Police Check FAQ

What is the process for undertaking a Police Check?

Once the required information and consent has been received, a Police Check will be processed as follows:

Police Check
Police Check Flow
  1. PeopleCheck will review the information provided to ensure speed of processing and ID check
  2. PeopleCheck will submit the Police Check to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) or the Australian Federal Police (depending on the authority through which the check will be undertaken)
  3. The personal information of the individual will be automatically checked against a national database held by the National Police Checking Service (NPCS) for Persons of Interest
  4. This results in an outcome of either:
    1. No match (‘no disclosable court outcomes’). The Police Check Certificate/Report will be made available within the hour* where this check was undertaken through ACIC or 1 to 3 working days where this check was undertaken through the AFP; OR
    2. The check will be referred for further investigation and may take up to 15 working days to receive a result
      (see next question, How long does a Police Check take?)

What ID documents are needed to apply for an Australian Police Check through the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission?

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) requires FOUR pieces of identification to be able to process an Australian Police Check, as well as linkage between the individual and their ID documentation.

  • Each piece of ID must detail the applicant’s name.
  • At least one of the ID documents provided must contain the applicant’s date of birth.
  • At least one of the ID documents provided must contain a photograph of the applicant.

You can find a full list of acceptable ID documents and the process for providing linkage here.

How long does a Police Check take?

Most Police Checks (approximately 70-80%) are instantaneous or returned within minutes of PeopleCheck submitting the request, where these are undertaken through ACIC. Requests undertaken through the AFP take 1 to 3 working days for initial results.

Approximately 20-30% are referred for further investigation (also known as ‘further enquires’ – see next question, What does it mean if a check is under Further Investigation/Further Enquiries?)

What does it mean if a check is under Further Investigation/Further Enquiries?

Checks subject to further investigation/further enquiries have automatically matched against a national database of names held by the National Police Checking Service (NPCS) for Persons of Interest.

At this point, ACIC/AFP releases the request to relevant state jurisdictions that the initial match has been linked to.  The relevant state will determine whether the match relates to the individual and/or whether the information can be released under information releasing policies (such as spent convictions legislation).

Importantly, delays in results being returned does not mean that there is releasable police history (PH). Many checks that are subject to further investigation/further enquiries return a ‘no disclosable court outcomes’ result.

Why do some checks take extra time to process?

There are many reasons as to why some checks take longer than others to process which can include:

  • The individual having a common name, or a name that matches with many potential Persons of Interest on policing systems;
  • Old Police History being associated with a possible match that requires manual collection and processing of hardcopy records;
  • The relevant police agency having inaccurate or incomplete records which need to be investigated before the check can be finalised;
  • Transferring information between the various state and territory police agencies before the information can be vetted and/or released; and/or
  • Workloads within each police agency.

How can I speed up the process?

There are limited ways to speed up the Police Check process, unless your check falls in one of the three categories listed below:

  1. Specialist skills or an emergency/disaster situation;
  2. Political or medical reasons; or
  3. Child-related processes including adoption and/or the emergency placement of a child.

How will I know when a Police Check is ready?

Where you have ordered your own Police Check, you will be advised by email that your Police Check report/certificate is ready once PeopleCheck have received a result from the police authority.

Where a request has been submitted by an employer/potential employer, our client will be notified upon completion of the Police Check.

What is the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission?

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (‘ACIC’) is the government agency that manages a national database for Persons of Interest and through which all National Police Checks in Australia are undertaken.

The National Police Checking Service is utilised by all Police Agencies and brokers (including the Australian Federal Police (‘AFP’).

PeopleCheck is an accredited provider to obtain Police Checks through ACIC and is listed as such on their website. Accredited brokers are subject to an extensive accreditation process, as well as audits. A similar level of compliance is required by PeopleCheck’s clients to ensure ACIC’s requirements are maintained.

ACIC does not provide an official “police certificate”; however, most Australian agencies now accept Police Check results from accredited ACIC broker agencies undertaken through ACIC. For cases where police certificates are required, these Police Checks are undertaken through the Australian Federal Police (‘AFP’).

How long does a Police Check last for?

Police Checks are ‘point in time’ checks, meaning the result returned is only accurate at the date of issue of the certificate/report.  Additionally, the requirements or purpose of a police check can determine the length of time that the result is acceptable beyond the date of the report/certificate.

If you are unsure if a Police Check certificate/report is valid, seek guidance from the governing body/employer.

Can a check result be used to apply for other jobs?

Police Checks undertaken are specific for the intended purpose and the relevant police jurisdiction vetting the results make determinations on releasable information based on the specific reason a police check is being undertaken (i.e. information releasable for an individual undertaking a police check for nursing purposes varies from releasable information for an individual undertaking a police check for an office role).

Why are there different types of Police Checks available?

In addition to the General Employment Police Check that applies in most cases, PeopleCheck offers several types of Police Checks including those for:

  • Roles that require compliance with regulatory bodies such as ASIC or APRA; and
  • Roles that involve working with specific groups, such as vulnerable persons, children, or the aged.
  • Visa purposes or working overseas

These types of Police Checks have the purpose pre-populated to ensure accurate vetting of records is applied if passing through police jurisdictions.

What is the Spent Convictions Scheme?

The aim of the Spent Conviction Scheme (“the Scheme”) is to prevent discrimination on the basis of certain previous convictions. Spent convictions legislation limits the use and disclosure of older, less serious convictions and findings of guilt. Each Australian police agency will apply the relevant Spent Convictions legislation/ information release policy relevant to its jurisdiction prior to disclosure of Police History, spent convictions schemes vary between states. Spent convictions for certain offences will be released where the check is required for specific purposes regardless of how old the convictions are.

Due to the Scheme, and depending on the purpose (role) of the Police Check being undertaken, candidates and clients should both be aware that candidates do not necessarily need to declare all of the offences that may be in their background.

What different types of Police Checks are available?

PeopleCheck utilises the methodology adopted by the Australian Federal Police for different categories of Police Checks.

General Employment – No Exclusion: This Police Check should be used for general employment (most roles). The spent conviction scheme applies to this search. Although the specifics vary from state to state, a conviction generally becomes a “spent conviction” if a person has had a ten year crime-free period from the date of the conviction.

Vulnerable Persons – Partial Exclusion: This Police Check should be used for roles where the individual is to be working with children, aged and other vulnerable persons. This search has a partial exclusion to the spent conviction scheme for serious offences, sexual offences, offences against the person, for employment/engagement in positions/occupations involving the care, instruction or supervision of vulnerable persons (including children, aged persons, and the disabled). This means that any offences that fall into this category will be disclosed, regardless of when the offence was committed in the individual’s background.

APRA – Partial Exclusion: This Police Check should be used for roles where the individual is to work in Australia in an APRA-regulated role (usually a senior manager or above in a financial-related field). This search has a partial exclusion to the spent conviction scheme for offences in respect of dishonest conduct under Section 120 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (Cth). This means that any offences that fall into this category will be disclosed, regardless of when the offence was committed in the individual’s background.

ASIC – No Exclusion: This Police check should be used for roles where the individual is to work in Australia in an ASIC-regulated role (usually a senior manager or above in a role that provides financial advice). The spent conviction scheme applies to this search. Although the specifics vary from state to state, a conviction generally becomes a “spent conviction” if a person has had a ten-year crime-free period from the date of the conviction.

Do the requirements to undertake the various types of Police Checks vary?

Each type of Police Check has a specific online form that needs to be completed by the individual in order to undertake the check. The forms specify the type of Police Check by outlining the purpose of the check and whether an exclusion from the spent conviction scheme applies. In addition to this form, an individual’s identity must be checked in order to process the Police Check.

Is the fee and turnaround time the same for all types of Police Checks?

Yes, the fee and turnaround time for all types of Police Check are the same. The variation in fee and turnaround time only varies between the two primary delivery services to source Police Checks, The Australian Federal Police (‘AFP’) and The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (‘ACIC’).

What kind of result can I expect?  What kind of convictions/offences are returned?

A Police Check will reveal disclosable court outcomes from police records in all Australian states and territories, subject to applicable spent conviction legislation in the relevant jurisdiction.

A Police Check may return:

No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO)

  • No Police History; OR
  • No Releasable Police History due to information releasing policies and the purpose of the check (see What is the Spent Convictions Scheme?)

Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCO)

Police History that is in line with information releasing policies and the purpose of the check which may include:

  • Charges;
  • Court convictions, including penalties and sentences;
  • Findings of guilt with no conviction;
  • Court appearances;
  • Good behaviour bonds or other court orders;
  • Matters awaiting court hearing; and/or
  • Traffic offences.

Information released will vary considerably between Australian state jurisdictions.

The above information is as provided on the ACIC website.

Can I dispute the information provided on my Police Check certificate?

If you believe the information reported on your Police Check Report/Certificate by PeopleCheck is incorrect, please contact PeopleCheck’s Privacy Officer on (02) 4023 0603 or via email at privacy@peoplecheck.com.au and they will assist you with the dispute process.

Are expired forms of ID acceptable?

The use of expired forms of identification is being phased out by the Australian Government; therefore, the ACIC will no longer be accepting expired ID. This decision strengthens the safety of the Australian community through the protection of individual’s identity documentation, as well as supporting the longer term national security agenda to improve identity resolution. It also strengthens assurances for both the ACIC and the accredited body that the identity document is not being used fraudulently.

What if I/my candidate can’t meet the ID document requirements – is there an alternative?

Additional measures have been put in place for applicants who may be unable to meet the identity document requirements when submitting their Police Check form. In these cases, PeopleCheck will work with specific candidates and assist them to provide the unique collection of ID documents that will be a satisfactory alternative and enable us to undertake the Police Check. If this applies, please contact us on (02) 4023 0603 or via email at validate@peoplecheck.com.au.

Does the Police Check applicant get a copy of their result?

In instances where we are undertaking a Police Check through ACIC for an individual, they will receive the results of their Police Check directly regardless of the result. Additionally, in cases where a candidate’s ACIC Police Check is being undertaken for their employer (our client) and results in a Disclosable Court Outcome (match), a copy will be provided to the applicant directly. This does not apply to “clear” results and is in place to provide the applicant with an opportunity to dispute the result if it contains an error.

How long will PeopleCheck retain documentation relating to Police Checks?

ACIC requires that PeopleCheck retains the application and informed consent forms and identity documents for Police Checks for a minimum of 12 months and no longer than 15 months and this will aid PeopleCheck and its clients with dispute management and administrative enquiries. It will also benefit the ACIC with performing compliance and audit activities. An applicant can request that their information be deleted earlier under the privacy act or other relevant legislation.

I’m under 18, how do I get a Police Check

You can obtain a Police Check with the signed consent of a parent/guardian. Please contact PeopleCheck on (02) 4023 0603 or via email at validate@peoplecheck.com.au for further information.

Where can I get more information on PeopleCheck’s Police Checks?

You can contact our team on (02) 4023 0603 or via email at validate@peoplecheck.com.au for further information, or additional details regarding our Police Checks are available here.

*Timeframe is within business hours and does not take into account delays caused by unavailability of the ACIC system or any other system outages.
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