A police check or criminal history check is a criminal history search. The two most common types of police check in Queensland are the following:
- The Queensland Criminal History Check; and
- The National Criminal History Check.
Queensland Criminal History Check
A Queensland Criminal History Check provides you with a list of convictions from prosecutions by the Queensland Police Service. It does not include convictions in other states or territories or federal convictions. You can obtain a Queensland Criminal History Check from your local police station at a fee of $57.25 (at the time of writing).
National Criminal History Check
A National Criminal History Check is a comprehensive police check and is most often sought for employment purposes or obtaining a visa for both Australia and overseas. A National Criminal History Check is obtained through the Australian Federal Police online application and the fee is $42 for a name check, $139 for a fingerprint check that is taken and processed by the AFP, and $99 for a fingerprint check when the fingerprint samples are supplied (at the time of writing, credit card charges may apply).
There are three types of National Criminal police check available. Of the three, the name only search is the most common and the one that most employers and the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) will require.
- Name only search: In this check, your name is checked against every state, territory and federal database for prior offences. When applying for employment, if a police check is required, it is usually a name only search. You can also apply for a National Criminal History check at your local Queensland police station but additional charges may apply. It can take two to four weeks to process your application form before you receive the National Police Certificate in the mail.
- Name with fingerprints check: A name with fingerprints check searches both your name and fingerprints against the state, territory and federal databases. These checks are used largely for immigration reasons for travel outside of Australia. If you want to obtain a visa for another country or adopt a child from outside Australia, you will need a name with fingerprint check. Fingerprint checks can only be conducted when there is a legal or regulatory reason to conduct them. You will need to have your fingerprints taken at your local Queensland police or AFP office.
- Name with ASIO Security Assessment Check: This is a check that not only searches your criminal record but also searches for any classified government files with your name on them. They are required for people licensed to access sensitive government material. This can range from sensitive government jobs to people who need to use large quantities of volatile chemicals, such as farmers. You will need to fill out the online form and pay a $93.80 fee (at the time of writing).
How to obtain a police check in Queensland
Once you know what kind of police check you require, you can obtain one by applying at your local police station or through the AFP’s online portal.
You will need to supply identification such as a drivers licence or passport, complete the relevant forms and pay the fee. Most police checks require you to provide a 10 year history of your addresses. It is important to be as accurate as possible when providing this information.
What are police checks used for?
Police checks are required by a growing number employers in Australia. If you are applying for a job that specifies that a police check is required, then you will need to provide one.
Name only checks at both the state and federal levels are used for employees who require clear criminal records. They are often used in security jobs and other roles that require a strong reputation.
Fingerprint checks are used to obtain visas for travel to other countries. ASIO checks are used for jobs that require access to sensitive material, being either confidential information or high-risk substances.
What will my Queensland police check show?
A police check shows all court findings of guilt, not just convictions. This means that even if no conviction was recorded for an offence, it will appear on your police check regardless.
An acquittal will not appear on a police check nor will it appear if a jury was unable to reach a verdict.
Generally, traffic offences are not criminal offences and will not appear on a police check. If you have had to appear in a court, however, regardless of how minor the charge could have been and you were found guilty, it will likely show up on the Queensland police check.
Civil offences will also not appear on a police check. However, certain civil actions, such as a domestic violence order, can become a criminal offence that will be listed. If you have your matter diverted through a diversionary program such as the Drug Diversion Program, this will not be logged on a police check.
Do Queensland police checks expire?
Your police check will last for 12 months. After this period, it will expire and it would likely not be accepted by anyone who requests it. If you need a police check after this period, you will need to apply for a new one.