In South Africa the reported National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) conviction rates are high, but our prosecution rates for serious crimes are very low if expressed relative to the actual number of reported crimes instead of the number of cases brought to trial.

With the above in mind, when putting an employee screening policy together how important is it to include a criminal record check?

It is essential if you are employing a security officer in South Africa as the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) states that everyone who operates within the Security Industry is obliged to register with the authority and in order to do so the individual cannot have a criminal record for at least ten years prior to their application.

There are similar industry bodies who require a clean criminal record but many companies merely include a criminal record check as a mandatory check in their employee screening policy and the value of this check can be questioned.

The iFacts records indicate that 8% of individuals checked have a criminal record but research shows that 25% of people engage in counterproductive activity in the workplace. Internationally the move is away from criminal record checks as many feel that people should be given a second chance.

To ensure that you are not allowing a person with “criminal” intention into the workplace, integrity tests can be included into the employee screening policy. An integrity test is a specific type of personality test designed to assess an applicant’s tendency, to be honest, trustworthy, and dependable. A lack of integrity is associated with such counterproductive behaviours as theft, violence, sabotage, disciplinary problems, and absenteeism. Integrity tests can also be valid measures of overall job performance. This is not surprising because integrity is strongly related to conscientiousness, itself a strong predictor of overall job performance.

An integrity test is also known to measure intention as opposed to tests similar to a polygraph test where reactive results of criminal intention are obtained.

When reviewing your employee screening policy ensure that it addresses risk holistically.

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