How to Check NCIC Records

By William Robinson - Updated June 16, 2017
Security Concept.

The National Crime Information Center provides online access to criminal justice information, and in some cases information on criminals. To check the records, you'll have to go through an authorized user. A civilian cannot legally access the NCIC database on his or her own; attempting to do so may result in criminal charges. The NCIC is managed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and state and federal criminal justice agencies. It provides law enforcement and authorized agencies with such diverse records as license plates, gun licenses, immigration violators, missing persons and criminal history record information.

Consult an Authorized User

Civilian access to the NCIC is restricted, permissible only if federal or state law has authorized such access. For example, in some regulated industries, such as those involving access to children and the vulnerable elderly, an employer might have limited access to the NCIC to enable them to conduct a background screen on job applicants. Generally, only law enforcement and criminal justice agencies can tap into the NCIC.

Enter a Record Into the NCIC

Entering records has to be conducted by a criminal justice agency, and then in return, this information is accessible to other law enforcement agencies nationwide. For example, an officer from a police department that participates in the NCIC network will key in information on a subject they stop during a traffic stop to determine if the vehicle is stolen or if the driver has a warrant out for their arrest. However, in order for the officer to take action, NCIC policy requires the officer's department to make contact with the other agency that entered the information to verify the information they have is current and correct. Once the record is confirmed, then the officer can conduct the arrest of the fugitive, or recover the stolen property.

Think About Security

Ensure that the security has been put in place; the NCIC has established certain measures to ensure the integrity and the privacy of the data is not breached. All the information that is passing through the network is encrypted to deter unauthorized access. All users of the system are authorized and authenticated to ensure the proper levels of access. So make sure you have the proper clearance and certification to gain access to the records.

About the Author

William Robinson has been writing for over 20 years and to date has published two books in his lifetime, "The Search for Excalibur" and "Don't Love Me." He holds two doctorate degrees in philosophy and a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from Alameda University in California. He is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

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