Who Are the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC)?
If you’ve been researching the topic of Australian Police Checks, it’s likely that you’ll have encountered the name Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, or ACIC for short. This government body plays a pivotal role in domestic security matters, with Police Checks falling under its remit.
If you need to submit a Police Check, it’s helpful to understand the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s purpose and its role within the process. This will give you a better idea of what happens after you submit a Police Check and enable you to identify verified Police Check providers.
Who are the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission?
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) is Australia’s national criminal intelligence agency. As part of the Department of Home Affairs, ACIC focuses on the prevention of crime through research and investigative delivery functions.
The body works across the board with state, territory and international partners to safeguard Australia against crime. Part of this process involves the collation of large criminal databases. The ACIC supplies this information when necessary to local police and law enforcement agencies to facilitate the discovery of and response to emerging criminal threats.
What Does the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Do?
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission works with various law enforcement agencies in the prevention and mitigation of crimes impacting Australians and the national interest.
According to the Australian Government website, this can be broken down into four key areas:
- Development of strategic criminal intelligence assessments and advice on crime to enhance the national picture across the spectrum of crime.
- Disruption of serious and organised crime targets and reduction of their impact on Australia by working with international and domestic partners.
- Delivery of special investigations and operations addressing priority areas.
- Development of intelligence sharing services and systems to provide law enforcement agencies with relevant information pertaining to crime.
As part of the ACIC’s ongoing development of criminal intelligence, the organisation maintains a database containing information about every Australian citizen with a criminal record. This database is used to review and issue Police Checks.
Does the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Issue Police Checks?
No, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission does not issue National Police Checks directly, Rather, it helps to oversee the National Police Checking Service (NPCS) by providing the information needed to check a person’s criminal history.
There are two types of groups that work with the ACIC to issue National Police Checks. These are:
- Police agencies. These are the official state law enforcement agencies. Most police agencies provide an online Police Check service. The alternative is to visit your local police station and request a paper Police Check application form.
- Accredited bodies. The ACIC licenses certain organisations outside of the law enforcement system to issue Police Checks.
What is an Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Accredited Body?
An Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Accredited body, or ACIC accredited body, is an organisation that has been officially approved by the ACIC to carry out Police Checks. Unlike police agencies, they lie outside of the law enforcement system.
ACIC accredited bodies provide members of the general public and businesses with a quick and convenient way to submit a Police Check Online. There are currently over 180 ACIC accredited bodies in Australia. Each one has equal access to the National Police Checking Service.
The role of these bodies within the Police Check process is as follows:
- Process incoming Police Check applications.
- Verify the identity of applicants.
- Submit criminal record check requests to the ACIC national database.
- Return the results of these requests to applicants in the form of a National Police Certificate.
Any organisation that submits 500 or more Police Checks over five years is eligible for ACIC accreditation. However, the organisation must also prove that its work has a positive impact on the community before it can be accredited. More information about the ACIC’s accreditation system can be found on their website.
How does the ACIC Accreditation System Work?
ACIC accreditation allows organisations to carry out Criminal History Checks on behalf of individuals and businesses. The path to becoming accredited is quite rigorous. The first requirement is for the organisation to submit a minimum number of 500 Police Checks over a five-year period to become eligible. Once eligible, the organisation must follow these steps:
- Complete the online questionnaire provided by ACIC to verify eligibility.
- Once eligibility has been confirmed, complete and submit the accreditation application form to the ACIC.
- Following successful acceptance of the application, read the terms and conditions of the agreement with the ACIC before finalising the contract.
- Complete mandatory training delivered by the ACIC.
- At this point, the organisation is licensed to conduct Police Checks and will be continually assessed by the ACIC in line with the obligations stated in the agreement.
Failure to adhere to standards laid out in the contract may lead to the accreditation being revoked at any point.
What is the Role of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission during Police Checks?
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission plays a pivotal role within the National Police Checking Service (NPCS). Although it doesn’t issue Police Checks directly, the ACIC provides police agencies and ACIC accredited bodies with the information needed to review and return all applications.
When any Criminal Background Check application is submitted, the provider first verifies the applicant’s identity through document checks. Once this has been confirmed, a request is made to the ACIC to check the applicant’s identity against its national criminal containing information about known Persons of Interest (POI).
If the applicant’s identity matches an existing POI record, the ACIC vets Police History Information (PHI) to determine which information is released as part of the Police Check. This will take into account the purpose and category of the Police Check.
After a final review of ACIC records, the Police Check is returned to the provider with either one of two outcomes. If the applicant has no matching records on file, they will receive a No Disclosable Court Outcomes result. If there are records applicable to the purpose or category of the Police Check, it may be returned with a Disclosable Court Outcomes result.
This concludes the involvement of the ACIC. The Criminal Record Check is then in the hands of the relevant body to return to the applicant.
How do I get an ACIC Accredited Police Check?
An ACIC accredited Police Check is obtainable from around 180 different providers, including Crime Check Australia. CCA offers a convenient online service that takes applicants around 10 minutes to complete, provided they have all the relevant documentation at hand.
The steps for application are as follows:
- Provide your full name, contact details and some information about the category and purpose of your Police Check.
- Pay the application fee using our secure SSL-encrypted system.
- Provide additional information including your date of birth, gender and residential addresses for the last five years.
- Upload a copy of four different ID documents (specific details of which can be found on our FAQ page) and a biometric link that establishes your connection to the documents provided. This is usually a selfie of yourself holding any photo ID.
- Give your informed consent and submit the form.
Once you’ve submitted the form, we verify your identity before submitting a request to check your credentials against the Australian Central Intelligence Commission national database. When this is complete, we return your certificate to you as proof of Police Clearance.
Please check that the ACIC accreditation is visible on the organisation website when selecting your provider. This ensures that the operating body is licensed by the Australian Government to deliver valid Police Checks that are ready for use for a variety of purposes. Alternatively, you can view the full list of ACIC accredited bodies on the ACIC website here.
How Long does an ACIC Accredited Police Check Take?
ACIC accredited Police Checks are typically returned to applicants within one business day, and sometimes within a matter of hours. Occasionally, this process can take longer.
Around 30% of applications are randomly selected for manual review. In this instance, a Police Check may take up to 15 business days to be returned to the applicant. Other delays may occur where the applicant has a common name with multiple entries on the ACIC national database, or if the documents provided contain errors.
Most ACIC accredited bodies, including Crime Check Australia, offer users a tracking service that allows them to view which stage of the process their application is at.
Because of the general speed of return and tracking features, ACIC accredited bodies are able to provide a service that is more convenient than the police agency process for many applicants.
This is particularly true for Police Checks that are submitted at police stations. These paper applications are more susceptible to delays due to handwriting errors, and applicants may be required to return to the police station on several occasions to clear up any inconsistencies.
Either way, any person in need of National Police Clearance for employment or other purposes is urged to submit their application at the earliest convenience to guard against possible delays.
How Long is an ACIC Accredited Police Check Valid For?
An ACIC accredited Police Check has no set expiry date. The validity period will generally be stipulated by the organisation that you are applying to. In many cases, you will have to submit a new National Criminal History Check if you do not have one from the previous three months.
In some professions, such as in the care field, employees may be required to take regular Police Checks. The frequency of these updated checks varies and is decided by the employer.
Where is an ACIC Accredited Police Check Valid?
An ACIC accredited Police Check is a Nationally Coordinated Police Check that takes into account criminal activity across all regions in Australia. Applicants are checked against the ACIC’s national Persons of Interest database, which collates records from every Australian territory and state. As such, the returned Police Check is valid for use nationally.
For example, a Victoria Police Check is also valid in Queensland, and vice versa. Whilst any ACIC accredited Police Check is valid nationally, be aware that some organisations may only accept certificates issued by their preferred provider.
The Australian Central Intelligence Commission (ACIC) is a crucial component of Australia’s anti-crime efforts. It serves as an investigative and research body that collaborates with law enforcement agencies to respond to criminal threats.
One of the ACIC’s core functions is the development of a national criminal database of known Persons of Interest (POI), which brings together records from various state police agencies. This database is used as part of the National Police Checking Service to identify and evaluate a person’s criminal credentials.
Any Police Check application submitted by a police agency or accredited provider is forwarded to the ACIC to check the applicant’s identity against the national database. From this, criminal records are retrieved and conclusions can be drawn about a person’s eligibility for certain roles or positions.