The AIC was established in 1973 under the Criminology Research Act 1971 (Cwlth).

As a Commonwealth statutory authority, the AIC also has responsibilities under the Public Service Act 1999 (Cwlth) and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cwlth).

Machinery of Government changes

On 8 October 2015, AIC staff were transferred to the then Australian Crime Commission (ACC) under a Machinery of Government process. Legislative amendments are required to facilitate the merge of the AIC into the ACC, now known as the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC). Until the legislation is passed, the AIC remains an independent legal entity.