Interview with National Crime Check CEO Martin Lazarevic

No, you don’t need to go to a police station to get a police check. 

Australian company National Crime Check is now providing their services in New Zealand, these include expedited Ministry of Justice police checks, identity confirmation and biometric checks. 

Its big selling point is you can do the entire process online and most checks are back within just 72 hours. 

Already National Crime Check has picked up Uber and UberEats as clients and NCC is hoping that landlords and contractors working in private residences will also see the benefit of conducting background checks.

As remote working, hiring and the gig economy booms it’s a fast moving space.

We spoke to NCC CEO Martin Lazarevic to find out more.

When did NCC enter the NZ market and how has the uptake been?

National Crime Check soft launched in New Zealand in November 2020 and has made steady progress with large businesses such as Uber and Menulog coming on board. These relationships were established in Australia and allowed us to springboard into the NZ market with the existing partnership.

So, I can get verified and send a request using my mobile or laptop?

Yes, as an individual you can complete your application for your MOJ criminal record check via your internet capable device. You’ll also need to have your driver’s licence or passport on hand and the ability to photograph it to send along with your application.

You guarantee “most” results in 72 hours – what can hold up results?

If the applicant has not submitted all the correct required information and identification details then this can create a delay.

If someone has a very similar or the same name to another person can this be an issue?

Whilst there are delays sometimes with common names, NCC ensures that we do everything possible on our end to ensure that our submitting data is comprehensive and accurate, as well as going that additional step extra in doing biometric facial recognition via our own proprietary technology InstaID+

The InstaID+  technology is a cutting edge verification tool that will perform a biometric facial recognition analysis by comparing your face/”selfie” with the picture shown on your driver’s license and/or passport.

For additional security we ask you to hold your ID as well so we can determine the authenticity of the photo and establish liveness detection.

This is how we gain assurance that you are the person who is the true owner of the ID.

Your driving licence/ID will also be authenticated to ensure it is a genuine proof of identity.

Can’t I get a copy of this using the Ministry of Justice website – why go through NCC?

Whilst the MoJ offer this service direct, the turn around time can be around 4 weeks. With NCC it’s around 72 hours.

Is your focus on individual users or companies?

Our solutions have been built for the individual. We have made a really easy consumer friendly process for anyone to get their MoJ check. However, we have built upon this with providing business solutions as well. We understand how businesses want to streamline administrative burdens and processes, and we have the solutions to help them with this.

What gaps in the market have you seen in NZ?

National Crime Check conducted some research through a third party to establish situations in which Kiwis would benefit from their offerings. The results established a gap in the market for both landlords and contractors working in private residences.

Households on average engage the services of one contractor each month, and 87% of people would feel more at ease knowing that contractors entering their home had a police check. Obtaining a police check through National Crime Check is beneficial for contractors to offer peace of mind to those that use their services.

Beyond contractors, we also put a lot of trust into the people we choose to either live in our properties, and even who we decide to share a house with. As a landlord, National Crime Check provides a fast and efficient way to police check potential tenants. Less than 30% of tenants in rentals have been police checked which can lead to preventable stress further down the track for property owners.

You do checks for Uber and others involved in the gig economy – is this a growing part of the business?

The gig economy is arguably one of the fastest growing sectors globally, and this is no different in NZ. We have a large footprint within the gig economy and have had to scale to accommodate the growing demand. We are a well known provider to the gig economy and we continue to grow our services to ensure the gig economy is accommodated.  

Are any checks manually reviewed?

All checks that go through NCC include a balance of human and automated verification. We harness the power of technology where possible to undertake automated ID verification as well as journey side validation to ensure that our error rates are low. However, we do manually QA all checks prior to sending to the MoJ.

Police checks aren’t required for all jobs or roles – should they be? – what are the risks of not fully vetting staff?

When you have to trust people or are entrusting your brand in people’s hands, I think all employers and businesses should utilise whatever diligence is available to them. This way they can say “I have done everything possible” to protect my brand and my business. Police checks are becoming more commonplace and industries are adopting better practice by incorporating police checks prior to onboarding. It won’t be too long when police checks will be just as common as a resume. 

What about privacy and security issues – do you hold onto the data collected?

Our security and privacy policies are in line with what is required by the NZ MoJ. Data is collected and retained on secure AWS under full encryption as required by the MoJ.

Tell us a little about yourself – your background and how did you get into the industry?

I previously worked in the labour hire and recruitment sector, first running my own company and then with the large Melbourne-based company that acquired my business.

I experienced first-hand the traditional police checking process which involves applicants completing an application form, us photocopying their ID, faxing it to the police, posting a cheque and then waiting three to five weeks before we could place the person into employment.

This created a bottleneck and also disengagement issues with the predominantly casual workforce we were dealing with, but at the time we thought this was the only option.

Charged with investigating ways to improve the company’s HR processes, I found a better way. I discovered it was possible for private operators to conduct criminal checks under accreditation from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC, formerly CrimTrac).

With my tenure at the company over, I returned to Adelaide with my family, researched the idea further and realised the opportunity. I began the eight-month accreditation process with the ACIC, and NCC was born – with my former employer as our first client.

What’s in the future for NCC in ANZ?

Rising numbers of organisations are making criminal history checks for individuals and businesses part of their recruitment process. Growth in industries like health and aged care, continues to fuel the need for police checks for employees, as does the rise of gig economy businesses, which the pandemic has driven a strong acceptance of these services.

What challenges does NCC face?

Convincing customers the business is legitimate. Police checks were always the responsibility of the police station… and people still thought they needed to go to a police station. There’s been a constant need for us to build that awareness and trust. Through our marketing, our service delivery, and increasing number of bigger clients coming on board, this is a hurdle that we can cross.

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