Why your Australian National Police Check might be ‘referred’

Why your Australian National Police Check might be ‘referred’

If you’ve ordered a police check for employment and it’s been delayed, don’t panic. We explain the Australian National Police Check process and what being ‘referred’ really means.

What is a National Police Check?

A background check in Australia commonly includes (or is referred to as) a National Police Check or ‘police check’. It’s simply the process of checking someone’s details against a central police database of people with a police history. The system is called the National Police Checking Service Support System.

Why would I need a police check?

It’s very common to have a police check done as part of pre-employment screening. You might also need one for volunteering, licensing, professional registrations, immigration (checks carried out by the Australian Federal Police only in these instances), adoption, or preparation of documents for court.

How are Australian National Police Checks done?

After you’ve given informed consent and done a 100-point ID check, your details (name, date of birth and gender) are automatically checked against the police database for possible matches. If you have lived in more than one state or territory, a national police check might also take a little longer to get the results.

There are two outcomes of this automatic search – ‘No Disclosable Court Outcomes’ or a potential match with someone in the database who is known to the police.

What is a ‘Disclosable Court Outcome’?

Disclosable court outcomes are when charges and court convictions (including the associated penalties and sentences), findings of guilt with no conviction, court appearances, court orders including good behaviour bonds, matters waiting for a court hearing, and traffic offences.

Depending on the purpose of the police check, spent convictions may not be included. For checks related to teaching jobs, licensing or overseas visas, it’s likely that relevant spent convictions will be disclosed.

What does ‘No Disclosable Court Outcomes’ mean?

No disclosable court outcomes on completed police checks means there is no record of court convictions, findings of guilt or any police history information held by any police agencies on the person completing the police check.

What does it mean if my police check is ‘referred’ or delayed for ‘manual processing’?

If your police check is ‘referred’ or delayed for ‘manual processing’ it just means the automated search of the police database detected a potential match and the check has been highlighted to the police for further investigation. It’s pretty common – about a third of police checks get referred causing a delay. It might just be because your name and birth date are similar to someone in the database who does have convictions, the system cannot automatically assign them to you. Therefore, a delayed police check is required to be manually processed to work out if the match is correct or not.

What happens next?

There are two possibilities:

1. The police may find the match is wrong, or there’s no police history information to be released. The outcome will be ‘No Disclosable Court Outcomes’.
2. The police may confirm the match and find disclosable police history information. If this is the case, your police check report will include details of all ‘Disclosable Court Outcomes’.

How long will it take?

Delayed police checks are usually processed in one to 15 business days. It depends on the reason for the referral and how busy the police – who do the manual checks – are.

CVCheck has the most technologically advanced platform for fast delivery of results. For more information about delivery times or delayed checks, take a look at our CVCheck Help centre.

Visit our main website to find out more.

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