When Can Employers Request a NSW Police Clearance?

NSW boasts a robust job market, offering employment opportunities across a wide range of industries, including finance, healthcare, education, and technology. Sydney, the state’s capital, is a major global financial centre and a hub for various professional services. The varied job market in NSW implies that employers may have different background check requirements based on the nature of the positions they are hiring for.

The question arises: When can employers request a NSW police clearance during the employment process? This article explores the circumstances in which employers can request a police clearance or police check in NSW and the reasons behind such requests.

Pre-Employment Screening

One of the most common times for employers to request a NSW police clearance is during the pre-employment screening process. This typically occurs after a job offer has been extended but before the candidate officially starts their new role. The purpose is to ensure that the prospective employee does not have any criminal history that might be relevant to the position or pose a risk to the workplace.

Industry and Job Type

The timing of a NSW police clearance request can vary depending on the industry and the nature of the job. Some industries and roles have specific regulatory requirements that mandate background checks, including criminal record checks, before employment. For example, positions involving working with vulnerable populations, such as children or older adults, often require thorough background checks.

Periodic Rechecks

In certain industries, particularly those involving security, law enforcement, or government positions, employers may request periodic rechecks of an employee’s criminal history. These rechecks can occur at regular intervals during employment to ensure ongoing suitability and to comply with industry standards or legal requirements.

Suspicion of Wrongdoing

Employers can also request a NSW police clearance if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that an employee has engaged in criminal activity during their employment. This suspicion could arise from internal investigations, reports from colleagues or clients, or other credible sources. In such cases, the request is typically made to assess the validity of the suspicion and to take proper actions based on the results.

Licensing and Certification

Certain professions in NSW require individuals to obtain licence or certifications to practise legally. These licences may come with ongoing requirements, including periodic criminal record checks. Employers in these fields may request a NSW police clearance as part of the employee’s obligation to maintain their licence.

Compliance with Industry Regulations

Many industries in NSW are subject to regulations that require employees to meet certain criteria, including having a clean criminal record. Employers in these sectors may request police clearances to ensure compliance with industry regulations and to avoid potential legal liabilities.

Employee Consent

In most cases, employers can only request a NSW police clearance with the employee’s consent. Job applicants and employees typically need to provide written consent for the background check to proceed. Consent is a fundamental aspect of maintaining the individual’s privacy rights and ensuring that the check is conducted legally.

Protecting the Workplace

The primary motivation behind employers’ requests for NSW police clearance is to protect the safety and integrity of the workplace. By conducting these checks, employers aim to lower the risk of employing individuals with a record of criminal activity that could pose a threat to colleagues, clients, or the organisation itself.

Fair Employment Practices

While employers have the right to request NSW police clearances under specific circumstances, it is essential to maintain fair employment practices. Requests for police clearances should be based on legitimate job-related criteria and should not discriminate against candidates or employees unfairly.


Employers can request a police check in NSW at various times, depending on the industry, job requirements, and specific circumstances. These checks are typically conducted to ensure the safety and integrity of the workplace and to comply with industry regulations and legal obligations. However, employers need to follow fair employment practices, obtain employee consent, and use the information obtained through police clearances responsibly and confidentially.