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Police check Australia: The Ultimate Guide to Providing One to Your Employer

Has your employer recently asked you to undertake a police clearance

You will probably have countless questions buzzing around in your head. 

Maybe you are wondering what this document is and why your employer has asked you to provide one. Or perhaps you are curious to learn more about how you can order yours.

Whatever questions you have, you can rest assured that there are countless other employees or new hires out there who have asked the very same ones. 

To help you get the answers you’re looking for, we put together the following expert guide to providing a police check to your employer. 

Our guide will equip you with all of the useful information you need to proceed with confidence. Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.

Police check Australia: Definition

In Australia, a police check is an official document that states the results of a criminal background check conducted by Australian police forces. It is often referred to as a criminal background check, police clearance, national police certificate, national police clearance, national criminal history check, and criminal record check, among other names.

The document will list any disclosable criminal offences that the given applicant has committed in any Australian state or territory. 

It is important to note that there are two main types of police check available:

  • An employment police check
  • A volunteer police check

Each serves a particular purpose, so it is vital to order the correct type for your circumstances. As the reason you need one is related to your current or future employment, you should make sure to opt for an employment police check.

Why is My Current Employer Asking Me to Provide One?

If you are an existing employee or a new hire, there are a variety of reasons why your current employer may be asking you to provide a national police clearance.

For example, it may be a legal requirement to obtain one from certain types of employees in some companies, organisations, or government departments and agencies.

Another possible reason could be that this document is required by your current or future employer for occupation-related licensing or registration purposes, or to meet internal compliance standards.

Needless to say, only your employer can clarify why they are making this request. So if you are seeking a more definitive answer to this question, the only way to find out is to ask the relevant point of contact in your workplace.

If you are concerned about the legality of your employer asking you for your criminal record information, refer to this link from the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Why Am I Being Asked to Provide One Before I Have Even Been Hired?

Some employers may ask job seekers to undertake a police check or share the results of their criminal history.

Employers may make this request as a means of screening potential hires. Others may do so for occupation-related licensing or registration purposes, or to meet internal compliance standards. The request could be issued at any point during the hiring process, from the job application stage to the interview stage.

If you have been asked to provide a police check as a job seeker, it is crucial to know your rights. The Australian Human Rights Commission states that an employer may be obliged to ask a job applicant for criminal record details where there is a clear legal requirement that an employee or job applicant should not have a certain criminal record.

An employer may also ask for criminal record details from you even if there is no external requirement, as long as there is “a connection between the inherent requirements of a particular job and a criminal record.”

That is, there must be reasonable grounds for an employer to ask for your criminal record details as a job applicant. Otherwise, the employer may be found to be in breach of either anti-discrimination laws or privacy laws.

If your employer indeed has reasonable grounds to make this request, they are required to ask for your consent. This means that your employer cannot force you to undertake a criminal record check or demand that you disclose your criminal history.

That said, if you choose not to do so in such circumstances, you may face certain consequences. To learn more, refer to the next section.

Police Check Australia

Is it Mandatory to Provide a Criminal Record Check to My Employer?

An employer cannot force you to provide a criminal record check. It is ultimately your decision to provide it or not.

However, if providing one is mandatory in order to carry out your current or future role, there will very likely be consequences if you choose not to provide one.

The most obvious possible consequence is that you will not be able to continue working in your current role or get hired for a new role.

This is an all but certain consequence when it comes to working for a state or federal government department or agency. Government departments must uphold strict standards about who they can employ, which is why a criminal record check is a standard mandatory document for new hires in many (if not most) departments.

As such, if you are asked to provide or undertake one and you refuse to do so, you will not be able to gain or maintain your employment in the given department.

This is also the case for many aged care positions. Both employees and subcontractors working in aged care whose work involves taking supervised or unsupervised care of elderly individuals are legally required to undertake a police check for employment purposes.

In fact, it is a legal requirement for aged care providers to maintain an up-to-date record of all staff members’ police checks (of which must have been taken within the past three years).

If, for whatever reason, you do not wish to provide your criminal record check to your employer, ask them about the avenues you have at your disposal. If you are part of a union, they may be able to provide you with advice as well.

My Employer is Discriminating Me on the Basis of My Criminal Record - What Can I Do?

If you believe that you have been discriminated against in your conditions of employment on the basis of your criminal record, you can file a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission or reach out to your HR department at work.

What Information Will Appear in My National Criminal History Check?

One of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to national criminal history checks for employment purposes is: “What information will appear on mine?”

As mentioned, your national criminal history check will state any disclosable criminal offences that result from a criminal background check conducted by Australian police forces.

The document will include any disclosable criminal:

  • Offences
  • Records
  • Pending Australian cases within Australia
  • Court sentences
  • Disclosable court outcomes (DCOs)

So what exactly does ‘disclosable’ mean in this context? Put simply, it means that a criminal offence/s you have committed will not necessarily appear on your national criminal history check.

To be more specific, whether a criminal offence will or will not appear will depend on if it is legally considered to be “spent.”

According to the Spent Convictions Scheme (sometimes referred to as the Spent Convictions Legislation), a spent conviction is a criminal conviction that can no longer be disclosed due to the fact that certain conditions have been met.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) states that the Spent Convictions Scheme works by “limiting the disclosure of certain older offences once a period of time passes during which a person has committed no further offences. This period is known as the 'waiting period' or 'crime-free period' and is generally 10 years where a person was dealt with as an adult and 5 years otherwise (3 years in NSW).”

It is important to keep in mind that while in most cases, you will not be required to disclose a spent conviction to an employer nor will your criminal record show it, certain jobs are exempt from Spent Convictions Legislation. For example, any criminal record checks undertaken for individuals wishing to teach in government schools will be exempt from this legislation.

In some jurisdictions, there are also certain offences that are exempt from this legislation, such as sex offences.

To add to this, the AFP notes that details of older convictions and/or findings of guilt may be disclosed if the applicant requires a police check for certain purposes. For example:

  • Working in Aged Care/working with the Aged
  • Working with children/working as a teacher/teacher's aide
  • Working with or caring for the disabled
  • Hospital employment
  • Firearms permit applications
  • Firefighting/fire prevention
  • Immigration/Citizenship
  • Immigration Detention Centre employment
  • Some Government security clearances
  • Superannuation trustee
  • Some overseas employment
  • Taxi/Uber/Bus driver accreditation

Of course, if you have never committed a criminal offence, your criminal record will clearly state this. A criminal record that is free of any recorded offences is often referred to as a “clean criminal record.”

Will I Still Be Hired if I Have a Criminal Record?

It is up to each employer to determine whether they will hire an individual with a criminal record.

An employer may either be legally required or bound by certain internal policies to reject anyone who has a) committed certain offences or b) who does not have a clean criminal record.

If in doubt, ask your employer to provide more information.

Police check Australia: What Are My Options for Ordering One?

The process of ordering your police check and receiving the results will vary depending on how you file it. We have outlined the key ways you can order yours, along with what to expect with each process.

Ordering Online Using an Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) Accredited Online Provider

If you are asked by your employer to order your own police check, ordering yours online using an Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) accredited online provider, like Crime Check Australia, is by far the quickest and easiest option.

While we can’t speak for other online providers, at Crime Check Australia, you can expect the ordering process to take only a few minutes to complete. You can complete the entire process 100% online, whenever and wherever you want using your preferred device.

Our online order form is quick and easy to fill out, thanks to its streamlined design and easy-to-understand instructions. We have also made it a completely stress-free process to upload copies of your mandatory ID documents.

When you place an order with us, you are always welcome to contact our friendly customer support team if you have any problems or questions.

After you submit your application, we will file it on your behalf with the relevant Australian police agency. Once we receive your results, we will send an official digital copy to your email, which you can then instantly forward to your employer.

The beauty of this method is that you will always have a copy of your results in your inbox, ready to send to whoever requests it.

So how long will you need to wait until you receive your results? Well, a whopping 70% of our customers receive theirs in just one business day!

Ordering At Your Local Police Station

Another option is to request your police check at your local police station. As you can imagine, this method is not nearly as quick or convenient as the one above.

Think about it: you will first need to first find the time to go into a police station. Once there, you will need to complete a physical form and hand it over to a police officer, along with your mandatory ID documents. If you have any questions or concerns, you will need to wait until a police officer can assist you.

The amount of time this will take from start to finish will depend on both how well-staffed and busy the station is at the time.

Speaking of waiting, unlike ordering your police check online, people who use this method generally need to wait several days to receive their results.

All in all, it can be a huge headache to order your police check at your local police station. So it’s no wonder why thousands of people choose to order theirs online with Crime Check Australia.

Via Your Employer

In some cases, you will have no choice but to file your police check via your employer. If your employer will file it on your behalf, you will need to complete a police check request form and hand over copies of your mandatory ID documents to your employer. Your employer will then put in a request for your police check and will receive the results of it directly.

For example, in order to teach in a NSW government school after completing an appropriate teaching degree, you must fill out a police check request form and upload your mandatory ID documents online via the Department of Education’s portal. Upon receiving your form and mandatory ID documents, the Department will request for a police check to be conducted on your behalf. The Department will then receive the results and will determine if they are acceptable.

Why Do I Need to Use an Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) Accredited Provider to Place an Online Order?

If you choose to order your police check online, choosing an ACIC accredited online provider isn’t just optional. In order for an online provider to legally provide individuals with police checks in Australia, they must be accredited by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC).

That is why Crime Check Australia is one of the few legitimate online providers in the country. We are accredited by the ACIC as an Official National Police Checking Service (NPCS) provider, so you can rest assured that when you order with us, you will receive a legitimate and universally-accepted police check report.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a police check for Employment Purposes?

Ordering a national police certificate for employment purposes through Crime Check Australia will cost a total of $98.00 (including G.S.T).

Do I Have to Pay for My police check or Will My Employer Pay for it?

Many, if not most, employers will cover the cost of your police check in Australia if you are a new hire or if you need to provide one to comply with legal requirements associated with your profession, internal company standards, and/or for occupation-related licensing or registration purposes.

However, if you are a job seeker who is asked to provide one as part of the hiring process, it is less likely that the respective company will cover the cost of it.

The good news is that if you do need to pay out of pocket for yours, you may be able to claim it as a tax deduction. According to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), you are legally entitled to “claim a deduction for the cost of providing a police check to your employer as you are required to, in order for you to maintain your current employment.”

I Need to Urgently Hand Over My police check results - What Should I Do?

If you are dealing with a tight deadline, Crime Check Australia has you covered. We have a proven track record of delivering most of our customers’ police check results within 24 hours.

Where Can I Turn to For More Information and Support?

At Crime Check Australia, we strive to support our customers through every step of the national police certificate process. That is why we have pieced together a number of informative guides about obtaining this document in each state and territory in Australia.

For example, residents of New South Wales can consult our police check NSW guide, while residents of Victoria can look to our police check VIC guide for help.

In addition, our homepage has an extensive FAQ section you can turn to. If you still require more information or have any further questions, our customer support team is always happy to help out. Simply fill out our contact form or click here to send them an email.