A police check is a record containing either an individual’s disclosable court outcomes (DCOs) or no disclosable court outcomes (NDCO). An NDCO means that the individual has no criminal history. Police checks are authorised by the databases of police agencies across Australia. A police check certificate uses the National Names Index, the individual’s date of birth, residential addresses, and fingerprints (if applicable) to detail the criminal background of the person undergoing the check.
Most organisations within childcare, aged care, and other industries working with vulnerable people require a police check certificate before offering employment to an applicant. However, other industries may or may not require a police check certificate before offering employment. Police checks intend to reduce the risk of fraudulent behaviour and damage to a company’s reputation by filtering out individuals whose criminal pasts suggest repeated criminal activity. However, depending on your prior convictions, how long ago they were, and how your criminal history relates to the role you are applying for, it is still possible to be offered a job with past convictions.
Any prior convictions that you have are highly likely to appear on your police check. However, the laws vary from state to state, and there may be some convictions that show up on one state’s police check certificate and not another’s. Again, this is dependent on the conviction, the time that has elapsed since, and the laws of your jurisdiction.
Waiting for the results of a police check can be frustrating, and it is normal to feel nervous about what will show up on your police check, even if you don’t have prior convictions. Even those with convictions may be unsure which will be classified as ‘spent’ or NDCO.
A police check will display all disclosable court outcomes. All criminal charges will be displayed, including suspended sentences, any findings of guilt, pending court charges, convictions that led to served sentences, and all other criminal convictions that are not classified as ‘spent convictions’. Criminal convictions include crimes like speeding, shoplifting, and drunk driving. If you do not have a criminal history, your police check will turn up an NDCO.
In addition to findings of ‘no disclosable court outcomes’, there are certain offences and convictions that do not show up on a police check. The first of these are spent convictions. Spent convictions are prior convictions that are removed from an individual’s record upon completing a probationary crime-free period following the original conviction. The rules regarding spent convictions vary from state to state but typically include offences longer than ten years ago if committed by a legal adult or five years ago if committed by a minor (at the time). The individual must not have been in prison for the conviction, and they must also not have been convicted of another punishable offence during the crime-free period.
In addition to the spent convictions scheme, offences that resulted in findings of not guilty and dropped charges will not appear on a police check. On top of that, convictions that occurred outside of Australia, traffic infringements that did not lead to convictions, diversion programs, and incidents that were prosecuted by authorities that were not the police also won’t show up.
A spent conviction does not show up on a police check. A conviction that is considered spent meets the criteria to be removed from an individual’s criminal history. As per Section 12 of the 1991 Criminal Records Act, you are not required to disclose a spent conviction to anyone for any reason. A period of ten years must have elapsed with no further convictions if the offender was an adult at the time of the first conviction.
Unless the Section 10 has a bond or intervention order, it will not appear on a police check. A Section 10 with a bond or intervention order will be on a police check until the bond or rehabilitation program is finished. Once finished, the matter becomes a spent conviction and will not show on your police check.
While an intervention order won’t show up on an individual’s criminal records, it is possible that it will show up on a national police check. While intervention orders are not criminal offences, they can negatively affect your chances of getting a job, volunteer position, or licence.
Police cautions remain in police files, but they do not show up on police check certificates. This is because police cautions are not criminal convictions. No one but the police can access your police cautions. So, your potential employer will not be able to see your caution, nor are you required to disclose any information about cautions.
Drink driving is what’s known as an infringement conviction. This occurs when you are convicted of a driving infringement. Offences such as drink driving, driving under the influence of drugs, or driving at excessive speeds can show up on a police check.
Because the Court can issue a Section 9 Good Behaviour Bond even if an individual is found guilty, a Section 9 will show up on a police check. The Section 9 will come up as a disclosable court outcome.
CrimCheck offers individual police checks using our National Criminal History Check service. If you are looking for volunteer or paid employment, use CrimCheck to get your accurate and up to date police check. Contact us today and use our self-service portal to get your fast and hassle-free police check.
"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