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What is a Police records check?

Across many industries it is now a mandatory requirement that people have a valid criminal history check for employment, voluntary work and occupation-related licensing or registration purposes.

A criminal history check (also called a Police records check, or a national Police check) is a report of a person’s disclosable court outcomes and pending charges. Depending on the purpose of the check “Spent convictions ” may or may not appear on a report. Similarly, some Police jurisdictions have differing policy relating to traffic, violent and sexual offenses.

KVS offers two options for these checks, National Police Checking Service (NPCS) through the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and AFP National Police Check (NPC) and applicants should make sure of the format needed prior to placing the application.

What you will get?

Both processes provide a document that lists an individual’s disclosable court outcomes and pending charges sourced from the databases of all Australian Police jurisdictions.

The NPC provides a certificate containing a number of inbuilt security features whereas the ACIC NPCS report does not. Not surprisingly, the ACIC report is a significantly cheaper alternative but does provide the same information.

In either format certain convictions such as spent or juvenile convictions, may not be disclosed in accordance with the legislation and policies of the various police jurisdictions.

There is no expiry date for validity of criminal history checks but it is important to remember that any report is the result of a check of police records only up until the day it is issued. It is up to each organisation (in the absence of any legislation applicable to their industry /profession) to determine how often a new check needs to be conducted.

Some areas of Government or industry do have either direct legislation or licensing regulation which require a police check be conducted at certain intervals. The best source of information in regard to this is the professional or industry governing body which relates to the area.

Spent Convictions Scheme

The scheme applies to spent convictions where a waiting period has passed and the individual in question has not re-offended.

The following conditions apply to convictions for a Commonwealth, Territory, State or foreign offence:

  • it has been 10 years from the date of the conviction (or 5 years for juvenile offenders)
  • the individual was not sentenced to imprisonment for more than 30 months
  • the individual has not re-offended during the 10 year (5 years for juvenile offenders) waiting period
  • a statutory or regulatory exclusion does not apply

The scheme also covers convictions that have been set aside or pardoned under Part VIIC of the Crimes Act 1914. An individual whose conviction is protected does not have to disclose the conviction to any person, including a Commonwealth authority.

What is involved in getting a Police records check?

The application process for the two alternatives (NPC and ACIC NPCS) differs slightly but both require confirmation of identity through the provision of specified documents, and a General Consent confirmation giving the authority to search for the information as required by the Privacy Act.

It is a requirement that some of the documentation needed must be certified by an authorised person. These details are clearly stated on the application forms.

List of authorised certifiers:

  • Justice of the Peace, Bail Justice, Registrar or Deputy Registrar
  • Bank manager or employee with 5 or more 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 1-2)
  • Commonwealth non-exec. public service employee (APS 2-6)
  • Member of Commonwealth or State Parliament
  • Australian lawyer (Legal Profession Act 2004)
  • Accountant (member of the ICA, ASA, NIA or CPA)
  • Registered members of the teaching profession
  • Registered Medical Practitioner (Medical Practice Act 1994)
  • Registered Dentist (Dental Practice Act 1999)
  • Registered nurse
  • Pharmacist
  • Veterinary Practitioner
  • Councillor of a Municipality
  • Senior officer of a council (Local Government Act 1989)
  • Secretary of a building society
  • Member of the police force
  • Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff
  • Public Notary
  • Clerk to an Australian lawyer
  • Casino special employee (Casino Control Act 1991)

The forms for the two processes are and contain full explanations of requirements. Once the appropriate form has been completed, this and the requisite documentation must be forwarded to:

Key Vetting Services 
PO Box 1489 
Canberra City
ACT 2601

How long will it take to get a criminal history check?

The ACIC National Police Checking Service report has an expected turnaround time of 24 – 48 hours once all required documentation has been provided.

The AFP National Police Check will require a minimum of ten working days to complete.

Either process can be delayed if further information is required from interstate jurisdictions.

What if my Police records check is incorrect?

A dispute resolution process exists for all criminal history checks (Police records checks) and can be managed through KVS on behalf of applicants.