Police Vetting/Criminal Records

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Volunteering Canterbury

Police Vetting/Criminal Records

If volunteers are working with vulnerable clients, it is prudent that you check whether a potential volunteer has a criminal record before they become involved. If your organisation is receiving funding, e.g. from Child, Youth and Family, there may be an obligation under the terms of that funding to make such checks.

It’s important to remember that any information obtained about a potential volunteer is private and must be kept confidential. The volunteer must be given an opportunity to see the information supplied. Once that information is no longer required (i.e. the volunteer is no longer engaged by the organisation) it must be destroyed or deleted.

You also need to take care not to discriminate against someone whose criminal record is not relevant to the voluntary work they have applied to do, e.g. a conviction for careless driving need not preclude someone from doing gardening.

At this time there is no charge for either Police Vetting or to obtain a copy of your personal information stored on the computer systems administered by the Ministry of Justice.

Please note that processes for obtaining these types of records are changing/developing. Appropriate websites (included below) should be consulted.

Police Vetting

The New Zealand Police process requests for information from organisations/agencies which deal with the care of others (younger, older, and more vulnerable persons). This process is called “Police Vetting”. To access this service your organisation will need to apply for approval by writing to: The Liaison Officer, Licensing and Vetting Service Centre, Office of the Police Commissioner, Box 3017, WELLINGTON. These vetting requests cannot be made by individuals, but only by registered organisations. To become a registered organisation for this purpose, you will need to show that volunteers care for children, older people, people with special needs, or other vulnerable members of society. The new Request and Consent form is available at www.police.govt.nz (keyword: vetting). When an organisation requests ‘police vetting’, it is required to verify the identity of the person who is being vetted. Processing of this application for information takes up to 30 days.

While people sometimes refer to a “Police Clearance” there is no such document in New Zealand.

The Police, under this process, may release: conviction history, location of the Court, date of the offence, the offence itself, the sentence imposed, traffic infringements, interaction (including as a victim) with Police whether it resulted in a criminal conviction or not, family violence information, information about violent or sexual behaviour that did not result in a conviction. The Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament May 2014, if passed, may introduce a charge for this service.

Criminal Record

A request to view someone’s Criminal Record can also be made

(www.justice.govt.nz keyword: criminal records). The application form for this information can be downloaded from the website and must be signed by the person for whom the records are sought, and accompanied by a copy of a valid driver’s licence or passport. The Ministry of Justice process these applications within 20 working days and a copy of the criminal record will be posted. The information which is supplied in response to such a request is drawn from computer systems administered by the Ministry of Justice. The Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 means that so long as certain conditions set out in the legislation are fulfilled, after seven years convictions will not appear on the Criminal Record. It is an offence under S18 Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 for a third party to require or request that an individual give consent to disclosure of his or her full criminal record.

While the applications take approximately twenty days to process this can be done more quickly if there are sound supporting reasons. Requests for Criminal Records are not available for those under the age of 17 years.

Reviewed & updated September 2014

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