A police certificate of conduct shows whether or not you have broken the law in the field you are going to work or study in. Your employer, organisation or place of study can require you to submit a certificate so that they can be sure that you are not disqualified for the job or studies in question.

The certificate must be submitted within three months' from the date it was issued.

Your employer, organisation or place of study cannot require a new certificate of you as long as you hold the same position or office or attend the same course of study. You can only be required to submit a new certificate if it is for a new position or you have been away from the position or office for a while.

You do not have to ask for a particular type of certificate when you apply. You will get the correct type of certificate based on your application. You do however have to attach a confirmation of the purpose of the certificate, if this is necessary for your application. Read more about this on the application page.

A police certificate of conduct contains information about you held in police databases.

An ordinary police certificate of conduct lists most sanctions for all types of criminal offences within a given period of time.

The following information is included:

  • prison sentences of 6 months or less – if the sentence was imposed 3 years or less prior to the issue of the certificate
  • prison sentences of more than 6 months – if you were released
    less than 10 years prior to the issue of the certificate
  • suspended prison sentences – if the sentence was imposed 3 years or less prior to the issue of the certificate
  • sentences of preventive detention or preventive supervision – if you were released less than 10 years prior to the issue of the certificate
  • community sentences or community service sentences – if the alternative prison sentence is 6 months or less
  • judgments passed 3 years or less prior to the issue of the certificate
  • community sentences or community service sentences – if the alternative prison sentence exceeds 6 months and the community sentence was served less than 10 years prior to the issue of the certificate
  • youth sentences – if the sentence was imposed 3 years or less prior to the issue of the certificate
  • fines for criminal offences carrying a maximum penalty of more than 6 months' imprisonment – included for three years from the date on which the fine was accepted
  • sentences of committal to psychiatric care
  • sentences of committal to care or preventive supervision – if the sanction was lifted less than 10 years prior to the issue of the certificate
  • sentences of loss of rights for limited periods of time – if the sanction was lifted less than 10 years prior to the issue of the certificate
  • sentences of permanent loss of rights – always included

The following information is not included:

  • suspended prison sentences which are not yet final
  • fines for criminal offences carrying a maximum penalty of 6 months' imprisonment
  • fixed penalty notices
  • waivers of prosecution
  • cases remitted to the National Mediation Service for mediation
  • cases transferred to the Child Welfare Service
  • confiscation orders, for instance for driving licences
  • orders of personal examinations or forensic psychiatric examinations

If you have several convictions for serious criminal offences resulting in:

  • prison sentences of 6 months or more
  • preventive supervision
  • preventive detention
  • committal to psychiatric care or committal to care

– all the convictions are included in the certificate, even if only one of them should be included under the 10-year time-limit. In other words, one of the convictions must fall within the time-limit.

Examples of loss of rights are the loss of the right to occupy a position or engage in an enterprise or activity. Another example is restraining orders.

Two exceptions for young offenders

Did you commit a criminal offence before you turned 18? If so, the following will not be included in your certificate:

  • fines or suspended prison sentences – if the offence was committed more than 2 years prior to the issue of the certificate
  • community sentences with an alternative prison sentence of more than 6 months or a youth sentence – if the offence was committed more than 5 years prior to the issue of the certificate

The following information is included:

An exhaustive police certificate of conduct includes all sanctions held in police databases, i.e. all penalties, other criminal sanctions and other measures recorded in the sanctions database.

Exceptions:

  • Cases remitted to the Mediation Service is not included in the exhaustive certificate if you have not committed any further criminal offences that can result in a prison sentence for 2 years after the mediation procedure was concluded with an approved agreement, a youth plan or a Mediation Service plan.
  • Fixed penalty notices.

Exceptions for offenders under 18

For young offenders, exhaustive police certificates of conduct are issued in accordance with the rules for ordinary police certificates of conduct.
However, if any of the conditions below are met, the sanction is still included in accordance with the rules for exhaustive police certificates of conduct:

  • 1 criminal offence carrying a maximum penalty of more than 3 years' imprisonment
  • 3 or more criminal offences carrying maximum penalties of more than 1 year's imprisonment
  • 5 or more criminal offences carrying a penalty of imprisonment, regardless of their maximum penalties
  • Any new crimes committed by the offender after he or she turned 18 and which were committed within the time limits imposed in judgments passed before that date will be included in an ordinary police certificate of conduct.

If one or more of these conditions apply to you, the rules for information included in exhaustive police certificates of conduct apply.

An extended police certificate of conduct includes criminal cases not yet decided by the police or the courts. This means that formal charges, indictments and penalty notices are included, as well as convictions that are not yet final and enforceable.

Formal reports to the police and dropped cases are not included.

A limited police certificate of conduct only includes certain types of criminal offences, depending on the purpose of and the legal basis for the certificate.

A limited police certificate of conduct can be both exhaustive and extended, it can be ordinary, or it can be a combination of all three.