Who maintains Criminal History Records in Australia?

November 8th, 2011

Police checks

The Police

The Police services in Australia currently maintain criminal history records. Each separate state in Australia and other police jurisdictions have their own processes for capturing details of court convictions and storing this information in its police system. Each of these systems format and components of a criminal history record varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

The Courts

Like in the USA, Australia courts also maintain records of cases heard before them and the associated outcomes, including convictions and sentences. These records do identify convicted offenders and members of the public are able to search these records for a fee. The process and fees to search court records vary from state to state.

However, court records are generally held in a format that that is suited towards legal research and are not consolidated for individual offenders.

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It is difficult to derive court appearances and criminal convictions for a single individual from court records, as they provide limited data for identification of individuals.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC)

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s role is to manage the system that Australian police agencies and Accredited Organisations submit police checks through. It is important to be aware that the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission does not receive application forms or submit police checks on behalf of individuals. This service was previously within the CrimTrac Agency.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission partners with police agencies in Australia to provide the National Police Checking Service (NPCS). The service enables controlled access to disclosable police history information from all Australian police agencies.

Third Party Criminal Databases

There are also known to be some commercial organisations that claim to keep databases of Australian criminal records and for a fee will allow anyone to access these. However, these types of databases are not updated regularly and do not include every person convicted of a crime in Australia. Additionally, some of the companies that maintain these are actually foreign owned with their database servers maintained overseas.

Using such databases for employment screening could open up companies to legal liabilities, because if companies explicitly use such a database, there is a high chance that a criminal record has been omitted or is completely inaccurate.

 

Hayden Langhorn

Hayden Langhorn is the Managing Director at Intercheck Australia. He is a leading expert in pre-employment screening and is passionate in helping businesses to reduce employment risks while scaling up their businesses.