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What to do with a police check reference number

The information on this webpage is to be read in conjunction with this disclaimer:
Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.

The police check is essential for many roles and occupations in Australia due to its vast application and significance in almost every economic sector.

All police checks that accredited service providers issue to successful candidates contains a unique and essential number – Reference Number. The Reference Number is a non-repeated and peculiar number for every certificate or application form. It usually lies at the top corner of the police check certificate or it can be found on your application forms if the application is incomplete.

What is the significance of the Reference Number?

The reference number of a police check is the identity of that particular police check certificate or police check application form.

All details on the certificate or the application can be retrieved from the general system or database through the reference number via the service provider that the applicant originally applied for the nationally coordinated criminal history check.

The Reference number is available and can/should be found on all valid police checks in Australia as well as the application form. The reference number can be used by the service provider to identify the applicant or their application form. It can also be used by applicants to resume an incomplete application, track an application or verify a result once it has been released.

If you applied for a nationally coordinated criminal history check (police check) via Australian National Character Check (ANCC), the reference number will be found in your email address that was used when initiating your application form or on the nationally coordinated criminal history check certificate.

Applicants can only use the reference number with the original service provider whom they started their police check application with. This means that if you applied via some other medium other than ANCC to get your criminal history check, you will need to approach them with your Reference Number to access any applicable activity related to your criminal history check.

Employers can also verify the reference number of the check to confirm that the candidate has submitted an authentic criminal history check in Australia.

What can I do with my Reference Number?

  1. Continue an incomplete police check application.

When the candidate Starts an application with ANCC, they will get a confirmation email with their reference number. If the applicant cannot complete the application and suspends it, they will need the Reference number anytime they want to continue the check.

ANCC has a "Resume a Check" feature that makes it easier for candidates to locate their previous application from the last saved point. When you resume a Check, you continue with all the data and information you provided at the last saved point.

Also, if there is a problem in your application that requires you to add extra details, you can only access your police check application through the “Resume Check” option.

  1. Searching the Status of your police check application

There are certain cases where your police check may be later than expected or specific updates in the process. The only way to keep abreast of all changes or happenings in your police check application is to Track the police check.

ANCC offers its candidates to “Track” their police check through its portal as long as they start the application with them.

The Track a Check feature is beneficial to people with a strict schedule and need the police check urgently. The feature informs them of the current location of their police check application and an estimated time until the candidate gets their police check.

  1. Accessing the soft copy of your police check

Once the police check is ready, the agency or medium contacts the applicant through their preferred means of communication. If the Track a Check reveals that the police check result is ready, the candidate can download it directly to their device.

ANCC releases both the soft and hard copy of the result to the applicant. However, the candidate will have to pay an extra $9.50 if they get their Police Check result as a hard copy. However, the soft copy of the result is easier to transfer, use, and keep rather than having to move the hard copy about.

  1. You need it to verify your enquiry on ANCC portal

ANCC offers customer service for any questions, issues or enquiries about the police check certificate. You must include a Reference number for any enquiries that require the customer service team to review your police check.

The Reference Number is the only way the care agents can locate your police check application or result among the sea of other applications.

Some of the cases where you will need the Customer service of ANCC include;

  • To enquire about the details of your police check
  • To locate your Check
  • Where you want to find your police check but cannot successfully do it.

The customer care service cannot locate your police check certificate through the Email or name alone; there will likely be someone there with the exact details.

However, there can be no same police check certificate with the same reference number in Australia.

  1. Retrieving the police check from the database of the agency

Misplacement or loss of data are common issues that have dire consequences and impact the candidate's prospects. Losing a police check means the candidate has to prepare for another police check from scratch.

However, what if a loss of your document (digital or hard copy) is not the end and can be retrieved? Another purpose of the "Track a Check" feature of the Australian National Character Check is to find and retrieve a police check result among the vast sea of applications and completed checks on their database.

You can retrieve a police check from ANCC for as long as 12 months from the point of issue.

The easiest way to locate your police check result is through the "Track a Check" feature. To apply for retrieval through the "Track A Check" option, you will need to include your Email address and Reference Number of that Check.

  1. Business Customers using the Business Portal services of ANCC

Through the online service of ANCC, approved organisations can streamline the process of the police check through the Business Portal. This portal allows them to manage, control, initiate and access the police check result of their applicants.

The business or enterprise can only use the Australian Business service where it obtains the candidate's informed consent.

However, managing the police check results and other details of the candidates can become stressful if the organisation does not have a more transparent form of verifying the applicants. The easiest way to tell apart or locate the police check result they manage is through the unique reference number.

  1. Verify a police check

Your organisation may decide to verify the police check result it receives from applicants depending on the internal organization policies. One way to confirm that a police check result is authentic is to use the "Verify A Check” option available on the ANCC portal.

The "Verify a Check" option requires specific details/input from the applicant, including the Reference Number of the police check certificate.

Employers or requesting parties verify a police check for various reasons, including;

  • Verifying the date of the police check,
  • The validity of the police check,
  • The agency that processed the police check.

Can a third-party access my police check by using only my Reference number?

Your application reference number issued via ANCC is a unique 9 digit number. It cannot be accessed by any third party unless you share it with them yourself.

A third party cannot access your police check by using the reference number alone; they must also include other details to the check such as the email address that was originally used when initiating the application.

Your reference number should be kept private at all times.

Do all police check results from other accredited agencies have the Reference number?

All valid police check results should have a reference number for that particular application and result.

There should be a reference number for your police check on your police check certificate regardless of the agency where you have obtained the check.

How do I retrieve my lost police check certificate?

The police check certificate is a painful and essential document to lose; this may lead to delays for job applications. If you cannot locate your Police Check result within 12 months of the issuance, you may be able to retrieve it through the agency that processed the certificate.

Candidates who applied for the police check through online agencies like ANCC can retrieve their police check result either by;

  • Applying to the customer service of ANCC to retrieve their police check result and will undergo a process of verification. The results can only be sent to the original verified email address that was on file at the time of the application.
  • Retrieving your police check result through the “Track a Check” or “Resume a Check” option on ANCC portal by using your application reference number.

Where can I find my Reference Number if I have lost my police check certificate?

If you don't remember your reference number nor copy it into another place, then you may not be able to retrieve or perform any of the above actions.

ANCC always sends the reference number to your Email or the mobile number in your application. You can search through your emails and messages repo to find the reference number sent to you.

Furthermore, you may also retrieve your Reference number by applying to the Customer service of ANCC. While this method is not guaranteed, it may still help you get back the reference number if you can provide all other relevant information about your police check.

In all instances, you must approach the original service provider that you used when initiating your application as ANCC does not have access to the databases of other approved criminal history check providers.

How long is the Reference number valid for a police check?

The reference number remains associated with that police check application till the check is removed from ANCC’s system (12 months time).

When you apply for a new or updated police check, it comes with a different reference number. In most insurances, the reference number for a police check application cannot be changed or separated.

What does it mean to Resume an existing police check? Do I get another reference number?

No, you don’t get another reference number for continuing a police check application. Candidates pause their police check all the time and can resume the Check whenever they feel ready. There are various reasons why a candidate can choose to pause a police check.

For example, a candidate with issues accessing any of their required documents may pause the police check until they have resolved the issue. If you pause a police check, there is no need to go back to the "Start a Check" option to begin a new check; instead, you should select the "Resume a Check" option found on the portal.

Will I restart the process if I resume a police check?

No, you do not restart the process by "Resuming" the police check. In fact, that is the most valuable part of the "Resume a Check" feature; you get to continue your police check application from the last saved point.

Furthermore, when resuming a police check, you must provide the Reference Number to access your police check.


The Reference Check is an essential and unique identity to your police check result. An applicant must keep this number safe and separately if the original result bearing the number gets damaged or lost.

How can I obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?


If you are an individual, you can obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check online via Australian National Character Check’s application and informed consent form. The results are dispatched via email.

Business and Enterprise Customers

Business and Enterprise customers are able to sign up to ANCC’s business portal where they can order, manage, track and view candidates’ police check results on their business portal.

Organisations will undergo a process of approval prior to being granted access to ANCC’s business portal for the purpose of police checks.

ANCC sends an invite to the applicant to complete their background check online and handles the application and informed consent form. Contact ANCC’s business and enterprise partnerships team today to enquire about setting up a business portal for your organisation.

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The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction of this material may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act.

You may include a link on your website pointing to this content for commercial, educational, governmental or personal use.

The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice.

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About ANCC

ANCC® enables individuals and approved legal entities to apply for a nationally coordinated criminal history check, which is commonly referred to as a national police check. The nationally coordinated criminal history check is valid all over Australia and can be used when applying for Employment, Probity, Licencing, or Commonwealth check purposes. Get discount police checks online. We beat prices!


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