Understanding police checks

When applying for a new role, it is common practice for your potential employer to request to perform a police check on you. If you’ve not completed a police check before, it can be an overwhelming task.
Here, we’ve put together some notes to help you better understand what a national police check is and why it’s important that they are conducted.

What is a national police check?

A National Police Checks search involves identifying and releasing any relevant Australian Federal Police (AFP) information which is subject to relevant spent convictions, non-disclosure legislation and information release policies.

What does the process involve?

  • Searching a central index containing the names of persons of interest to police;
  • Possible match(es) referred to the relevant police services for evaluation of their records; and
  • Issuing a national police certificate

What does a national police check include?

A police check either indicates that no records are held or contains information obtained from police agencies that can be disclosed.

A national police check provides a summary of a person’s police history information in Australia and usually includes:

  • Court appearances
  • Court convictions, including any penalty or sentence
  • Findings of guilt with no conviction
  • Good behaviour bonds or other court orders
  • Charges
  • Matters awaiting a court hearing

What does a national police check not include?

National police checks do not contain information about spent convictions. A spent conviction is a criminal conviction that has been removed from a person’s criminal record because it has lapsed after a period. Whether a conviction is spent will vary on state and federal legislation, but generally a spent finding is a criminal offence older than 5 years if convicted as a child, or an offence older than 10 years in any other case.

How long does it take to get results back?

70% of ACIC National Police Checks are issued within 1 hour of ordering, however can take up to 15 business days, it is always advisable to allow as much time as possible. If this happens, it may be because the application has been flagged for further review if it has been matched against somebody on the database with a similar name, gender and/or date of birth. When this occurs, there is a review process that is undertaken where each of Australia’s police agencies are consulted to resolve the match.

What states are covered?

Our National Police Checks are available across all Australian states and territories. 

The content provided in this blog is intended solely for general information and awareness around our product offerings. It does not constitute personalised advice for any specific individual or organisation and should not be solely relied upon. All information within this blog post is generalised and does not consider the unique situations, circumstances, or requirements of any individual or organisation. Always seek professional advice and consider the suitability of the information to your specific goals and needs before taking any action based on the information presented.