Most people think there is a central location where all criminal records are readily accessible.
They might be surprised to know that it does not work the way it is depicted in law enforcement television dramas.
Watching these shows, within a few seconds and a few clever keystrokes, the police know everything about the suspect, including where he is right now.
There is no complete National Criminal Records Database available to anyone.
The criminal record database used by the FBI, the NCIC is a compilation of many databases.
Many people would be surprised to learn how incomplete the NCIC records really are.
The Hill reports that the FBI acknowledges the limitations of the NCIC database as it contains only a little over 50 percent of all available criminal records.
These missing criminal records are the result of the way the criminal records are compiled and aggregated from multiple sources including municipal, county, state and Federal court systems throughout the United States.
These various entities are responsible for reporting and updating their own information.
As one might imagine, how important this is to them varies widely.
Even then, access to this database is limited to law enforcement and some businesses with a particular security interest such as defense contractors.
There is always a natural tension between hiring managers who want to fill positions as soon as possible, and the prudent Human Resources department that knows the first line of defense for any company is to avoid hiring people that may bring harm to the company, it’s employees or the public.
We recognize the need to provide these results as fast as possible. But, the results must be presented to the employer with complete accuracy and in full compliance with all existing laws governing employment screening.
Sometimes this takes a little longer than anyone would like. It is difficult to get hiring managers to understand that obtaining records and and verifying them is not simply tapping the “Enter” key on a computer.
The criminal record repository system is a matrix of County, State and Federal criminal record systems.
Accessing these record vaults is entirely at the pleasure of the officials, clerks or department employees that establishes and holds these records.
Holidays, short staffing and sometimes other reasons best known to the government entity cause significant delays in the procurement and verification of these records.