy of a national police check result as a requirement. It is important to note that these kinds of checks (for the purpose of immigration) can only be obtained directly from the AFP and not via Australian National Character Check (ANCC).

    • Accreditations and Licensing
    • Part of the requirements before joining some professional bodies is that you submit a valid crime check result. The body will assess the individual via the results.

      Applicants may also need to obtain checks for the purpose of driver licensing or accreditation.

      Furthermore, some agencies will not grant certain licenses without assessing your background check certificate.

    Which jobs require a Police Check certificate?

    Far from being a check of qualifications or prowess, a police check is rather an assessment of the individual's character or legal standing, particularly when placed in sensitive roles or a position that entails a level of trust.

    When recruiting individuals, agencies want to be careful not to employ a legal or behavioural liability. It means the following jobs generally consider a police check certificate as a requirement for employment;

    Why do such jobs require a police background check?

    All jobs are important and drive the Australian economy, but some border in the sensitive areas of the economy. It is why they request a police background check before they employ anyone in such roles. Other reasons are;

    • Employs the best people to roles
    • The best person for any role is far from just academic qualification, other factors include;

      - How dedicated they are to your business systems

      - Teamwork and integrity

    • Previous records and image
    • In some roles, experience and academic qualifications may not be enough, the person’s character and records are just as important.

    • Risk mitigation
    • In a volatile business environment where a little scandal can ruin your business, every organisation must protect their brand image. A sound way to do this is to be meticulous and cautious during recruitments. Your customers trust you with their investments, preference and resources, and you should keep it that way.

    Are the police checks different?

    A police check contains all the convictions of an individual updated till when the check is issued. Only spent convictions or those prohibited under the State legislation will not appear on the check.

    The offences that appear are those you were convicted of by a legal Australian court, including pending charges.

    They include;

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

    What are Spent Offences?

    Some offences are removed from an individual’s police criminal records per the State's legislation governing disclosures of offences and the Spent convictions scheme.

    However, not all offences can become spent. And can even be disclosed per court order if the offence is related to the role you are applying for.

    The popular conditions for clearing a criminal record as a spent offences are;

    • Ten (10) consecutive years of the waiting period has elapsed since the person was convicted of the crime (in an adult court).
    • Five (3 for police background checks in NSW) consecutive years of the waiting period has elapsed since the person was convicted (in a youth court/as a juvenile).

    It also follows that;

    • The individual must not be convicted of any punishable offence during this waiting period, or the period restarts
    • If a jail term is imposed, the crime-free period begins after the jail term
    • Convictions stipulated by the court to be considered as Spent if the individual meets Special conditions (community works, therapy, self-quarantine, and co.)
    • For police criminal checks in WA, you must apply to the WA police force to have an offence spent in WA.

    Offences that will never qualify for spent convictions in a police background check no matter how old are;

    • Sexually related convictions
    • Convictions against corporate organisations and institutions
    • Convictions stated by the regulations/court sentencing
    • Convictions for which a prison sentence of six or more months is imposed

    Who can apply for a background check?

    Criminal background checks are a nationwide document in Australia; everyone will eventually need one. Everyone above the age of 16 years can apply for a check through ANCC.

    If you are under 18, you will need "informed consent" via a parent or guardian to apply.

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