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  • Processing Times for Police Checks in Australia

    It is getting harder for persons to apply for employment, volunteer services, accreditation, contract or licenses without a valid criminal history check. Not only has it become mandatory by the government in specific sectors of the economy (Child volunteers, teachers, school bus drivers, etc.) but it has become a means of suitability assessment in a number of job roles.

    There are various ways to obtain valid police checks, but a convenient way is to apply via a medium that returns the results of your check in a timely manner. Applying via the online portal of services like Australian National Character Check (ANCC) is considered to be a relatively fast way to obtain police checks as the process can be completed completely online.

    How long does a Police Check take?

    The majority of check applications completed online usually get completed within 24 to 48 hours. However, depending on the complexity of the "data", the purpose for the check, and whether or not the application gets referred for manual processing by the national checking database, the delivery time may take longer and up to 15 business days for all other applications. Below we describe the process in more detail:

    • Checks referred to other police agencies/jurisdictions

    If a person has lived in various states/territories within a short time, their police checks will be referred to the respective police authorities in the States they lived in.

    The bureaucracy involved in referring the national police check application among the different jurisdictions can further delay the time they receive the results of their criminal record checks. The more states/territories the person has lived in, the higher the tendency for their check result to be delayed.

    Also, where the applicant name is similar to another person of interest, their application will be referred to the relevant agency. It can lead to the application being delayed by a further 10 days or so.

    • “Manual checking” is required

    About 20% of all applications forwarded to the check agency are usually flagged for manual review. When this happens, an official must supervise the application/checking of the applicant's data.

    If an application is flagged for manual review, it is not a certainty of a finding of guilt. It could be an indication of a prospective match on the national database due to a shared name with someone else that has disclosable court outcomes.

      Error in checking

    Applicants should fill in the correct details and complete the required fields when submitting their national criminal history check application. It helps to prevent errors at the Checking algorithm e.g. due to incomplete addresses.

      The similarity of an applicant’s data with records on the criminal database

    Common first names like David, Williams, Smith without a distinguishing middle name may confuse the algorithm. It can lead to the check algorithm conflating multiple records to an applicant with a similar name thus requiring manual supervision from an official.

      Incomplete data

    Where there is a vacant field on the check application, the algorithm may flag it for "manual review". Where it cannot access a required field, it will need human input.

      Unresolved offences from other agencies

    If an application gets flagged for "manual review" it may delay the applicant from receiving their Police Check results for another 2-15 business days.

    Furthermore, no check agency can know beforehand which applications are flagged for manual review or will be delayed.

    While we understand that further delays to your check certificate can be frustrating, we do our best to keep you informed throughout the process.

    Can I speed up my police check waiting time?

    Before applying for a check, choose a proper method/way of application. If you apply through the online portal of the Australian National Character Check, you will get your police check delivered to you via email on the same day the results become available. This saves time on receiving the check via post. For example, if you are after a national police check in the state of Victoria (VIC), you can get one from a local police station in Victoria which may post the results to you, or you can apply online via ANCC and get the results via email on the same day they become available.

    Applying in-person at a post office or police station for a police check may require several trips to the and may not fit your schedule.

    What should I do if my crime check result is delayed?

    If your check gets delayed, there is nothing you can do to influence the process. You can however use ANCC’s track a check feature to get real time updates on the progress of your check.

    Do police check agencies know which applications will be delayed?

    We return all applications completed via our portal on the same day we receive results from Australian police agencies. However, we cannot foretell if your application will be delayed once it is uploaded to the national checking database. The Australian Police agencies vet through checks that are referred for manual processing and accredited agencies like ANCC have no control over that.

    Can I get my police check result immediately?

    Now, if you are requested to provide a national clearance check for any role you have applied for, you should know that;

    • Over 75% of police check applications through ANCC’s online portal are completed and returned to applicants within 24 to 48 hours.
    • Around 25% of the applications may be flagged down by manual review by the check algorithm in the National Criminal Database. These applications may take up to 15 working days.

    With this statistic, there is a higher tendency for you to get your check within 48 hours if you apply online.

    What offences are shown in my check?

    In all the time spent preparing your results, the police agencies ensure that results are provided following the State legislation on Criminal records and Spent convictions scheme.

    Here are some convictions you can expect on a certificate;

    Disclosable Court Outcome (DCO): Individual has offence(s) that are considered releasable by the State and are displayed in details

    Disclosable Court Outcome (DCO): Individual has offence(s) that are considered releasable by the State and are displayed in details

    Some of the offences that come up in a certificate are;

    • Convictions/Charges against corporate organisations
    • Sexually related offences
    • Traffic charges for which an individual is convicted
    • Sentences and Convictions
    • Pending court charges and offences
    • Offences not under the Spent Convictions Scheme of the State
    • Other convictions stipulated by the court as disclosable on the individual’s check

    Offences that do not show up in a Police Check

    Some offences are either considered "not serious" or irrelevant to the purpose of the check. As such, those offences will not be displayed on your results:

    • Findings of non-guilt.
    • Convictions outside the country.
    • Diversion programs.
    • Punitive measures by third party institutions or other professional bodies/unions.
    • Offences outside the jurisdiction of Australian police agencies/courts.

    How long does a Police Check last?

    National police checks are point-in-time checks; they are valid from the point of issue until the applicant gets an updated one.

    However, most organisations/employers will refuse a Police Check result older than 3 months.

    ANCC provides timely and authentic results for all check applications.

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