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Posted by Luke Miller on

Conducting due diligence in the business world is widely recognized as crucial, particularly when it comes to selecting employees. In the past, verifying employment history and checking references, along with optional psychometric and behavioral tests, makes up the extent of the evaluation process following a promising interview. However, the repercussions an the legal consequences of a poor hiring decision are now significant, and a police check holds considerable importance as part of due diligence screening.

Given the weight placed on the information obtained from a police check, it is essential to execute this part of the employment process correctly. So when is the best time to bring a police check into play?

Determining the appropriate time to incorporate a police check is the initial and most apparent step. If the role being filled entails responsibilities involving monetary transactions or handling sensitive information that necessitates a high level of trust, conducting a police check is an obvious choice. It is advisable to inform candidates early in the process that a satisfactory police report is a prerequisite for employment.

Numerous job listings within the transportation industry explicitly outline the requirement for a police check. For instance, it would be imprudent for a transport company to hire a driver who has a pending DUI offense. Various sectors, including government, education, healthcare and gig, also specify police checks as mandatory prerequisites in their job advertisements.

In cases where uncertainty exists regarding the relevance of a police check, a trigger question can be included to assess the applicant's character. This question may be as simple as, "Have you ever been charged or convicted of a criminal offense?"

If a candidate discloses a criminal record during the initial stages of the application process, it serves as a cue to proceed with a formal police check. While a criminal record may be an absolute red flag in certain cases, in some instances, it could demonstrate the applicant's integrity and character.


Consider this scenario: who would you trust more, the person who voluntarily discloses a criminal record when questioned or the applicant who conceals their criminal record only for it to be revealed later through a police check?

Setting aside these considerations, it is crucial to conduct a police check before extending an offer to the candidate or issuing a letter of employment. Remember, this step represents your due diligence, and requesting a police clearance provides an opportunity for the applicant to demonstrate their honesty and reveal any criminal history.

A negative police check can have several implications, necessitating transparency throughout the process. From a legal standpoint, it is important to exercise caution if you intend to rely solely on the police check to make employment decisions. Ensure you have a documented process in place. If you choose not to hire someone based on their police record and they question this decision, having a well-documented process will serve as evidence.

Additionally, it is vital to communicate information about the police check with the applicant carefully, ensuring they do not feel alienated or distrusted.

Keep in mind that a crime committed 30 years ago will resurface on a person's police check. Consider whether the individual has matured and learned from their past mistakes, and utilize the details from the police check and your unique experiences with the candidate to evaluate whether they are the right fit for the position.

When conducting a police check, it is important not to treat the process as a mere formality. Ponder the decision-making procedures you will employ if a criminal history comes to light. Will you adopt a zero-tolerance stance, or will you assess the disclosed information analytically and make a judgment call? Predefine your deal-breakers, take note of the types of offenses that would impede someone from performing their job, and identify any risks the individual may pose to your organization.

While achieving 100% accuracy may not always be possible, thorough due diligence on your part will undoubtedly help minimize the risks to your organization and contribute to the overall well-being of your workplace.

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