According to PwC, 57% of fraud cases happen due to employees. They can also harass other employees and create an unfriendly work environment. 

Criminal background checks can go a long way to ensure safety at work. It can also prevent theft, crimes, and abuse at the office. 

As a result, most employers conduct a police background check before hiring. However, what does a criminal history assessment entail? What should you be looking for?

Here are the top things to know about police background check services. 

How to Conduct a Criminal Background Check

Organizations generally work with background screening companies to check criminal histories. These professional agencies possess a wide network of partners to perform accurate checks. They have special access to criminal records and expert researchers. 

However, some information may be available to the public. For example, you may learn about driving habits or convictions from public records. But some searches require person-to-person contact and manual digging around. 

Professional services turn out to be quick and cost-effective.

Police Background Check: Sources of Information

There is no single repository to research the criminal history of a person. You may have to go through countless documents before you find what you are looking for. Additionally, you may need to search through state and county records. 

Criminal history checking services generally source their information from:

  • Country courts
  • District courts
  • State courts
  • Sex offender registry
  • Prison records
  • Police departments
  • Civil courts
  • Department of corrections
  • Interpol records


The nature of records accessed as part of the research varies based on needs. You may not need to go through all the records if you want to learn only about driving offenses. 

What Do Police Background Check Services Look For

The exact factors for screening vary based on the needs of the employer. For example, a thorough driving record search is important for roles involving driving. Or, a history of domestic violence may be a deciding factor for working with vulnerable populations.

However, every criminal background check performs a basic search. It looks into federal, state, and country records. Additionally, the search includes sex offender records.

Moreover, employers may consider the following:

  • Felonies
  • Serious misdemeanors
  • Traffic offenses
  • Drug use
  • History of domestic violence
  • Gang associations

Some checks may include non-convictions or even expunged records. However, it may not always be possible to access all information due to legal restrictions. 

It is necessary to evaluate the role and determine what checks are necessary. Some industries like healthcare and finance have specific requirements for criminal history checks. 

The Legal Aspects of Criminal Background Checks

Countless laws regulate the collection, utilization, and management of information of criminal checks. Employers do not have the freedom to dig up any information they want. It can lead to legal consequences and heavy fines. 

A screening company takes the following steps to ensure compliance:

  • It notifies the candidate about the upcoming police background check. 
  • It collects the written consent of the applicant, if necessary. 
  • It communicates what will happen in case of an adverse report. 

The screening company hands the report to the employer after performing the check. The employer has to send a copy of the report to the candidate. 

Moreover, the candidate has the right to defend or contest the information in the report. 

Organizations need to consider several laws before conducting a criminal check. The list includes:


  • Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines
  • Ban the Box Laws
  • Federal and local hiring policies


As a result, employers should work with professional police background check services. It helps them ensure compliance and avoid legal troubles. 


How Long Does It Take to Conduct Police Checks


A screening company may perform basic check in a matter of a few hours to days. However, you may need 3 -5 days for a comprehensive screening. Moreover, international checks or searches involving third parties may take more time. 


Your needs will decide how much time your criminal checks will take.


Final Thoughts


Police background checks are essential for any employer. They ensure a safe working environment and productive operations. You can also gain peace of mind knowing your employees are trustworthy and reliable. Join hands with a professional criminal history screening company for optimum outcomes.