Are you sure who you are Hiring?

A big issue facing bar managers and licensees is the massive increase in drug trading ocurring in clubs, pubs, bars and restaurants.  As part of a major national enforcement program to ensure that all Liquor Accords have stronger screening processes in place, operators are being encouraged to take a more robust approach to staff background checking, to potentially weed out personnel who could put at venue at risk of prosecution or criminal activity.

Management, Bar and Security Staff all of whome have interaction with the public and customers have the opportunity to be involved in the distribution of drugs and illegal substances.   Police have seen approximately a 32% increase of offences over the past two years and are encouraging all industry participants to ensure they follow sound protocols for the hiring and engagement of staff with proper background checks.

National Police Checks

Venues and Licencee Operators need to understand that Drug possession generally applies where a person has physical custody or control over the drug or has the drugs in a place that gives them the right, power or ability to take them into their possession. For example, a person would be in possession of drugs if they:

  • receive or obtain possession of the drugs
  • have some degree of control over the distribution of the drugs, whether or not the drugs are within that person’s custody
  • have sole or joint possession of the drugs

Individuals and Operators are normally charged under Commonwealth drug possession offences which can be divided into two basic categories. The first category involves border controlled drugs or plants that have been unlawfully imported or that are reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully imported. The second category comprises ‘simple’/domestic possession offences (with no link to an importation). Such offences include the possession of controlled drugs or precursors together with offences relating to the possession of equipment and instructions for commercial cultivation of plants or the commercial manufacture of drugs.

Hiring someone that has a history of criminal activity is a concern and it leaves the employer vulnerable and at risk if the situation is not managed carefully.   The ‘simple’ or ‘base’ possession offence is section 308.1 of the Criminal Code and is also available as an alternative verdict to a number of other offences. This in turn means that offenders who subsequently take delivery of the ‘substance’ will often be charged with the offence of ‘attempt’.  Penalties for the offence of ‘attempt’ are the same as for the completed offence.

As an employer the onus is on you as the employer to check for criminal backgrounds before hiring as the potential employee is not likely to disclose any breaches.  This process is fortunately simple and economical.  Just $44 for an employment related Police Check through Urban Verified.  Just refer potential candidates to the below link as part of their preparation for interview, and this could save you significant legal and expensive headaches down the track

More information on completing Criminal Police Checks can be found at


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