National Police Checking Service

National Police Checking Service

To help protect the Australian community, the ACIC works with Australian police agencies to deliver the National Police Checking Service (NPCS). The Service allows people to apply for a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check (check, previously known as a police check).

Checks are often required when applying for employment, Australian citizenship, appointment to positions of trust and a variety of licensing and registration schemes.

We accredit organisations who submit a significant volume of checks to facilitate individuals’ access to our Service; accredited bodies predominately provide checking services for in-house personnel. These organisations are known as accredited bodies.

The National Police Checking Service (NPCS) is currently experiencing an unprecedented use of the system, and due to a number of factors outside their control, there may be significant delays in the processing of checks.

Police checking in Australia is a partially manual, name-based process, involving many stakeholders. The NPCS aims to return checks as quickly as possible, however turnaround times are not guaranteed.

There are many reasons as to why some checks take longer than others to process, including:

  • The check subject having a common name, or a name that matches with many potential Persons of Interest on policing systems.
  • The check subject having old police information that requires manual collection and processing of hardcopy records.
  • The relevant police agency having inaccurate or incomplete records which need to be investigated properly before the check can be finalised.
  • Transferring information between the various state and territory police agencies before the information can be vetted and/or released.
  • Workloads within each police agency.

The NPCS facilitates over 5 million checks each year, which may result in over 7000 referrals to police each day. Resourcing constraints within all affected agencies, will also likely impact upon the ability to turn around these check results more quickly, particularly during peak periods.

Please note that all Accredited Bodies have equal access to the system and one organisation cannot provide faster results than another organisation. Submitting multiple checks will not facilitate a speedier outcome.

The NPCS completes around 70 per cent of police checks within minutes, providing a result back to the submitting agency. The remaining 30 per cent of checks are referred to one or more police agencies for manual processing. When responding to concerns about timeframes, the NPCS team escalates concerns to the relevant police jurisdiction, however as there is no definitive amount of time it takes to process a police check it is always advisable to allow as much time as possible.