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POLICE CHECKS FOR EMPLOYERS

Frequently Asked Questions (Employers)

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Below are the most commonly asked questions employers ask about police checks. If you don't find the answer you're seeking in the information below, please feel free to give us a call or send us an email and one of our friendly team will be happy to answer your questions.

 

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This is information relating to any recorded criminal history a person may have. The information is categorised as either Disclosable or Non-disclosable subject to Spent Convictions/non-disclosure legislation and/or information release policies of the individual police agency holding the criminal history records for that individual.

Criminal history information may include outstanding charges and criminal convictions/findings of guilt recorded against a person that may be disclosed according to the laws of the relevant jurisdiction and, in the absence of any laws governing the release of that information, according to the relevant jurisdiction’s information release policy.

Cloak Investigations Pty Ltd (T/A Employment Screening Australia) is an Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) accredited agent for providing criminal history information and police check certificates to individual applicants for employment purposes.

ESA, as an accredited agency, is able to request criminal history information via the National Police Checking Service (NPCS) which is the intermediary between accredited agencies and police agencies.

Once identity verification is completed and the informed consent of the applicant has been obtained, Employment Screening Australia submits the application to the National Police Checking Service (NPCS) central index for potential matches with the name/s of the applicant. If any of the applicant's details match those held on the central index, the application is automatically referred to the relevant police agency. The police agency compares name matches with police history information held in Australian police records. The information is then released subject to relevant Spent Convictions/Non-disclosure legislation or information release policies. NPCS then provides the result of the police check to Employment Screening Australia.

Under Queensland Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1986) a conviction automatically becomes ‘spent’ upon completion of the prescribed rehabilitation period. This period is

  • 10 years for indictable offences where the offender was an adult at the time of the conviction; and
  • Five years for other summary offences where the offender was a juvenile.

Where a person is convicted of a subsequent offence (an offence other than a simple or regulatory offence) during the rehabilitation period, the period runs from the date of the subsequent conviction.

Convictions where the offender is sentenced to more than 30 months imprisonment (whether or not that sentence is suspended) are excluded from the Spent Convictions Scheme, meaning their information can be disclosed at any time.

Once the rehabilitation period has expired, it is lawful for a person to deny (including under oath) that the person has been convicted of the offence, and the conviction must be disregarded for occupational licensing purposes.

It is unlawful for any person to disclose the conviction unless:

  • The convicted person consents;
  • The Minister has granted a permit authorising disclosure;
  • The disclosure is subject to an exemption.

Exclusions

If a third party agency has either complete or partial exclusion from the Spent Convictions legislation, it will, in addition to Disclosable court outcomes be entitled to see all or some ‘spent convictions’ (ie full or partial record) that form part of a person’s record eg for sexual offences and offences against children etc...

Can an Employer ask a job candidate to disclose spent convictions over 10 years old?

No. The candidate should be informed that they are not required to disclose convictions in which the rehabilitation period finished more than 10 years ago.

Yes. As an accredited ACIC broker with access to the National Police Checking Service, all our police checks are conducted nationally.

Yes. ESA can obtain police history information about New Zealanders, however, as New Zealand does not have a National Police Checks Service index like Australia, it can take several weeks for results to be returned.

No. AFP (Australian Federal Police) clearances can only be obtained through the Australian Federal Police.

At Employment Screening Australia, we strive for excellence in customer service and efficiency. However, the time taken to receive results once an application has been submitted to the National Police Checking Service is entirely dependent upon the NPCS and police agencies.

In most cases, applications are processed within 24-48 hours (1-2 business days) from receipt of your documents. Some lodgements, such as those in which there is a name match with a person on the NPCS database or where the applicant is found to have a police history, are usually processed within 10-12 business days. Applications may take longer to process for reasons beyond this agency’s control.

You will be advised via email updates in relation to the status of your application.

Yes, provided you obtain the consent of a parent, guardian or legal representative (as defined by relevant legislation). Proof of permission must be shown before Employment Screening Australia will submit a National Police History Check for a person under 18.

You will be required to upload 5 identity documents.

  • one commencement document to confirm your birth in Australia or arrival in Australia
  • one primary and two secondary documents to show the use of your identity in the community
  • one picture of yourself holding a sheet of paper with your name and date on it.

Their is no need to have your documents certified by a JP.

A commencement document is to confirm your birth in Australia or arrival in Australia. You will be asked to provide one commencement document with your application.

These may include:

  • Full Australian birth certificate (not an extract or birth card)
  • Current Australian passport (not expired)
  • Australian Visa current at time of entry to Australia as resident or tourist
  • ImmiCard issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection that enables the cardholder to prove their visa and/or migration status and enroll in services
  • Certificate of identity issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to refugees and non- Australian citizens for entry to Australia
  • Document of identity issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to Australian citizens or persons who possess the nationality of a Commonwealth country, for travel purposes
  • Certificate of evidence of resident status.

If your commencement and primary documents do not include a photograph, you must submit a passport-style photograph certified by a person listed in Schedule 2 of the Statutory Declarations Regulations 1993 (Cth) for example, a Justice of the Peace.

A primary document is to show the use of your identity in the community.

You will be required to provide one of these with your application.

  • Current Australian driver licence, learner permit or provisional licence issued by a state or territory, showing signature and/or photo and the same name as claimed
  • Australian marriage certificate issued by a state or territory (church or celebrant-issued certificates are not accepted)
  • Current passport issued by a country other than Australia with a valid entry stamp or visa

If your commencement and primary documents do not include a photograph, you must submit a passport-style photograph certified by a person listed in Schedule 2 of the Statutory Declarations Regulations 1993 (Cth) for example, a Justice of the Peace.

  • Current proof of age or photo identity card issued by an Australian government agency in your name with photo and signature
  • Current shooter or firearm licence showing signature and photo (not minor or junior permit or licence)
  • For persons aged under 18 with no other Primary Use in Community Documents, a current studentidentification card with photo or signature.

Secondary documents show the use of your identity in the community, you will be required to provide two of these with your application.

  • Certificate of identity issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Document of identity issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Convention travel document secondary (United Nations) issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Foreign government issued documents (for example drivers licence)
  • Medicare card
  • Enrollment with the Australian Electoral Commission
  • Security guard or crowd control photo licence
  • Evidence of right to a government benefit (Centrelink or Veterans Affairs)
  • Consular photo identity card issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Photo identity card issued to an officer by a police force
  • Photo identity card issued by the Australian Defence Force
  • Photo identity card issued by the Australian Government or a state or territory government
  • Aviation Security Identification Card
  • Maritime Security Identification card
  • Credit reference check;
  • Australian tertiary student photo identity document
  • Australian secondary student photo identity document
  • Certified academic transcript from an Australian university
  • Trusted referees report
  • Bank card
  • Credit card

During the process of obtaining a result, every care is taken to ensure check results are accurate. Employment Screening Australia is subject to strict external auditing and internal quality assurance processes to ensure that results are given accurately. However, the end result depends heavily on the accurate identification of the applicant (including aliases) and the accuracy and comprehensiveness of police records.

A police record may not contain all police history information due to issues with name matching and laws that prevent disclosure of certain police history information.

NPCS results are time limited and should not be relied upon for an unreasonable amount of time.

To the extent permitted by law, all information provided in police history reports is made available for use on the following conditions:

  • Employment Screening Australia makes no representation or warranty of any kind without limitation in respect to accuracy;
  • The information in a police check report should form only one part of any process for determining a person’s suitability for any entitlement, profession, undertaking, appointment or employment.

To the extent permitted by law, Employment Screening Australia accepts no responsibility or liability for any error or omission in the information.

An individual application may have been flagged for further review if it has been matched against someone on the database with a similar name, gender and/or date of birth. When this occurs, the National Police Checking Service (NPCS) instigates a process of review into the application, in consultation with the relevant Australian police agencies, to resolve the match.

NPCS uses its best endeavours to finalise the check request in approximately 10 business days. However, there may be instances where it takes longer.

Once the results of the application have been finalised, ESA is notified and we will then generate your certificate and dispatch them to you via email.

 

Can I call ACIC to discuss my police check progress?

No. ACIC advises that it can only discuss the progress of your application with Authorised Personnel of Employment Screening Australia. All questions should be directed to Employment Screening Australia.

In accordance with Employment Screening Australia’s Information Security Policy, all personal information including Application/Consent forms, copies of identity documents, police history results, dispute forms and other correspondence cannot be accessed by unauthorised personnel and is stored in a secure location. Police check results are retained for a maximum period of 12 months, after which they are destroyed in accordance with our Destruction of Expired Documents Policy.

If the applicant disagrees with their check results, they have the right to formally dispute the accuracy of the check outcome in whole or part. If the applicant chooses to dispute the check result, they must first contact Employment Screening Australia and request an NPCS Dispute Form. They must include as much additional information as possible on the form including an outline of the particulars that are under dispute. For example, attach any evidence that they have to prove that the information is correct eg. An airline ticket to prove that they were in a different location at the time the offense was committed.

Once the dispute form is received, Employment Screening Australia will forward a copy of the form to ACIC. ACIC will then ask the police agency that holds the disputed police history information to investigate the dispute. If, on completion of their investigations the police agency believes the result was released correctly, they will advise ACIC of this outcome and ACIC will advise Employment Screening Australia. If the police agency believes an incorrect result was provided, the police agency will provide ACIC with the updated result.

A. Retain copies of all identity documents for at least 12 months after the date of the police check result but no more than 3 months after the minimum retention period (15 months in total).

B. Retain copies of all application/consent forms for at least 12 months after the date of the police check result but no more than 3 months after the minimum retention period (15 months in total).

C. Destroy police check results within 12 months unless written permission is given by the candidate to retain results for longer than 12 months.

D. Adhere to The Privacy Act 1988 in relation to the storage and handling of personal information.

E. Ensure that identity documents are compared against information provided on the application form.

F. Ensure the correct policies and procedures are in place in accordance with the Service Agreement.

Our accrediting agency, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), requires accredited agencies to put service agreements in place with all our Legal Entity Customers, receiving criminal history information. The service agreement ensures that you are able to meet your responsibilities when it comes to the use and storage of police check results and personal information. Without a signed service agreement between our two organisations, ESA is not allowed to provide police check results to you.