What Shows Up On A Police Check?

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What is a National Police Check?

National Police Checks, commonly known as a Criminal Record Check, is a search of a person’s criminal history to make an informed decision on an individual. They may be used to make decisions in many different situations including:

  • recruitment and job applications
  • volunteer and not for profit positions
  • working with children or vulnerable groups
  • licensing or registration schemes applications
  • work-related checks due to legislation or regulations
  • Australian permanent residence and citizenship
  • visa applications for some countries
  • employment overseas

What comes up in a police check?

A police check will show any disclosable court outcomes. These are findings of guilt unless they have been spent. The outcomes include:

  • unspent convictions,
  • outstanding criminal charges,
  • un-finalised criminal court proceedings,
  • unexpired good behaviour bonds for Conditional Release Orders without conviction.

What is a spent conviction?

A spent conviction is a conviction that does not need to be disclosed on police checks. Not all convictions are capable of becoming spent. Every State and Territory has different rules regarding spent convictions. In NSW, all convictions are capable of becoming spent except the following:

  • Convictions for which a prison sentence of more than 6 months has been imposed
  • Convictions for sexual offences
  • Convictions imposed against body corporates

If your conviction is eligible to become spent, this can occur in different ways. A conviction is spent on completion of the relevant crime-free period or if you received a Conditional Release Order without conviction for a specified term and the term is satisfactorily completed.

What is the crime-free period?

In NSW, the crime-free period in the case of a conviction of a Court is any period not less than 10 consecutive years after the date of the person’s convictions during which:

  • The person has not been convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment, and
  • The person has not been in prison because of a conviction for any offence and has not been unlawfully at large.

How are traffic offences dealt with?

A conviction for traffic offences are not to be taken into consideration when calculating the crime-free period for non-traffic convictions. This applies the other way around and non-traffic convictions are not taken into consideration when calculating traffic convictions. However, there are exceptions to this. A conviction for the following offences will be taken into consideration for both traffic and non-traffic crime-free periods:

  • Dangerous driving occasioning death,
  • Aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death,
  • dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm,
  • Aggravated dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm,
  • Injury by furious driving
  • Manslaughter or causing grievous bodily harm where, the offence arises out of use a motor vehicle.

What happens when a conviction becomes spent?

There are exceptions, however, if a conviction has been spent, you do not have to disclose to any person for any purpose, information concerning the spent conviction. Any question concerning your criminal history is taken to refer only to any convictions of the person which are not spent.

The above does not relate to employment of certain occupations and in court proceedings

What type of employment do spent convictions not apply to?

Spent convictions can be accessed when applying for employment in certain occupations. These include:

  • Justice of the peace,
  • Police officer,
  • Staff member of corrective services
  • Teacher or teachers aid

Furthermore, they can be accessed when an application by a person for a working with children check, a worker check for the NDIS or in relation to an arson or attempted arson conviction, you are seeking to become a firefighter.

Does the Court see my spent convictions?

Spent convictions do not apply to proceeding before the court. All convictions will be taken into consideration when the court is making a decision.

What can I do if I believe a spent conviction should not appear on my police check?

If your police check contains a conviction that you believe should be spent, you can dispute the result through the organisation that requested to police check.

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