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How Far Back Does A Police Check Go In Australia?

How Far Back Does a Police Check Go In Australia?

Police checks show disclosable court outcomes (DCOs) which are run across all Australian police agencies. This includes findings of guilt (convictions), sentences, suspended sentences, penalties, pending charges, good behaviour bonds, community-based orders, and more. Police checks give employers access to an applicant's criminal history and are a vital part of the hiring process. Around 86% of Australian businesses require potential employees to undergo a criminal history check. In industries like childcare and aged care, police checks are required by law in most states. A police check will detail an individual’s entire disclosed criminal background. With the exception of spent convictions, police cautions, and sections, any conviction on your police record will show on a criminal history check.

What is a spent conviction?

A spent conviction is a prior conviction that has been removed from an individual’s criminal record after satisfying specific requirements. It aims to prevent discrimination based on certain prior convictions. For a conviction to be spent, it generally requires that the individual successfully complete a crime-free probationary period following the original conviction. For adults, this period is ten years without a further conviction. If the individual was convicted as a minor, this period is five years. The individual must have received no prison time or have not been imprisoned for more than 30 months for the conviction if they wish to receive a spent conviction in the future. Spent convictions do not show up on police checks, and individuals are not required to disclose a spent conviction to an employer for any reason.

What qualifies as a spent conviction?

Any conviction that resulted in less than 30 months prison time, doesn’t include a serious, violent, or sexual offence, or is not in the interest of public safety and crime prevention can qualify as a spent conviction. Each Australian state has its own laws regarding spent convictions, and a conviction that may be considered spent in one state may not be considered spent in another. It is also important to remember that certain convictions that may be spent will be released on a background check if the offence was violent or sexual, and the check is to work with vulnerable populations (childcare, aged care, etc.).


Police checks are increasing in popularity and for good reason. They are a great way of deciding who is suitable for a role and can give information into the conduct of a person’s character. While it is possible to receive an offer of employment with a criminal history, it depends heavily on the severity of the crime and how it relates to the position you are applying for. To fight against discrimination, there are spent convictions schemes to aid individuals who have completed a probationary period with no further offences. Generally speaking, a police check will include all relevant DCOs in an individual’s criminal history.

Looking for a police check?

Crimcheck offers individual police checks for potential employees and police checks for businesses. Most criminal history reports can be returned within 24 hours and can be done remotely. CrimCheck uses our National Criminal History Check service to give accurate and up-to-date reports on individuals’ prior convictions. Contact us today and get police checks for yourself or your business hassle-free and in a timely manner.

"I have been using CrimCheck for some years now and I have had nothing but great service from the system and staff. I would recommend CrimCheck to anyone wanting an efficient, user-friendly service."

Andrea, St. Luke's Anglicare