Who Can Validate a Police Check
Police checks are becoming a more common request among Australian businesses on the lookout for new employees. Now, more adverts than ever feature a line mentioning the need for a police check. That’s because it’s one of the most effective ways to minimise risk during the recruitment phase and ensure that no obvious mistakes are made that could put a company at risk.
Validating a police check is something that all employers and HR teams are going to have to do at some point. But just how does an employer validate that police check? The good news is that there are some quick and easy ways to ensure that every police check that you get from applicants is valid.
What is a Police Check?
For many jobs in Australia, a National Police Check is asked for before an offer of employment is made. It’s not something that every employer asks for, but the number of vacancies requiring them continues to rise. For those seeking employment, especially if that employment involves government work or coming into contact with vulnerable demographics, a valid police check is crucial.
When you submit an application for a police check you get documentation, including a certificate, that lists any police charges that you have been convicted of. There are some exceptions to when a conviction will appear on a police check certificate.
For example, spent convictions or sentences that come with a Diversion Program will not be listed on a police check certificate. However, serious offences will usually be listed, unless a set time has passed, or if court-mandated.
What is the role of a police check?
A police check is considered as the official document that’s issued as the result of a request for a background check. Sometimes, that police check is requested by the police themselves or a government agency.
Employers can request a national police check of a potential employee, as long as they have the consent of that person. Individuals can also request a police check so that they have an up to date certificate available when applying for new jobs.
To protect Australians and Australian businesses and communities, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) works closely with national police agencies and additional bodies to augment the National Police Checking Service. This service means that a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check can be applied for.
Police checks not only help to protect corporations and business owners. They help to ensure that communities and vulnerable groups have an extra layer of protection. For example, drivers in the gig economy have no formal contract of employment but are still required to submit a valid police check when signing up for gig brands like Uber and Doordash.
Non-profit organisations also depend on police checks to make sure that their volunteers are not hiding any past that may affect their ability to do a sensitive job. From home tutors and nannies to real estate agents and cleaners, a national police check simply ensures that a potential employee is suitable for a position.
A police check makes it much easier to protect vulnerable people. It protects businesses, organisations, and communities from those with ill intent.
Why it needs to be validated
Fraud is a very common crime, and it’s not uncommon for people with something to hide to spend their money on falsified police checks. That means a company or an individual could end up hiring someone who is not suitable or safe to have in that position.
Consider someone with a history of sexual abuse or violence who shows up to an interview at a care home with a fake police check. Unless the fraud is obvious, that person may get a position that they are unsuitable for. Validating a police check is vital, since most people with access to a clean police check certificate and some photo editing skills can adjust names, dates, and details fairly easily.
When recruiters see those fake Australian police check certificates, unless they’re very obviously doctored then they will often pass scrutiny. That means risk to clients, team members, or even corporate assets and brand reputation.
If a screening process currently involves nothing more than a brief perusal of a printed certificate that the candidate brings with them then you’re at risk. You will have a false sense of security because you believe that you’re doing everything right.
Criminals and fraudsters are always at the cutting edge of technology, especially when it comes to falsifying documents. If you don’t have a system in place for the verification of a criminal record check, then you may not spot fake versions.
A criminal records check is often vital during the hiring process. It can be used to gain insights into an applicant’s life and honesty. Unfortunately, that value only exists if instances of forged, tampered with, and altered police check certificates are spotted. That means validation is critical.
The Process of Validating a Police Check
For recruiters, there are many ways to ensure the validity of a national police check. The first (and most straightforward), is to make the application in-house. This means that you’re not relying on a potential employee to provide their own certificate. However, you do still need to obtain consent from every candidate that you need to check.
A request for a police check can be submitted to either a local police or to an accredited organisation like Crime Check Australia. For larger organisations, filing an online request for a police check on behalf of candidates is becoming a lot more common.
In those cases, candidates will have to fill out a police check request form and provide copies of the necessary documents to the employer. The employer will then submit the police check and will have the results sent directly to them. It’s not just corporations that do it this way. Schools and care homes, as well as any organisation that deals with vulnerable groups (the elderly, children etc) will often manage the submissions process themselves.
In terms of copies of the official proofs of ID, candidates may also have to have those validated and certified. When that copy is certified, it is then considered a true copy of an original document. What that means is that a qualified person must be able to authorise that the copy is legitimate.
To get a certified copy of ID documents for a criminal record check, the original document has to be seen by the person who has been chosen to verify it. They must then write or stamp on the copy:
This is a true copy of the original document sighted by me
This needs to be repeated on every copy of every form of ID.
Each page will also have to be signed or officially stamped, along with the name, date, and details of the certifier. In cases where the person verifying the ID copies is a justice of the peace, they must also include their registration number and their Australian state or territory of registration.
You can go into any police station at any point and request for ID documents to be certified. Although you have to provide the copies of your documents, the actual validation will be done for free. You can also often use your local post office for document certification, but this is increasingly becoming a service that you are charged for.
Here is a list of the occupations that are legally allowed to certify copies of photo ID documents for an Australian police check.
- Justice of the Peace, Bail Justice, Registrar or Deputy Registrar
- Bank manager or employee (must have 5+ years of continuous service)
- State executive public service (Level 1, 2 or 3)
- State non-executive public service (Grade 2-6)
- Minister of Religion authorised to celebrate marriages
- Commonwealth exec. public service employee (Level 1 and 2)
- Commonwealth non-exec. public service employee (APS 2-6)
- Member of Commonwealth or State Parliament
- Registered Dentist
- Australian lawyer
- Registered members of the teaching profession
- Registered Medical Practitioner
- Registered nurse
- Veterinary Practitioner
- Councillor of a Municipality
- A senior officer of a council
- Secretary of a building society
- Member of the police force/Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff
- Public Notary
- Clerk to an Australian lawyer
- Casino special employee
- Member of the Australian Defence Force (officers, non-commissioned officers, and warrant officers)
- Members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, the Australian Society of Certified Accountants, or the Institute of Public Accountants
- Member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
So if you want to provide a potential employer with copies of your official ID, you need to take your completed application form, the original documents, and copies of those documents to one of the authorised people. They will certify your signature and your copied documents.
Remember that they must see the original ID documents and then sign each page. Also, you cannot ever certify your own ID.
ACIC Accredited Bodies
While it’s still possible to walk into a local police station with all of the official documents and request a police check, the fact is that most people (and businesses) prefer to do as much of the process online as possible. That’s where services like Crime Check Australia come in.
With a 100% online service that is faster than in-person applications and much more streamlined, it’s not surprising that private individuals submitting a single application are choosing this option. For employers and organizations who submit large numbers of requests for a criminal background check, these services can be invaluable.
Validating a police check certificate when it comes from a company like Crime Check Australia is very straightforward. That’s because we have to be an ACIC accredited business to be able to conduct police checks.
So if you want to validate a police check that a potential employee or volunteer has brought to you, you can easily contact either the ACIC, Crime Check Australia, or whoever the issuing agency is for confirmation. If you do suspect that someone has presented a fraudulent police check certificate then you can report this directly to the ACIC on their complaints and compliments page.
How Long Does a Police Check Stay Valid For?
One of the most common questions in terms of checking the validity of a police check, the answer is that there is no standard length of time that a police check is valid for. A police check is considered something called a ‘point in time’ check.
That means that it is considered valid up to the time and date of its release. That’s why so many businesses and organisations make it part of any employment contract that regular police checks are carried out by employees. After all, someone could be convicted of a crime while working, and this can affect any organization.
It’s also the reason why most recruiters will ask for or submit a new Australian police check for every new employee. Every business and organisation will have their own set of criteria for the acceptable duration of an existing police check. This will be down to their in-house risk assessments and the operational requirements of the available vacancy.
Can a Police Check be Valid for Multiple Jobs?
Generally, a police check cannot be used for a range of different employment types. If you’re an accountancy graduate and you’re only applying for accountancy positions, then you can expect to find that a single police check will be sufficient.
However, if you’re currently working as a receptionist and have provided a valid criminal record check for that role, you cannot then use that same police check certificate to become a volunteer coach for a children’s netball team.
That’s because police checks have an identified purpose, and that dictates what kinds of information are releasable. Since being a netball coach has additional risks involved, it will need to be more in-depth than a police check for a general admin assistant.
Police checks help to keep people and communities safe. As criminals become increasingly tech-savvy, it’s more important than ever that recruiters, HR teams, business owners, and anyone that signs up volunteers are aware of exactly how to validate a police check.
From ensuring that ID documentation is valid and certified to making certain that the police check has been performed by an accredited body, police check validation is essential. Checking that validity could help to differentiate those candidates with nothing to hide and those who would rather remain under the radar.