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Criminal records

How do I get a copy of my criminal record?

A National Police Certificate (NPC), often referred to as a 'police check', provides a national summary of an individual's disclosable offender history. It is generally requested by organisations as one part of the process to ensure the integrity of staff or volunteers.

National Police Certificate Application forms can be downloaded and completed on line via the SAPOL- Apply for a Police Record Check website.

Fees apply and are gazetted by the SA Government. Applicants who are unable to complete an on line form can attend a police station and request a hard copy form.

What information does a person’s criminal record show?

South Australia Police (SAPOL) record both personal information and details about charges and convictions on individual criminal records. The information shown includes:

  • Offender’s full name
  • Alias (if any)
  • Residential address
  • Personal description (hair and eye colour, height, identifying marks and build)
  • Fingerprints
  • Photograph
  • Date of birth
  • Offences with which a person has been charged (i.e. arrests)
  • All court appearances (including court appearances as a juvenile)
  • Whether a person was convicted of any offences and details of these offences, including date of conviction and whether conviction was recorded
  • Details of sentences imposed
  • Other information including specific departmental records, outstanding warrants, paedophile restraining orders, intervention orders, diversions, cautions and expiable matters.

Note: there is often a time lapse between when a conviction is recorded by the courts and the updating of SAPOL’s criminal records databases. As a result the NPC can only reflect the accuracy and completeness of these records up to the date of issue.

SA Police are bound by the Spent Convictions Act 2009 (SA) when determining what to release on a NPC. Under the Act, it is an offence to release information regarding the convictions of a person if those convictions are deemed to be spent under the Act. The Act defines a conviction as: a formal finding of guilt by a Court; or a finding by a Court that an offence has been proved.

A spent conviction is one that cannot be disclosed or taken into consideration. Often the outcome for a matter is "without conviction" or "no conviction recorded". As these are findings by a Court they still meet the definition of conviction, but they are taken to be immediately spent. Other eligible convictions become spent following a ten year qualification period if no further offences are committed, in South Australia or elsewhere. For juveniles, a five year qualification period applies.

For further information see Spent Convictions.

Who can see my criminal record/history?

You may view your own personal history but access to these records can only be obtained by someone else (for example, an employer) with your permission. Personal history may also be released to approved organisations and government departments that have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for the release of personal information.

How long does it take to get a National Police Certificate?

Requests for National Police Certificates usually take between 5 to 15 working days.

Who is eligible for a free police check?

Fee waivers apply only to unpaid South Australian volunteers working with approved Volunteer Organisation Authorisation Number (VOAN) organisations. The cost of VOAN police checks is funded by the South Australian government. VOAN organisations qualify for volunteer fee waivers because they provide services to vulnerable groups within the community. The VOAN is a secure number and must remain secure within an organisation to prevent illegitimate usage.

For more information click on the following link - National Police Checks .

Criminal records  :  Last Revised: Fri Aug 24th 2018
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.