Do you require a National Police Check and you are concerned about old convictions?

National Police Checks are used more and more by potential employers, community groups and foreign embassies for a host of purposes. According to statistics released by the Victoria Police, they receive hundreds of thousands of requests for police checks each year. Many people who have old offences and who require a National Police Check are understandably concerned that the check will disclose their conviction or finding of guilt. The authorities are not required to release information on all matters on a person’s record if the matters were recorded over 10 years ago. However, they have the discretion to do so. Police checks also do not outline the circumstances of the conviction nor the explanation behind it and so many people with past convictions are nervous about disclosing the checks as required.

Many people seek advice as to whether there is an ‘expiry’ for convictions, whether very old convictions show up on National Police Checks and whether they can apply to have the convictions removed or ‘expunged’ from their record. Unfortunately, in Victoria we have no such ability, although other States do. Also offences against Commonwealth legislation such as the Corporations Act, can be spent in certain circumstances. The Law Institute President has called on the Andrews Government to introduce a spent conviction scheme. At Galbally Parker, we are of the view that a scheme should be introduced in relation to ‘spent convictions’ . In all other states and territories, Police are prevented from disclosing certain crimes people have committed to prospective employers, including older, less serious and irrelevant convictions and findings of guilt. We are urging the Attorney General of this state to move in that direction.

Past convictions can have a more long term serious effect on a person’s life than the original conviction and penalty. A spent conviction scheme would be an important part of ensuring our justice system is about rehabilitation and not life long punishment.

If you have any questions regarding spent convictions in other states or have discovered an entry on your Police Check that is wrong or misleading, contact our office.

Please refer to the LIV website with the below link to read the President’s Submissions on spent convictions:

LIV Submissions