Police Checks

Last Updated on July 18, 2024 by Asfa Rasheed

If you are planning to apply for a job or volunteer work, it is likely that you have come across a requirement for police checks on the list of documents that the employer requests from you. But what is a police check, and what do you need to know before applying for a police clearance in Victoria?

What Is a Police Check?

A Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check – also called a police check – is a statement that includes an applicant’s criminal history and past convictions. A police clearance in Victoria will contain the individual’s Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCO), such as traffic charges and pending court charges. If there are No Disclosable Court Charges (NDCO), meaning that there are currently no police records or no records that can be released in a police check, it will say so on the police check.  

When Do I Need a Police Check?

You may require a police check for a number of reasons, including:

  • Employment that involves working in close proximity with vulnerable groups, such as victims of abuse and the refugee population
  • For adoption, both local and overseas
  • For visa and immigration purposes
  • Volunteering with some organisations
  • Applying for employment with the Australian Government
  • For obtaining licenses for certain occupations
  • When applying for jobs that require employees they can trust, such as job roles that involve handling sensitive information

What Are the Types of Police Checks?

There are two common types:

ACIC police check: Provided by the ACIC, these police checks are generally used when applying to be a volunteer or an employee. 

AFP police check: This police check is provided by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), which is more comprehensive than the ACIC police check. AFP police checks are often required for visa applications and immigration purposes, among other reasons.  

All police checks combine data from every Australian police database to produce a comprehensive document. 

For most employment and volunteering purposes, an ACIC police check tends to be sufficient. An applicant may request their Victorian police clearance either from their local police station or through an organisation accredited by the ACIC like Worker Checks. However, applying for police clearance online tends to be faster and more convenient than getting it through your local police station. The cost of getting a police check in Victoria tends to be around $40.  

But keep in mind that some organisations and employers may specifically request a specific type of police clearance, so make sure to check with your employer before applying for the police check.

For How Long Does My Police Clearance Stay Valid?

A police check is a certificate that will only show your criminal record up to the point of time when you have requested your certificate. Therefore, the police check does not expire; whether or not your police clearance is valid depends entirely on the organisation that requires it from you. In most cases, however, organisations will require a police check that is no more than three months old.  

Also, you should know that if you commit an offence between the period of issue of your police check and when the relevant organisation requests one from you, you should make sure to get an updated police clearance to submit. 

When Will I Get My Police Check?

You will usually receive your Victorian police clearance within 24 hours if you apply for it online – sometimes even as fast as 2 hours! However, in some cases, if your personal information overlaps with someone else’s on the database, your application can be reviewed manually to ensure the final certificate is accurate. Since this is a manual process, it can take longer to receive your certificate.

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