Undertaking a national police history check

Follow this procedure when requesting a national police history check from Victoria Police.

Document ID number 1502, version 3, 28 April 2017.

Introduction

This procedure describes how child protection practitioners request national police history checks (police checks). The decision to conduct a police check must be approved by a CPP5 or above.

Police checks are provided to child protection by Victoria Police Records Services Division (RSD). Checks are generally conducted with the consent of the subject and the results are highly confidential.

See CSO’s undertaking national police history checks for procedures to be followed by CSOs.

Procedure

Case practitioner tasks

  • See Kinship care for procedures that must be followed in kinship care cases.
  • Consider seeking endorsement to undertake a national police history check (police check) to support assessment and decision making about:
    • child contact by usual adult members of a carer’s household, visitors and others (See Contact.)
    • protective concerns
    • worker safety planning.
  • If information suggests that an individual who has contact with a child has sexual offences, a police check must be undertaken.
  • Do not undertake a police check in intake phase unless the check is critical to your assessment.

A police check will provide information about a person’s offence history in Victoria. In addition, it may identify that a person has been ‘flagged’ as a possible match to a disclosable matter in another Australian state or territory. However, confirmation of this will not be available immediately and may take several weeks to obtain. For this reason, the initial result of a police check may not be adequate for the purposes of decision making.

  • If endorsement to undertake a police check is granted, consult your supervisor about the urgency of the police check.
  • Do not make requests by phone – RSD will not provide a police check by phone.

There are three categories of police checks:

  • within one hour (pressing necessity)
  • within one day
  • within five days.

Selecting the appropriate category enables RSD to prioritise requests to meet child protection needs.

A police check may be required within one hour if there is a pressing need to:

  • respond to a magistrate’s request for a kinship assessment
  • screen kinship carers for an emergency placement
  • assess worker safety issues where a visit is to occur the same day
  • investigate protective concerns where immediate advice is required.
  • Seek consent from the individual subject to conduct the check if possible to do so without compromising the safety of the child. The consent of the subject is not required if the police check is being undertaken to support worker safety. Consult with your supervisor if it is not possible or reasonable to seek consent.
  • Wherever possible, sight proof of identity documentation for the subject that includes at least one type of photo identification plus the subject’s address, previous names/alias or change of name details, signature and date of birth. Take a photo or photocopy of the identification. Enter a case note on CRIS noting that you have sighted the photo identification.
  • Complete the National police history check request form and obtain endorsement from a CPP5. A separate form is required for each subject. Enter the purpose check box as:
    • assessment at court
    • placement assessment
    • assess protective concerns
    • assess worker safety.
  • Enter the category check box as:
    • within one hour (do not select this category unless there is pressing necessity)
    • within one day
    • within five days.
  • Check the box to advise whether the subject has granted consent for the police check.
  • If the form is to be emailed by the practitioner, the form must be signed by the CPP5 and a scanned copy must be emailed to Victoria Police RSD. If the form is emailed by a CPP5 or above who is authorised by RSD, the form does not require a signature and can be sent as a Word attachment.
  • Email the form and copy of the subject’s photo identification to SECURITY UNIT-RSD-MGR/MELCENTRAL/VICPOLICE@POL (emails addressed in this format are sent via the secure Victorian Government email system). Include the name and date of birth of the person subject to the police check and the category in the email subject. For example, ‘National police history check: SMITH, John (DOB 01/01/1901) – within one day.’

RSD will email the results of the police check to the authorised delegate. If you do not provide sufficient identifying information about the subject, RSD will respond by email saying that they are unable to process the request. Note that an ‘unable to process’ response does not mean that the police check is clear.

  • Record actions, decisions and rationales in CRIS.
  • Consult your supervisor if the police check reveals any disclosable offences. Assess the risk of the subject of the check having contact with a child. Refer to Categorisation of offences - advice which categorises the seriousness of offences into three categories and provides advice to assist assessment.
  • Attach the electronic copy of the results of the police check to a CRIS case note. Record the outcome of a check in CRIS as follows:
    • Title the case note in upper case 'NATIONAL POLICE HISTORY CHECK: <name of subject person e.g. JOHN SMITH>'.
    • Include the date and time the request was made and the response received.
    • Record the outcome of the check, that is, ‘No disclosable matters recorded’ or 'Disclosable matters recorded'.
    • Include the complete details of any disclosable matters.
    • Include any information relevant to worker safety. This information about worker safety must also be recorded in the 'Alerts' section of CRIS.
  • Do not print the results of the police check unless there is a clear reason to do so.
  • Delete any email that contains the results of the police check.
  • Delete the photo or scan of the subject’s identification document from your computer.

Case practitioner tasks regarding disclosure of information

  • Do not provide hard copies of police checks to anyone other than a protective intervener.
  • If a person’s police check is relevant to a CSO placement decision or worker safety, advise the CSO only that a police check is adverse and that the placement is therefore not suitable or there may be worker safety issues. Do not release more detailed information without the consent of the person concerned.

Contracted case managers and their supervisors have access to CRIS records, including police check information, in protective order phase.

Supervisor tasks

  • Endorse requests for police checks.
  • Email the request for a police check using the National police history check request form to RSD following the procedures above.
  • Do not make requests by phone – RSD will not provide any results by phone.

Only CPP5s or CPP6s authorised by Victoria Police RSD can request a police check.

  • Ensure the results of the police check are added to CRIS as described above.
  • Delete the email from RSD that contains the results of the police check.
  • For checks as part of kinship placement assessment, if any police check contains a disclosable matter consult your manager (or another manager at equivalent level) prior to seeking approval and decide whether the placement is in the best interests of the child.
  • Seek endorsement of the child protection operations manager in cases where disclosable offences are found or parents/guardians do not give consent for a police check of children.

The child protection operations manager will seek endorsement from the Director Child Protection, Assistant Director Child Protection or another divisional executive officer if there are disclosable Category B and C offences and the kinship placement should proceed.

If a disclosable Category A offence or offences against children arise for an identified primary kinship carer, the placement cannot be made under the Working with Children Act 2005. If a disclosable Category A offence arises for a usual adult household member, the placement must not proceed nor be allowed to continue unless the Director, Office of Professional Practice is consulted and endorses the placement and the divisional Deputy Secretary endorses the placement.

  • Record the outcome of endorsement requests in CRIS.

Child protection operations manager tasks

  • Oversee the placement approval process where an offence has been disclosed.
  • Seek endorsement from the Director Child Protection or Assistant Director Child Protection (or another divisional executive officer) where there are disclosable Category B and C offences and a kinship placement is to continue.

Director Child Protection or Assistant Director Child Protection tasks

  • Endorse kinship placement in cases where a disclosable Category B and C offence exists and the placement is in the child’s best interests.
  • Seek endorsement from the divisional Deputy Secretary for a kinship placement to proceed where a Category A disclosable offence arises for a usual adult household member. Ensure consultation has occurred with the Director, Office of Professional Practice and endorsement granted.

Director, Office of Professional Practice task

  • Consult with practitioners when a Category A offence exists for any usual adult in the household. The placement can only proceed if you endorse it (endorsement of divisional Deputy Secretary is also required).

Divisional Deputy Secretary task

  • Consult with practitioners when a Category A offence exists for any potential carer and/or any other usual adult in the household. The placement can only proceed if you endorse it (endorsement of Director, Office of Professional Practice is also required).
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