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  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Pre-Employment Screening Topics National Police Checks What information comes up on a national police check in Australia

    What information comes up on a national police check in Australia

    Before most organizations/businesses offer employment or admission to applicants, they mostly request the individual's Police Check certificate. While the police check is an important legal requirement before working in some institutions (Child care, aged care, disabled and vulnerable groups), it is less severe in others.

    However, most organisations conduct a Police Check before employment to reduce the risk of fraudulent activities or any other damage to their brand through "potential recurring" individual behaviours.

    What is a Police Check Australia

    A Police check is a record that contains all the disclosable court outcomes (DCOs) or the no disclosable court outcome (NDCO) of an individual. The Police check is authorized and issued by Police authorities in Australia.

    The Police Check certificate also known as the Police criminal history records is based upon data supplied like;

    • National names Index (NNI)
    • Date of birth of the individual
    • Address and contact information ( residential addresses for the past five years)
    • Fingerprints (if applicable)

    If you have a prior conviction (served or unserved), there is a high probability that it will appear on your Police Check certificate. And the jurisdiction/laws of the state influence the records that are displayed in your police check.

    It is common to feel quite uneasy when expecting your Police Check Australia result, even when you are sure that there are no prior convictions to your name. Also, among those who have prior convictions; they are unsure which offences will show up or which might be considered "spent" or Not-disclosable (NDCO).

    Since most organisations now request a Police Check before offering employment, we have a put up a list of things you can expect from your Police Criminal Check certificate;

    What will show up on my Police Check Australia

    For all Police Checks in Australia, there are just two types of possible outcomes;

    A No disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO): it means that an individual has a clean slate, and does not have any criminal history for release.


    Disclosable Court Outcomes: When issued with a DCO, it usually contains details of the conviction excluding spent charges.

    So, if your Police Check Australia has a DCO, here are some of the charges you can expect to find;

    • All Criminal charges (assault, sexual offence, violence, etc.) including suspended sentences
    • Findings of guilt which has not expired even without a conviction
    • All criminal offences which are not classified as "spent" charges. It may include but not limited to; traffic violations like drunk-driving, over-speeding, and so on.
    • Pending court charges
    • Served sentences/convictions

    Spent Convictions

    In most states, some convictions are considered "spent" or removed from an individual’s record. The offence can be considered as spent after the completion of a probationary or "crime-free" period.

    The time elapsed for an offence to be considered as “spent” include;

    • Offences older than 10 years committed by a legal adult
    • Offences older than 5 years committed by a minor

    However, before an offence is considered as spent, the individual must have fulfilled criteria like;

    •   They must not have been convicted in another punishable offence during the "crime-free" period.
    •   The individual must not have been in prison because of any conviction.

    Examples of offences that are classified as a spent charge include;

    •   Finding of guilt without a good behaviour bond can be spent
    •   Finding of guilt with a good behaviour bond can be spent once the bond has expired

    After this stipulated period, these offences will be put under the "spent" charges records and will not appear on your national police clearance certificate. However, this varies from state to state in Australia.

    However, no matter the number of years elapsed since the conviction, some offences are never classified as “spent.” Some of these offences are but not included to;

    • Convictions for sexually related offences
    • Convictions against corporate bodies and organisation: Some examples are; financial fraud, impersonation, document forgery, and co.
    • Convictions of which a prison sentence of more than 6 months have been imposed
    • Convictions prescribed by regulations

    What will not show up in my Police Check Australia

    Besides Spent charges, some offences will not show up in your Police Check Australia. Some of these offences include;

    • Findings of non-guilt
    • Inconclusive, incomplete or dropped charges
    • Penalties that were imposed by institutions or professional bodies
    • Convictions of offences outside of Australia
    • Matters that were prosecuted by authorities other than the police
    • Diversionary programs
    • Traffic infringements that do not lead to convictions; fines, cautions, tickets

    How does a Police Check Australia work

    When you request for the Police Check certificate (Yes, it is consent-based), you will have to complete an application form. The form can be completed and submitted in-person at a local police station or through secured online connections via services like Australian National Character Check (ANCC).

    You should fill up the entire required field including maiden name, aliases, all previous addresses, and more.

    After submission, your data is compared with information on the Police criminal database. If there are no convictions against your data, the certificate returns as a No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO). Else, it returns with details of your convictions with a result that states Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCO).

    How long does a Police Check Australia take

    There are two main ways of applying for a Police Check Australia;

    •   Through the local police authority in your state
    •   Through ACIC accredited agencies like Australian National Character Check

    If you apply through Australian National Character Check (online, easy, fast and efficient), you should get your criminal record check result mailed back to you within 24 hours. Cool right?

    However, some Police Check applications are flagged for a “manual review” and this process delays the time an applicant gets their result, by 2 and 15 business days.

    Marking an application for "manual review" is usually the "choice" of the Police authorities. Also, in no way does it signify that an applicant has "failed" their Police Check Australia.

    Wrapping Up

    People with prior convictions should not be deterred from applying for the job or opportunity they need. Although employers consider the results of the Police Check Australia before hiring, they retain the discretion of determining how it affects the role the individual is applying for.

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