Background Checks

The Police Recruitment Branch undertakes background checks for all applicants seeking employment with the NSW Police Force as a police officer.  Background checks are part of the professional suitability process.

Background checks include baseline clearance in line with the Australian Government Protective Security Policy Framework and include providing the Police Recruitment Branch with supporting documentation such as personal documents, to confirm identity and background.

Background checks include:


Vetting is information used in determining whether an applicant is suitable for future appointment as a member of the NSW Police Force.  Section 96B of the Police Act 1990 (NSW) provides the authority for vetting prospective police officers.

What are Vetting Checks?

Criminal History

Applicants who have prior criminal convictions or who have otherwise come under adverse attention would not be assessed as professionally suitable.

Associated People

This includes providing information about family members, partner/s, sibling/s or associates.

Any declarable associations with groups, gangs or known criminals may result in your application being rejected.

What are Declarable Associations?

Australian Driving History

An applicant’s driving offence history will be assessed on an individual basis with a view to identifying previous driving behaviour and applying this against community expectations and the NSW Police Force safe driver policy.

As a general rule, applicants must NOT have received more than ONE traffic infringement notice for every TWO completed years of driving history (1:2 ratio) and be at least 6 months offence free prior to lodging their application.  Periods of license suspension and/or disqualification from driving will be taken into account and assessed according to their number and severity.

Applicants whose driving history falls outside these general rules may have their application rejected and may be required to display a specified period of offence free driving prior to lodging a further application.

The General Manager for the Recruitment Branch has the discretion to review this on a case by case basis.  Whilst the General Manager can use his discretion it does NOT happen often and is unlikely for serious traffic offences.

Serious traffic offences are those where the applicant was issued an infringement notice for travelling at a speed more than 45 kph over the speed limit, served legal process or arrested for the purpose of appearing before a Court and convicted, or the offence/s proven within five (5) years of their application will not be progressed.

Applicants who have been convicted for the following Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA) offences will be subject to the following exclusion periods:

  • High Range PCA (or interstate equivalent) - 10 Years
  • Middle Range PCA (or interstate equivalent) - 5 Years
  • Low & Special Range PCA (or interstate equivalent) - 2 Years
  • Fail to supply or Willfully Alter Blood Alcohol (or interstate equivalent) - 10 Years
  • Any two (2) PCA offences will see an applicant ineligible for employment

If you have concerns that you may not meet the above standards we strongly recommend you obtain a detailed traffic offence history report for all licenses held prior to commencing the recruitment process in order to avoid any unnecessary financial outlays.

Overseas Police Certificate

Applicants who have resided in another country for more than twelve (12) months whilst over the age of 16 are required to supply a certified overseas penal certificate or an overseas police check as they are sometimes known.

To access information on how to get an overseas penal clearance certificate, please visit the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection website for more information.

Residential History

This includes providing mandatory information and supporting documentation on an applicants address history for at least 5 years from the time their on-line application is submitted.  This includes interstate and overseas residential addresses.

Addresses include:

  • Places resided for work / study
  • Any other places such as share houses, family homes, university residence and temporary accommodation.

Employment History

Applicants are required to provide a complete employment history from their first period of employment to their current employment.  This information should include the dates of employment, name of the employer or business, type of employment, supervisor or employer and contact phone number.

The NSW Police Recruitment Branch will contact all current and previous employers.

Employment includes:

  • All paid employment
  • Self-employment / family business
  • Work experience / internships
  • Unpaid employment / volunteer work

Unemployment includes:

  • All gaps / breaks between employment
  • All gaps between education

Military service or previous applications with other law enforcement jurisdiction

Military service includes:

  • Compulsory
  • Conscription
  • Military training
  • Voluntary
  • Professional

Applications with other law enforcement jurisdictions

This includes providing information about any previous or current applications (and outcomes) for employment with other law enforcement jurisdictions.

Field Based Interview

This process includes local police visiting applicants and conducting an interview.  This usually occurs at the applicant’s home residence.

Fingerprint & DNA Checks

DNA KitFinger and palm prints are obtained and compared with information held in the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS).

All applicants are required to supply a DNA sample by way of a Buccal (mouth swab) sampling kit.  After analysis, the genetic sample is destroyed.

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