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  • Why Australian Police Check Results May Get Delayed

    Police checks have become more compulsory these days for individuals before seeking admission or employment into most institutions or agencies. These requests are more "legally required" in some institutions than others.

    An applicant usually gets their national police check result within a maximum of three working days. Though, it is possible but rare to have your national criminal history check delayed by the authorities; many reasons could be responsible for this delay, including error in filling out the information.

    Why is my police check taking so long?

    Police checks are mostly done automatically by a police computer system algorithm that compares any criminal history with the information you have provided on your application. However, some applications can get very "complex" to handle, making it difficult for the computer to give a conclusive result.

    When this happens, the system will recommend your application for a manual introspection or closer review (by a human). This is referred to as “manual processing”. Of course, this procedure will affect the period of getting your national police clearance result.

    What can make my application “complex” for the computer?

    When you fill-up the application forms either online or paper-based; the data provided is used to compare/search against the police criminal records. The computer makes an automatic pairing to confirm which records match your application.

    Sometimes, your details might correlate with those of another person on the criminal database. In this case, the computer "marks" your application for further review to avoid making errors. The computers do not make “guess” comparisons where the data is inconclusive.

    Such errors could be from shared common names, inaccurate applications, complicated addresses (if you have changed addresses a lot), and so on.

    Are the delays dependent on if the applicant has an offense?

    Irrespective of whether the applicant has a prior conviction or not, their national criminal history check results can still be delayed. Though different reasons may lead to the delay in both circumstances.

    Where there is a criminal history

    If you have a criminal record that may appear on your police check results, some factors can cause a delay.

    • Some complexities in the jurisdiction and other technicalities can affect the period for preparing your criminal record check
    • The state where the offence occurred and if certain records would be retrieved for proper introspection
    • Deciding if an offence might be disclosable, and to what extent the offence is disclosable.
    • Depending on why the check was requested; which spent convictions legislation will be applied; the relevant information to be released.

    Where the applicant has no criminal record

    As stated above, even when you have no criminal conviction (clean slate), your application might still be delayed. Here are some factors that can contribute to this delay;

    • The level of similarity between your data and that of the person who has a record
    • When and where the offence was committed
    • Verifying your addresses (if you have changed addresses a lot).

    How long will it take to get my Police Check?

    Many reasons can lead to a manual referral on your police check. And depending on these reasons, your manually reviewed national police certificate will be processed between 1 and 15 working days. The accredited agencies that you engage to perform your Australian Police clearance are powerless in this whole "saga"

    However, the directives of the Australian federal government stipulates the timeframes for national police checks

    • Over 70% of all checks are delivered to the applicant within a day
    • An estimated 25% of these applications are completed within 15 business days
    • The completing 5% of these checks may take 15 or more business days (depending on the complexity)

    Can someone speed up the process when it takes longer?

    When your application is marked for "manual review," vetting is transferred to manual personnel in the authorities/Police. Therefore, until this process is complete and satisfactory, there is nothing anyone can do to speed up the results.

    It is important to note that flagging an application for “manual review” has nothing to do with the method/agents of application.

    Police agencies will only release the result when they are confident that all procedures are satisfactory and comprehensive.

    Do issuing agencies like Australian National Character Check have influence over the process?

    Australian National Character check ensures every completed and compliant application gets processed forwarded to police agencies on the same day and usually. Our police clearance processing time generally takes one hour. Checks are automatically dispatched by our system on the same day they are received and we do our best to ensure that the results for all applications of the criminal history checks are delivered within 24 hours. In a manual review, we communicate with the applicant and keep a keen eye throughout the procedure.

    However, releasing the criminal record check results is with the prerogative of the Australian Police. Accredited agencies like us do not and cannot influence the process.

    I have to submit my Police Check results within the next 24 hours!

    We understand that most Australian Police Checks are usually requested by the organisation, and most of them are "time-sensitive." Most organisations give a deadline when all applicants must submit their official crime check results and this may become difficult for you if you don't meet the deadline.

    We suggest that you communicate the position of your application to the HR personnel of the organisation. We assure you that we will follow up on all applications until they are completed within the 15 day time period.

    How are Police Checks conducted?

    After completing your application form (online or paper-based), your data is forwarded through secured connections to the Police authorities. This is where your details are compared with those in the criminal database of Australia.

    There are only two ways in which your Police Check results can return;

    • No disclosable court outcomes (NDCO)
    • Disclosable court outcomes (DCO)

    All Criminal History Checks pass through the same method. It means your Police Check result is the same irrespective of the medium you apply.

    Is it only the police that can issue a criminal history check?

    The Police authorities alone issue the credible and authentic police clearance in Australia. However, you can also apply through accredited agencies like Australian National Character Check.

    Finally, to avoid delays and other processes in your Australian checks, we suggest that you apply for your Police Check earlier than you need it. If this suggestion is possible, it will save you from the problems of a delayed police certificate.

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