Police Records Check vs. Criminal Records Check

Criminal records checks and police records checks are not the same thing. This is one of the most significant factors to take into consideration when using these databases as part of a proper and accurate investigation.

Police records check

A police records check requires consent from the individual in question. The police departments will require the subject to attend in person to confirm his or her identification. The following checks are then completed:

  • Police records check including all police records and information
  • Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC)
  • Historical RCMP records
  • Police Information Portal (local databases of police agencies across Canada)
  • Justice information (criminal court information)

Unlike a criminal records check, these additional queries can locate historic and present-day adverse contact with police, including substantiated suspect records and current convictions and/or charges that are not yet entered on the Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC).

Frequently the suspect, chargeable, and charged information is more telling than convictions because a person may have adverse encounters with police (often through public complaints) and no criminal record.

Criminal records check

There are many private companies that conduct a Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) check for criminal record convictions only. With recent changes to national police record check screening policy these private firms are not permitted to conduct vulnerable-sector screening checks for persons working or volunteering with children, seniors, disabled, and so on. These types of checks must now be done by the applicant’s local police department.

It is important to note that not all convictions will show up on a CPIC criminal record, and it can take as long as 36 months for convictions to be entered onto a criminal record in CPIC. Police, however, have access to this information from other databases.