Can I Dispute My Results?
When you apply for a police check online, a criminal background check is performed to check your police history, and to confirm that you are who you say you are. After successfully completing police clearance, you will receive a national police certificate detailing the results of your criminal record check.
Once you obtain your police check, you should check the information on the certificate very carefully. While every care is taken, there are sometimes occasions when the information released on a police check is incorrect. This can be due to many factors.
If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your results, you can lodge a dispute. Here is everything you need to know about the process, including reasons as to why you might want to appeal your results.
Can I Dispute My Results?
Yes, you can dispute the results of your police check. If you are not happy with the information shown on your national police certificate, you should get in touch with Crime Check Australia immediately.
Contact us for any queries regarding your police check and we will contact the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) on your behalf. Crime Check Australia will also assist you in contacting the relevant police agency.
You should note that lodging a dispute does not guarantee that the results of your police check will be changed. However, an investigation will always be carried out following your appeal.
What Exactly Is a Dispute?
A dispute is essentially a disagreement. In cases of national police checks, a dispute happens when the applicant believes that the information on their national police certificate is incorrect. There could be a very small error or a more serious one, and there are many reasons as to why it may have occurred. Whatever the error, it should be reported and amended as soon as possible.
All applicants are entitled to access their police check results after applying for a Police Check Australia, from the accredited bodies as soon as they are available.
How Do I Dispute My Results?
To dispute the results of your police check, you must contact Crime Check Australia as soon as possible to move forward with the dispute process. You will need to explain in detail your reasons for wanting to dispute the results of your check. It will help your case if you have any additional documentation to support your claims.
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What is the Dispute Process?
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission outlines six steps to completing the dispute process. In summary, these are as follows:
- Check result
- Applicant receives result
- Applicant contacts the accredited body
- Complete the dispute form
- Police review result
- The applicant receives the outcome of the dispute
Firstly, you must contact Crime Check Australia, or the relevant police agency which handled your application. You will need to clearly explain the reasons as to why you want to dispute your check results and be prepared to provide supporting documentation or proof of your claims.
Your dispute will then be added to the national database for additional examination. The police agencies who granted the release of your check information will further investigate the appeal until they reach an outcome. To do this, they may acquire more personal information and documentation from you to inform their decision.
The accredited body or police agency who processed your application will then inform you of the outcome of the dispute.
What Will the Dispute Outcome Be?
Following further investigation and another background check, the outcome of the dispute will be one of two results:
- Successful dispute outcome
- Unsuccessful dispute outcome
The successful dispute outcome means that the error has been recognised and amended on your check result. The unsuccessful dispute outcome means that the dispute has not been successful and the police check result will stay the same, and no amendments will be made.
If you still believe that there is a problem with your police check, you can challenge the unsuccessful dispute outcome. In this case, additional information may be gathered to support your dispute.
How Long Does the Dispute Process Take?
There is no set timeframe as to how long it takes to process a dispute with your national police check. As there can be many reasons why an individual might want to dispute the results of their check, there is no guarantee as to how long it will take to resolve the issue, or if the issue will be resolved at all. This is because there is no guarantee that the dispute process will result in your national police certificate being altered or amended.
The best way to help the process along is to provide evidence of any mistakes or information believed to be incorrect. The more information you can offer to help your case, the more likely it is to be resolved as soon as possible. Searching for documents and relevant information before starting the dispute process will save time further down the line.
If an unsuccessful dispute outcome is determined, an appeal can be lodged to challenge the result a second time. This will lengthen the process further.
Who is Involved in the Dispute Process?
When raising a dispute, there are three parties involved: the applicant, the accredited body, and the police agency.
The process will begin with the applicant raising the question or issue by contacting the accredited body which handled the application. The accredited body or police agency will then liaise with the individual police agencies which granted the release of the information on the police check certificate.
The police will review the dispute by completing further searches and carrying out an investigation into the claims until a new outcome is reached.
The outcome will either support the dispute or determine that there is no change to be made. The dispute result will then be passed on to the applicant by the accredited body involved.
How Do I Find Inaccuracies in My Certificate?
Before you consider lodging a dispute for your national police check, you must first check that there is something wrong with your certificate. It is very important that you find any mistakes so that they can be amended, and a formal dispute must be lodged right away.
Anybody can apply for a national police check at any time, but that does not diminish its importance. An NPC is a vital document to have, and one which must be fully understood by the applicant.
To find inaccuracies in your certificate, you should do the following:
- Confirm that your personal details are correct. This includes your name (primary name, surname, previous name, maiden name etc.), your gender, and your place and date of birth
- Carefully read the Disclosed Court Outcomes and ensure that these belong to you. In some cases, Spent Convictions may not be disclosed on your certificate, but this varies between different police jurisdictions and the legislation in place
- Check all spellings
- Confirm that the data is still valid, and in date
A national police certificate is a critical document, and any mistakes must be rectified to avoid cases of identity theft and fraud. It should be relatively easy to spot a mistake within your document, as you are likely to already be fully aware of your personal information and police history.
What Are Valid Reasons for a Dispute?
While much care is taken to avoid mistakes, errors on your NPC can arise from several different sources.
There are many reasons why a dispute might occur. It could be one of the following:
- The applicant has been wrongly identified
- Police records have not been correctly matched to the applicant
- The applicant submitted incomplete information at the time of application
The applicant can lodge a dispute for the following reasons:
- The police information on the NPC does not belong to the applicant
- Some or part of the police information on the NPC does not belong to the applicant
- The police information is correct, but the details are inaccurate
- The police information belongs to the applicant, but it should not have been released (e.g. a juvenile or spent conviction)
How Can I Prepare to Dispute My Results?
To prepare yourself for a dispute, you should make sure that your claims regarding the inaccuracies on your NPC are correct. You will need to provide as much information as possible to support your claims, whatever the reason. Any additional information you can provide will help the process and give you the best chance of receiving a successful dispute outcome. This will aid the investigation and help to proceed with a quicker and smoother process.
What Can I Do to Speed Up the Dispute Process?
While you have little control over the handling of the dispute process, there are some things you can do beforehand to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible.
Before contacting the relevant police agency or accredited body, you should gather as much information as possible to support your claim. Any evidence you can provide to prove inaccuracies or support your concerns will help the process.
The more information the accredited body has, the more investigative research they can carry out. This will also help them to assist you in the best possible way, and reach an outcome as soon as possible.
What Happens After I Dispute My Results?
After you have spoken with Crime Check Australia and lodged your dispute, you will need to wait for the outcome. Once processed, you will be informed of the outcome, whether successful or unsuccessful.
If successful, your police check result will be changed accordingly. If unsuccessful, you have the option to accept the result, or challenge the outcome again.
Can I Contact ACIC to Dispute My Results?
No, you cannot raise a dispute through the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) directly. While they are a part of the dispute process, ACIC will only work with the accredited bodies or police agencies on your behalf.
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission does not release the results of a police check; they are the system which allows the accredited bodies and police agencies access to the National Police Checking Service.
You must contact Crime Check Australia directly, or the other accredited body or police agency you used when submitting your NPC application.
How Do I Contact Crime Check Australia?
To contact Crime Check Australia with any queries or doubts you have about your police check certificate, click here.
Phone lines are open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm AEST.
You can also complete the contact form or send an email to email@example.com and you will be assisted from there.
For any other questions, visit the police check Frequently Asked Questions page. You can contact the customer service advisors at any time for assistance.