The Importance Of Police Checks For Employment Screening

The Importance Of Police Checks For Employment Screening

Employment screening during the recruitment process can be a lengthy task. Choosing who to hire and feeling comfortable about who you can trust is a big decision. For many companies, policies and procedures are in place to help streamline the recruitment process, and to find the best candidate for the job. Obtaining a criminal background check on potential new employees can help companies to make the right decision, and ensure that the likelihood of the candidate posing a threat is minimal.

Many employers use the police checking service as part of their risk assessment process. To eliminate risk or threat to any party, a police check can be issued as an important requirement for pre-employment screening.

The Importance of police checks For Employment Screening

A National police check plays a crucial role in the recruitment process for many employers and organisations. Essentially, an applicant for a job is usually a complete stranger to the employer. By requesting a police check, the identity of the applicant can be verified and confirmed. Any important police history information which may be relevant to the position will be disclosed in the form of a National police check. This allows the employer to make an informed decision before hiring the candidate.

While police checks are not necessary for all industries, as an employer or company you should be aware of whether or not a police check is suitable for the job in question, and whether adding national police clearance as a mandatory requirement will benefit the business in any way.

What Is a police check?

Firstly, it’s important to understand what a police check is. A National police check, also referred to as a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check, is a legal document in Australia coordinated by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, and the accredited body serving as a NPC provider. It is a ‘point in time’ check which declares the police history of an individual after giving their consent, including previous convictions and any other information held in police records.

What Information Will a police check Include?

A National police check is obtained from using the personal details such as name, date of birth and gender to search police databases across Australia. The search will reveal criminal history kept on police records, if there is any. This information will then be released on a National police check following Spent Legislation policies and other considerations determined by each police agency individually.

The results of a criminal history check will show one of two results, either:

  • No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO) or
  • Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCO)

What Are Disclosable Court Outcomes?

A Disclosable Court Outcomes result may include information relating to the following:

  • Charges
  • Convictions/sentences
  • Penalties
  • Court appearances
  • Traffic offences
  • Court orders
  • Findings of guilt without conviction

Why Is a police check Important?

A police check is of great importance when it comes to employment screening. The main factor of importance is safety and security, but there are several other aspects as to why a police check is crucial for choosing the right candidate. There are also many benefits for an employer or company who require that a background check be performed when hiring new employees.

Protection and Security

The most important purpose behind a National police check for pre-employment screening is the most obvious one – for protection and safety. Hiring people you know are safe and trustworthy creates a safer working environment. The check serves to protect the employer, existing employees, clients, consumers, and vulnerable groups. As well as protecting people, a police check can help to protect company assets and private information, as well as prevent cases of fraud or other crimes of an economic nature.

After viewing the information disclosed in a National police check, the employer or recruiter can make an informed decision based on the police information available.


Safety should be a top priority for pre-employment screening. In some industries, the safety of all involved could be jeopardised by a missed opportunity to view an individual’s police history information.

The level of risk involved is dependent upon the job. In cases where the applicant seeks to work with children or vulnerable people, a more thorough check will be required.

Identity Verification

Another primary purpose of a police check Australia is to verify that the person applying for a position is really who they say they are. The police check requires identity documents and personal information from the applicant to validate their identity, as well as a photo ID and selfie for cross referencing. This process not only prevents the individual from others stealing their information and becoming a victim of fraud, but it assures the employer or company that the applicant’s information is accurate and true.

A National Criminal History Check can also confirm the education and employment history of an applicant which in turn helps to speed up the hiring process and verify the accuracy of the information provided.

Faster Hiring Procedure

By requesting a police check from individuals applying for an employment position, the hiring process can be much quicker. As an employer, rather than looking into the background of a candidate yourself or trying to gather information to confirm their application, a police check carried out by an accredited NPC provider will give you the important information you need to know. This saves time and ensures complete identity verification.

Professional Standards

Police checks offer a high standard of procedure for recruitment. Acquiring a criminal history check shows that the employer takes matters seriously when it comes to hiring staff, and screening is a professional way to find candidates who are both suitable and eligible for the position.

Reputation Protection

A reputable company name is important for growth, client satisfaction and trust. Adding Australian police checks to the requirements of a job application shows due diligence on behalf of the company. It is a proactive measure to avoid jeopardizing both the business and its people. Prioritising pre-employment screening shows care and concern toward all parties involved with the job and builds a strong reputation.

Reduce Time Wasting

Requesting a police check before the new employee starts work will prevent time being wasted further down the line. Any training should not be given until the new employee has successfully received national police clearance and eligibility for the role has been confirmed.

The applicant must be proven to be safe for work within the company and to minimise any threat to fellow employees, or any person or people the applicant will have access to within the job. This cuts out any time being wasted on training and preparing a new employee who has not yet been confirmed as suitable and safe for work, as the process would have to start over if the police clearance was unsuccessful.

Working With Children and Vulnerable People

When you apply for a police check online, you will be asked whether you are going to be working with children or vulnerable people. It is highly important that the police agencies know this information so that the correct legislation and spent conviction regimes are applied when conducting the check. Certain prior convictions or charges may be highly relevant to the job that the applicant is applying for, and this will determine if the information, if any, will be released in the results.

Working with children or vulnerable people will have an impact on the information presented in the document, as working with these groups poses a greater risk and a full assessment must be carried out. In some cases, the applicant may need another type of police check called a Working With Children Check.

What Is a Risk Assessment?

Police checks are obtained as part of a risk assessment for new employees. Each company will have its own measures and protocol in place for dealing with new members of staff for health and safety reasons. The level of risk involved is dependent on the position. Most pre-employment screening is conducted to ensure a safe environment for the most vulnerable groups in the community, including children, elderly people and people who have a disability.

A risk assessment is performed as an integral part of health and safety in the workplace. Different organisations and employers have their own safety procedures to follow, but all are designed to reduce the chance of injury, harm, fraud and other economic crimes, and many other risks which threaten the company and its people.

Does Every Employee Need a police check?

Depending on the industry and the organisation, not every new employee will require a National police check. Police checks are compulsory for many industries that work with the public and in care settings. Industries which regularly require a criminal background check are as follows:

  • Community services
  • Healthcare
  • Medical care
  • Childcare
  • Education
  • Government
  • Defence
  • Banking and finance

How Does An Employee Obtain a police check?

To obtain a National police check for employment purposes, the employee can apply for a police check online using an accredited provider such as Crime Check Australia. Many organisations use a preferred provider, so it is a good idea to check with your potential employer which service provider they would like you to use for your police check.

The process is easy if you read through the information thoroughly to ensure you have the correct identity documents and personal information that is needed.

The process can be completed in as little as 5 minutes, and involves entering your details such as name, gender, date and place of birth. Next you’ll need to provide 4 documents to verify your identity, as well as a selfie of yourself holding one format of photo identification.

For further information on the documents personal details needed, visit the Crime Check Australia FAQ page.

What Rights Does The Employee Have?

Any candidate applying for a job is not legally required to volunteer information relating to their police history. If asked for information about their criminal background, they are not obligated to answer. However, the candidate is required to disclose criminal information held on their record if the job requirements specify that a police check is needed, usually in jobs working with children or vulnerable persons.

It can be useful for employers to provide an explanation as to why certain convictions and criminal history is relevant to a particular job. The requirement of a police check should be clearly stated in the job advertisement to give the candidate the opportunity to decide whether they would like to continue with their application.

I Am An Employer And I Want To Know More About police checks For Employee Screening. Who Do I Contact?

If you are an employer and wish to add a National police check to your job entry requirements, contact Crime Check Australia for information about registering as an employer. You can also find more information on the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission website about how to get a check for your employees.