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Law enforcement

Which law enforcement agencies are covered by the Privacy Act?

Most Australian Government law enforcement agencies are covered by the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act). This includes the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Border and CrimTrac, which is the national information-sharing service for Australia’s police and law enforcement agencies.

However, the Privacy Act does not cover some Australian Government agencies that are involved in law enforcement, intelligence gathering and national security. The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security oversees the following six Australian intelligence agencies.

  •     The Office of National Assessments
  •     The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation
  •     The Australian Secret Intelligence Service
  •     The Australian Signals Directorate
  •     The Defence Intelligence Organisation
  •     The Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation

If you have a complaint about one of these agencies, you may be able to lodge a complaint with the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, though there are restrictions and conditions for lodging a complaint depending upon the agency.

State or Territory government agencies such as the NSW Police Force are also not covered by the Privacy Act (see Other privacy jurisdictions).

How do I request a National Police Check?

You may be required to present a National Police Check for a number of reasons, including as part of employment screening, in preparation for a court appearance or to satisfy a statutory requirement.

You can request your National Police Check through your local police agency, including the Australian Federal Police. The AFP’s website details information National Police Checks, including the purposes for which it can provide a National Police Check and the process for applying. If the Australian Federal Police can’t provide you a National Police Check, you should contact the Criminal Records section of your relevant State or Territory police service.

You can also request your National Police Check through an agency accredited by Crimtrac.