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Why is my police check taking so long?

Put simply, a police check is a record of your criminal history.

Being a national report, it covers all states and territories.

A police check is often required when applying for a job or a volunteer role as it provides an all-important, accurate screening of the applicant’s background.

Getting a police check is usually mandatory when working with children, the elderly, the disabled or vulnerable, and in the health, justice and corrections sectors. It is also common practice in sectors where handling sensitive information is part of the job.

Receiving your results in a timely manner can be crucial to a successful job application, so any delay in this process can, naturally, be very frustrating.

What is the process of applying for a police check?

To get the process started for an individual police check with Crimcheck, you can either apply online or call us.

CrimCheck is accredited with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), so our reports are accepted by all employment and volunteer organisations.

To complete a National Police Check (also called a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check), we need to sight four Identify documents. We will help you securely upload your documents which can be a combination of documents, for example, a passport, a birth certificate, a valid driving licence and a Medicare card. At least one of the documents must have a current photograph.

Your application and identity documents are reviewed by CrimCheck for accuracy and consistency. Then, you must give your consent for this information to be shared with the National Police Checking Service and Australian police agencies.

Who checks your police check?

Once your application has been approved by CrimCheck, it is passed on to the National Police Checking Service, a service used by police agencies Australia-wide. Your details are entered into the national database, which will look for any matches with the Persons of Interest record. If this brings up a match, a search through the Police History Information records will then confirm what information needs to be disclosed in your police check.

These results are then returned to CrimCheck, and we will provide you with the official document called a National Police Check. This document is then passed on to the potential employer as proof of your background and criminal history.

How long does a police check typically take?

The majority of police checks are returned within one business day. However, for various reasons, there can sometimes be a delay and this could mean having to wait up to 15 business days.

Because of such unexpected delays, you should always apply for a National Police Check as soon as you know you need one.

What are the main reasons your Police Check is taking so long?

The police check is a speedy process for most people. It is a computer-operated system that involves running names and details through police databases searching for a match. In most cases, a true match is found easily and quickly.

However, it’s not always possible for the computer system to find a true match. In a case like this, the application needs to be investigated manually in order to conclusively confirm the person’s identity, which can cause a delay.

Some other reasons why your police Check might be taking so long are:

Common names

If you have a name that is fairly common in Australia, your name may match with an individual with a criminal record. If the system flags such a match, this will need further review until your identity can be established and your criminal history record confirmed. This can cause a delay.

You have an issue with a police record

If information about you held on police records is found to be incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete, it will need to be fully investigated until the results of a police check can be confirmed. This can also cause a delay.

Old (Or Wrong) Information

Information that hasn’t been updated on your records may also cause a delay, resulting in police authorities having to collect and assess new information about you.


It’s vital that your application, along with every other application, is managed correctly and meets all requirements set out by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.
Sometimes, there are very high numbers of police checks being submitted simultaneously, which can cause a heavy workload for individual police agencies. This can cause a delay as they need to assess each application with the same strict protocol.

Transfer Delays

For the National Police Checking System to operate successfully, criminal history records must be transferred between police agencies and ACIC accredited providers across all states and territories. Sometimes, this process can take longer, resulting in delays to your application.

How do I prevent a delay?

When applying for a police check, make sure you provide everything required in terms of personal information and identity documentation. Check that you enter the information very carefully to avoid spelling and typing errors, and make sure all of your documents are valid and up-to-date.

Once you are in the system, you can’t do anything to change or speed up the process, so being very careful and precise at the submission stage is the best way to prevent a delay.

Will switching to another provider speed this up?

Submitting another application to another provider will not result in a faster result. In fact, it would probably slow the process due to the system trying to process the same person twice.

Once you have submitted your application, nothing can be done to speed up the process. A police check will only be released once the police agencies are completely satisfied with the application assessment.

Rest assured, CrimCheck is known for its very quick turnaround of police checks.

If I have a criminal record, will it cause delays?

Having a criminal record can cause delays in your application. Here are some possible problems you may encounter:

  • Legal technicalities in different police jurisdictions.
  • Varying legislation and rules in different police jurisdictions, including spent conviction schemes.
  • The state or territory where the offence took place.
  • The process that decides which previous convictions or charges are disclosed as part of the police check.

Can I track a police check?

We are happy to track your police check for you. Just call us or drop us an email with your name and reference number, and we’ll update you with the progress of your application.

"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