8 Steps to Get a National Police Check for Driver Accreditation
If you want to drive a commercial passenger vehicle in Australia then you’re going to need a lot more than just a driving license. The fact is that to become an accredited driver you need a variety of documentation to prove that you can do the job.
That includes those hoping to find roles as the driver of:
- Hire cars
- Rideshare vehicles
- Public buses
It’s a challenging job that requires lots of hours being spent on the road. The good news is that it can also be very financially rewarding, and it’s a role that comes with plenty of additional benefits.
Here’s everything you need to know about driver accreditation in Australia, and why a National Police Check is so important.
Understanding Driver Accreditation in Australia
Driver accreditation is simply a form of vetting process. It’s conducted at a state and territory level and is intended to make passengers and hire companies feel safer. A driver that has provided the necessary accreditation is considered to have met the required safety standards and is trusted to drive a vehicle commercially.
It covers a wide range of documents and tests, one of which is the national criminal history check.
The Basic Requirements of Driver Accreditation in Australia
The first thing to know is that every state in Australia has its own legislations that cover driver accreditation. However, all states will require you, at the bare minimum, to have held a valid driver’s license for a set period. For example, in Victoria, you must have had your driver’s license for at least six months.
As well as a valid Australian driver’s license, the applicant must also present:
- A full driver history
- Medical history
- Criminal history check
The most important thing to remember is that different states and territories have different rules that cover driver accreditation.
The Steps to Get Driver Accreditation
If you want to start a new career as a driver or if you’re just looking to make some money on the side, accreditation is going to be vital. Here are the easy to follow steps that will take you closer to your new job as an accredited driver.
Step One: Know the State Laws
Every state in Australia has a different set of rules and legislations when it comes to driver accreditation. If you want to become a commercial driver, your first task is to check your local laws. These can vary wildly depending on where you live and where you plan to work.
Some states, such as South Australia, make it a legal requirement to provide a valid Working With Children check if you want to become a commercial driver. In the Northern Territory, you will also need to provide an insolvency check that’s come from the Australian Financial Security Authorization.
Other states operate very differently. In Queensland, anyone wanting to launch their own passenger service business will have to apply for a separate operator accreditation. Bus drivers also have to follow slightly different processes.
There are lots of variations when it comes to driver accreditation. Make sure that you know the laws and regulations of the state that you plan on working in.
Step Two: Checking Your Status
You don’t always have to apply for any new driver accreditation. If you have previously applied or you currently hold accreditation in another state, that accreditation may come under mutual recognition. However, you will need to check this first and you may need to update your national police check too.
If you have previously held driver accreditation but it has expired then you won’t usually have to go through the entire accreditation process again. You can simply apply to have your previous accreditation revived, which can save you a lot of time and money.
Step Three: Check the Application Requirements
The state that you’re applying for driver accreditation in will have a range of requirements. You need to ensure that you know and follow those guidelines. From the duration that you’ve held your valid Australian driver’s license for, to the specifics of the criminal record check, the more that you know about what’s expected of you the better,
Step Four: Traffic History Check
All commercial passenger drivers will need to submit a traffic history check. This is different from a criminal history check. It’s included in the driver accreditation requirements because it needs to be shown that you can safely transport passengers.
However, even if you do have black marks against your driver history, they may not unduly affect your accreditation application. Reviewers will ask the following questions if offences do appear on a traffic history check:
- Are the offences serious?
- Did the driver commit the offences while driving a public passenger vehicle?
- How many offences are there in total and how frequent are they?
- How long ago did the offences happen?
An application will be refused depending on the answers to those questions. In some cases, the application will be slowed down and manually reviewed in detail before a decision is made (this decision can go either way, depending on the findings of the reviewer).
In severe cases, applying for a traffic history check can result in more than simply not getting your driver accreditation. If the offences are serious enough then you may even get your current licence suspended or cancelled.
In those cases, your application for driver accreditation will also be cancelled.
Step Five: Medical History Check
Depending on how you’re planning to use your driver accreditation, you may also need to submit medical history certification. This won’t apply to all submissions for driver accreditation. If you have driving work lined up already with an employer then check their requirements.
A medical history is important for safety reasons, both your own and that of your potential passengers.
Step Six: The National Police Check
This is going to be one of the most important documents to get when you want to apply for driver accreditation. A national police check is a document that provides all of the available information about all of your disclosable court rulings, and any pending or current cases against you.
Fortunately, getting a national police check is easier than ever, and you can now apply for yours 100% online. To get your national police check certificate, you can either:
- Gather all of your documents and proofs of ID and then take them along to your local police station. There, your ID will be confirmed and your application sent off via post. This can take a few weeks to arrive, and you may need to make multiple trips to the police station.
- Apply online using a service like Crime Check Australia. This online service allows you to upload all of your ID and documents and send them off immediately. Most results are returned to you within one business day, so it’s considerably faster than the alternative.
If you’re applying for driver accreditation then speed is often of vital importance. After all, you can’t start work without accreditation which means you aren’t earning. When you use an online service, most police background checks can take as little as a few minutes.
Unfortunately, this can’t be guaranteed, as around 30% of criminal history checks are flagged as needing manual review. This is often due to a potential match with someone who has a criminal record. If you have the same or a similar name to someone with a lengthy criminal history, then your application may get delayed.
There are other reasons why a national police check might take longer to come back to you. If you have offences and rulings on record that are stored on older police databases then that information can take a little longer to find. Hardcopy files are much harder to go through than digital ones.
Your Provided Information when Applying for a Police Check
You’re going to have to input some important information on your police check. One of the most important to get right is the “Proposed Position Title, Occupation, or Entitlement” of the driving job that you want to do. Your answer to that question will depend on your territory or state RTA (Road Transport Authority).
You’ll need to check the guidelines to ensure that you input the relevant answer.
You may also need to disclose the level of contact that your driving job requires you to have with vulnerable people. That’s going to play an important factor in determining your results when applying for driver accreditation.
That’s because if you have a history of violence or abuse, then that’s going to mean limiting your access to vulnerable members of society. Even if you’re planning to drive for a gig economy company they will still have rules and regulations regarding past crimes. They want their passengers to be safe, so if you have a past filled with domestic violence or sexual offences then your application for driver accreditation will be dismissed.
Again, this will vary according to states and territories. That’s why doing your research is so vital when applying for driver accreditation. The RTA in your state will be able to provide more information about what’s expected from you.
Step Seven: Submit Your Application
You have your national police check certificate, your medical history paperwork, and your traffic history all close to hand. Now you simply have to submit your application for driver accreditation. This used to be a long, drawn-out process. Now that this process is online, it’s as easy as getting your police check.
If you don’t want to use the online process, then you can still submit your application via post or in person. You just have to check where in your state or territory you can do so. For example, in South Australia, you can walk straight into the Accreditation and Licensing Centre in Mile End and hand in your forms.
Once your submission has been approved, you will then have to provide a new photo of yourself. This will then be added to your driver accreditation details, and your accreditation card will be delivered to you. If you’re doing this process in person or by post then you can expect to wait up to several weeks for your final card to come through.
If you’ve applied online, then the waiting time is significantly faster, as long as you have provided all of the right documentation and there are no potential stumbling blocks.
Step Eight: Manage your Payments
One thing that you don’t have to worry about with driver accreditation in Australia is keeping up with renewals. This isn’t something that you have to do at all. As long as you keep up your monthly payments then your accreditation will remain valid.
Of course, if you start driving commercially and you then commit a crime you’re convicted for, then your criminal history check will need to be updated. This could affect the validity of your driver accreditation. In those instances, you will usually need to make a completely new application with the updated police check certificate.
What Circumstances result in a Disqualified Driver Accreditation Application?
There are three main reasons for someone to fail their application for driver accreditation in Australia. If any of the following apply to you, then it’s likely that you will simply not get approval for accreditation:
- You have been required by your state or an employer to provide a Working with Children (WWC) check. The results have shown that you are not a suitable applicant for working with children. This can immediately disqualify you from getting your driver accreditation, although this may depend on your employer.
- Your national police check has come back and shows serious and disclosable court rulings. If you have serious crimes such as murder, arson, or assault on your criminal record, then it’s likely that you will not get driver accreditation.
- Your application for driver accreditation will be refused if you do not supply all of the documentation needed. That includes your traffic history and criminal history checks.
Applying for driver accreditation in Australia is incredibly straightforward. The most challenging part is ensuring that you abide by all of the laws and regulations of your state/territory. Do your research and take the time to collect all of the paperwork that you might need.
With more people driving commercially in Australia than ever, the process for obtaining driver accreditation has been designed to be as straightforward as possible. Now that everything can be done online, getting your driver accreditation might be easier and faster than you expected.