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Frequently asked questions from people interested in becoming a Police officer.

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Frequently Asked Questions

OK, I’m thinking of joining the Police. What are the must-haves for new recruits?

Great! Check out what you need to be a cop.

Are the New Zealand Police looking for new people right now?

Check out where we need cops to see what districts we are currently accepting applications for.

What are the age requirements?

You can be 17 when you apply, but you must be 18 upon entry to the RNZPC. There is no upper age limit so don’t let this be a barrier. 

What activities could I take up that will help support my application?

Activities that exercise the mind and body will help to prepare you for the selection process. This would include study, using computers and other forms of technology, and taking part in activities that improve your strength and fitness.

A lot of police work involves working with others so activities that improve your communication and interaction skills would be useful.

Being a police officer requires more than just physical fitness. You’ll need to be community-minded and display a positive attitude. To become a stronger applicant and increase your chances of being accepted into NZ Police training, you might want to think about doing some work in your community. This could include working with a community group, coaching sports, mentoring young people, volunteering or fundraising.

What if myself or my family have any convictions, will my application get rejected?

People with serious proven convictions relating to specific drugs, dishonesty, violence, and sexual crimes, recent or multiple drink-driving convictions can’t join the New Zealand Police.

People with less serious or one-off historic convictions are considered on a case-by-case basis.  Background checks are part of the selection process and every applicant is assessed on their own merit.

Some proven charges and offences concerning your family or friends may have an impact on your application. All are taken on a case-by-case basis. The best way to check is to apply and get the process underway.

Can I still apply if I have traffic offences?

If you have traffic infringements or written traffic warnings, apart from drink-driving offences, including speed, breach of road rules, driver licencing, or mobile phone-related offences, your application may still be considered.

Consideration is also given to the type of offence, how many you have and how long ago they happened. You may be eligible now or in the future, or your application may be permanently declined.

But: if you have 50 or more current demerit points we won't consider your application until your demerits drop below 50.

How does the Clean Slate Act apply to me and my partner or family?

The Clean Slate Act 2004 doesn’t apply to Police applicants. Your partner and your family will be vetted under the Clean Slate Act.

I can speak a second language, will it help me get selected?

Knowing another language could make your application stronger, but it’s important that you can speak, read, write, and listen in English.

Are there any particular school subjects or qualifications that will help me become a cop?

You don’t need any particular qualifications to join the Police. If you’re still at school we recommend future applicants pick subjects that they enjoy/that interest them and that they are motivated to study. Being proficient in maths and English is essential.

It’s also important to think about what else you could do at school that align with our values and provide you with skills and experiences that you can talk about during the selection process.  For example, speaking more than one language.  Or displaying leadership/respect by mentoring younger students in a sports team or helping out with volunteering/coaching through roles at school (or outside of school).

I’ve heard you run a programme in secondary schools, where can I find more information about this?

Yes, the Police Pathway Programme runs nationwide in a growing number of secondary schools. To find out more about this programme email pathwayprogramme@police.govt.nz

Do I need to be able to meet the fitness requirements before I apply?

You should have a good understanding of what the PAT standards are and should be close to or at the physical level of fitness required to meet them before applying.

How will my size, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs affect my application?

We value diversity. Different cultures, backgrounds and ideas help make the New Zealand Police what it is. We’re interested in you and what you could bring to the New Zealand Police.

Is being a Police Officer a dangerous job?

You’ll find yourself in all kinds of situations and, yes, some will be challenging. But, remember, you’ll be working with experienced professional team-mates who look out for each other.

As part of your training you’ll learn how to stay safe on the job, and to defuse potentially dangerous situations using good communication skills. And you'll also learn to use the latest equipment including protective vests, pepper spray, tasers, and work with Police dog teams. In short, you’ll be well-prepared for all situations.

Will my tattoos be a mark against me?

It’s important that people see the Police as approachable, so if you take on a Police role it means you’ll be dealing with the public and you should think about the impact a visible tattoo might have.

Many of our recruits have a tattoo, and the stories and very personal experiences behind why they got their unique tattoos, combined with the training provided by police, can equip these officers to police more effectively and empathetically in our diverse communities.

Apart from Ta Moko or equivalent, you shouldn’t have tattoos in prominent places such as the hands or face. If you do these will need to be assessed.

Tattoos which are offensive, rude, or incite hatred are totally against our values are an absolute “no”. No exceptions.

I love to wear jewellery, will I be allowed to?

In general, you can wear minimal jewellery. Common-sense is a factor, it’s about what is appropriate for a Police Officer and for safety.

For example, you can wear wedding and other significant rings, but not too many. Body piercings that are not visible when in uniform are okay, but you will need to think seriously about the risk of injury before wearing these on duty.

Bracelets, chains, or necklaces are not permitted when in uniform for obvious safety reasons. Medic-alert bracelets are allowed.

Is Police Recruitment on Facebook?

Yes, we are. Go to our Facebook page where you can ask questions about the constabulary recruitment process, share your experiences with other recruits, get training tips, and draw inspiration from the hundreds of work stories from real police officers.

Do I need to have New Zealand Residency to apply?

From Wednesday 17 July 2024, people who hold NZ Residency will be eligible to apply as a Police Recruit. Check out our full eligibility criteria here

I've previously been declined for not having permanent residency, can I reapply?

Yes, you can. From Wednesday 17 July 2024, people who hold NZ Residency will be eligible to apply as a Police Recruit. Check out our full eligibility criteria here

Will having a degree or other tertiary qualification help?

You don’t need any specific qualifications to apply, however, having one could make you a stronger applicant.

NZ Police offers exciting career progression and promotional opportunities in more than 30 different career paths. If you are thinking of studying before applying it may be helpful to look at our career paths.

Am I eligible to re-apply?

If you are a previous applicant and you are eligible to re-apply, the Recruitment team will be able to confirm this and advise whether we are able to accept your application at this time. Please contact us for guidance before applying.

I'm working as a Police Officer overseas and would like join the New Zealand Police – what do I need?

You’ll need to get New Zealand Residency before applying. This is something you’ll have to do yourself, as we can’t help you with the immigration process. Your first step is to visit the NZ Immigration website to find out more.

New Zealand Police do not operate a lateral recruiting programme at the moment, so you would need to undergo and pass the New Zealand Police recruiting process and, if successful, be accepted for training at the Royal New Zealand Police College when a vacancy becomes available. 

Can I apply on a restricted driver licence?

From Wednesday 17 July 2024, people who hold a restricted licence will be eligible to apply as a Police Recruit. You will need to obtain your full driver licence before being offered a place at Royal New Zeland Police College. Check out our full eligibility criteria here

I've previously been declined for not having my full licence, can I reapply?

Yes you can. From Wednesday 17 July 2024, people who hold a restricted licence will be eligible to apply as a Police Recruit. The expectation when you apply is that you are actively working towards your full driver licence and will need to obtain this before being offered a place at Royal New Zealand Police College. Check out our full eligibility criteria here

Do I need to have my full driver licence before I'm offered a place at Police College?

Yes, you will need to have your full driver licence to be offered a place at Royal New Zealand Police College. The expectation is that you are actively working towards getting your full licence during the recruitment process. Once you have met all other requirements of the recruitment process you can enter the candidate pool provisionally and will remain there until you have obtained your full licence. Timeframes will be discussed with you when you reach this step of the process. 

Can I apply to be a Police Officer if I wear glasses?

Yes, you can wear glasses or contact lenses, provided your eyesight still meets the uncorrected standard 6/24, i.e. when you’re not wearing them, or if they were to be dislodged for any reason.

An applicant must have visual acuity (eyesight) that will ensure they can safely and effectively perform an operational policing role. As a guide, you’ll need to be able to legally drive without the need for visual aids (glasses or contact lenses). For further details please refer to Vision section of the Recruit Medical Standards.