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Have you ever been asked by your employer for consent to perform a police check on you? While they usually do this before hiring you, there are several reasons why employers might undertake a police check and provide their existing employees with national police certificates.
If you are a candidate, it is important to know why you need to go through these police checks, what your rights are, and how you can prepare for the process.
For seamless preparation, we have put together all the information you need to know about police checks.
A national police check is a summary of a person’s police history information in Australia. This government service is provided to an individual or organisation for employment, occupation-related licensing or registration purposes, and voluntary work. It is designed to avoid harm or various types of legal liability to employers or others.
Plenty of employers find police check beneficial. This is because it helps reduce the risk of theft, fraud, and other criminal activities performed by potential new employees.
In industries where employees work with children, the elderly, or other vulnerable groups, police checks play a vital role in ruling out employing people who are past offenders. If the employer believes that a criminal record is pertinent to a specific job, the company is required to state this clearly in the job ad, recruitment briefs to agencies, and information sent out to applicants.
Aside from checks for police investigation or prosecution purposes, you should know that no one is permitted to check another person’s police record without their consent. That is to say, they are not allowed to release a record of a criminal history for employment purposes without the signed consent of the candidate.
Moreover, if you are asked in an interview with the Human Rights Commission whether or not you have a criminal record, you are not required to present any information, unless there is a requirement under legislation to do so. In this circumstance, you would have to disclose your record and volunteer relevant information.
Due to legislation, mandatory criminal history checks may be required in some industries. Usually, these checks are completed at the pre-employment stage. But they can also be done periodically, depending on the industry requirements. Employers should know and consider any industry-specific requirements and make sure the policies are in place to comply with the requirements.
In case an existing employee is moving into a new role, he or she must go through a police check since the new position comes with a different level of risk. Make sure that the employee completes a police check before changing roles.
If the employee has an existing national police certificate, you need to consider when the certificate was issued and what specific risks of that role it covers. For instance, if the employee stepping into a new role has a police certificate that can access sensitive information and he or she is placed into a role with direct care of vulnerable people, then the existing police check would not cover the new role. He or she needs to have an updated police check specifying the new role.
If the employee has been in a role that did not require a police check at the beginning, explain to them that the new role has different levels of risks and why they need to obtain a police check before moving into the new role.
The following are the top reasons why conducting police checks on existing employees is important:
One of the reasons why police checks are important is to safeguard the company. By conducting a police check, employers can determine if an applicant has a criminal history that is directly related to the position he or she is applying for.
It is also in an employer’s best interest to protect the company’s assets. Since employers should look after the welfare of their clients and their other employees, they should be liable for their new hire’s misconduct towards them.
According to a survey, these are the common crimes that most organisations have experienced: theft, procurement fraud, bribery, corruption, cybercrime, and accounting fraud. With national police checks, the risk of these crimes can be minimised.
With challenging times, clients and consumers go after services of businesses who vouch for the trustworthiness of their employees. This is especially true for the education, justice, and healthcare sectors, and at-home services such as installations or repairs and cleaning services. Customers want to know that the staff they let in their homes are trustworthy and professionals.
If employers add annual police checks in their policy, they can make sure that none of their employees have any violation that can affect the safety of other employees, customers, and the company’s reputation. When employers make this a policy, they can help employees be more aware of their actions and avoid any misconduct that could cost them their employment.
For some industries, carrying out a regular criminal history check is a mandatory requirement. However, more and more organisations conduct criminal history checks as a proactive measure and as part of their risk management process.
Furthermore, plenty of employers opt for regular police checks because of the benefits they bring, including encouraging a safe working environment, mitigating risks to the company, and protecting the people, the property, and the reputation of an organisation.
If you are considering conducting police checks on existing employees, you should assure them that they have the opportunity to dispute the police check results if they believe the record is incorrect. Let them explain and discuss any record if they wish to disclose further information to assist you in the assessment process.
If you want to take advantage of the value of adding police checks in the assessment process of your existing employees, obtain your accredited Australian national police check from us. At Australian National Character Check, we conduct the process online, follow a simple application, and deliver fast results. Contact us today!