Criminal record checks can take time

If someone requires a criminal record check, they should not postpone filing the paperwork.

That advice comes from the county OPP.

OPP Constable Mark Cloes said that many places of employment and volunteer positions have been asking for a criminal record check before they will allow people to work, or assist coaching with a local Sports team.

He said those people head to the local police station and file the necessary paperwork, thinking that it should not take long because they have never been arrested. That scenario has been playing itself out many times throughout the years.

He said the county OPP is cautioning people to leave plenty of lead time when seeking those checks.

He said criminal records checks conducted by the county OPP are a daunting task that has risen steadily over the past few years:

– 2008,  3,470 checks;

– 2009,  4,000; and

– 2010 –  3,683 to the end of September and likely to be about 4,500 or more.

Cloes noted that in July, the RCMP broadened the requirements for those record checks of those working with vulnerable people. That includes coaches involved in minor Sports, day care workers, teaching staff and aides at schools, and health care providers. People with the same gender and date of birth closely matching those of pardoned sex offenders will now be asked to provide fingerprints. That is an effort to identify those sex offenders who have been pardoned and then legally changed their names.

Those prints then are forwarded off to the RCMP to compare with those of the offender. The changes have added to a backlog in the paperwork being processed.

With the changes in the process and the number of checks being requested, the county OPP are requesting patience.

Cloes said the paperwork is now running in the range of four to six weeks for processing.“If you need these checks for your place of employment, plan ahead and file the papers as soon as possible to avoid delays,” he suggested.