New Cops | Do you care enough?

Being Cop Fit

Being a Police Officer is physically demanding. You’ve got to be physically fit and be in excellent health. This is vital to completing your training and managing stress at the Royal New Zealand Police College (RNZPC) and when you’re working on the frontline.

Important Info

If you’re receiving medical treatment for an injury or illness or are awaiting specialist review or surgery, you are ineligible to submit an application until you have fully recovered and have been discharged from health care services.

Right through your recruitment process, you’ll need to measure up against our medical and health standards. Familiarise yourself with the checks we’ll be doing as part of your application:

Overall Fitness

During recruitment you will need to successfully complete the Physical Appraisal Test (PAT) to the required standard and once you are at Police College you will need to pass the Physical Competency Test (PCT). It is a good idea to prepare for both and the best time to start training is right now. Check out our training advice here.

Confident with Water

New Zealand Police Officers regularly work around waterways and oceans as a part of their everyday duty. To be successful as a Police Officer, you need to be safe and confident around water. To help you in your new role we recommend working to improve your water confidence.

When you get to college you’ll be evaluated during the first couple of weeks to see how water confident you are doing the following tasks:

  • Submerge in water
  • Remove clothing while in water
  • Swim 50 metres freestyle
  • Swim 25 metres side-stroke
  • Swim 25 meters breast-stroke.

Please work hard on improving your swimming skills before you get to college. While at RNZPC we will help you improve your skills so you can work safely in the water.

Medical Clearance

We will assess your medical suitability in a two-stage process. An initial medical review (self-completed health questionnaire (HQ) and additional assessment as determined by the NZ Police recruit medical team) and a final medical clearance (a physical examination with a medical practitioner and a visual one with an NZ Police accredited optometrist).

Your health history will be treated in the strictest confidence.

During the recruitment process, we'll assess you against entry medical standards that are in line with the requirements of operational policing. For more details, have a look at our medical suitability guidelines.

Pre-employment drug and alcohol testing

Staff wellbeing and public safety are the focus of the Police Drug and Alcohol Policy which includes drug and alcohol testing across the organisation, with an emphasis on the health of our staff.

As part of the final medical clearance NZ Police Recruit applicants are required to undergo pre-employment drug and alcohol testing which will be paid for by NZ Police. It will take the form of a breath test for alcohol and urine screening test for drugs, at or around the time of your final medical tests. A non-negative test result for drugs may lead to your application being declined.

Police has contracted The Drug Detection Agency to conduct the tests.

For more details, have a look at our pre-employment drug and alcohol testing frequently asked questions.

We advise caution if you are thinking of taking any supplements and suggest you seek advice from your doctor before doing so. Because it is very difficult to be certain of the exact ingredients in supplements, using them can present a risk of returning a non-negative test result.
Please take a look at our information sheet: Supplement Information Sheet

If you have any questions regarding the pre-employment drug and alcohol testing please contact your Selection Specialist or recruitment hub.


As a history of asthma will not necessarily prevent you from joining, we encourage you to apply. However, supporting documentation and assessment will be required at the initial medical clearance stage before we make an absolute decision. Asthma has to be fully resolved (i.e. childhood occurrence only) or well controlled (evidence of regular preventer inhaler use and good peak flows) and have minimal impact on day to day living. We are most concerned about cold weather or exercise-induced asthma.


At the initial medical clearance assessment stage if you answered “yes” to any of the visual questions in the Health Questionnaire, you will be required to have your eyesight tested by a NZ Police accredited optometrist. Police Officers need to have good eyesight, must be visually competent to drive powerful vehicles safely during the day and at night, in adverse weather and at high speeds. They are also required to perform a range of visual tasks, integral to the role. As a guide, you’ll need to be able to legally drive without the need for visual aids (glasses or contact lenses). Yes, you can wear glasses or contact lenses, provided your eyesight still meets the uncorrected standard i.e. when you’re not wearing them, or if they were to become dislodged for any reason.

We accept visual correction surgery (refractive or laser eye surgery), e.g. LASIX, PRK, SMILE or ICLs, provided you meet the standard. Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) is not currently approved.

Colour Vision

Your colour vision will be initially assessed using the Ishihara test. If you fail this test, further assessment and a series of diagnostic colour perception examinations will be necessary to establish if you meet the visual (colour) standard.

Mental Health

Operational policing is mentally challenging and can be stressful. A history of a mental health disorder or symptoms consistent with a mental health illness (see some examples below) may exclude you until you can demonstrate full functional recovery.

  • Major psychological, stress, or psychosomatic disorders
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Post-traumatic reactions
  • Serious substance abuse
  • Disordered interpersonal relationships
  • Impulse control disorders
  • Adjustment disorders
  • Major mood disorders
  • Excessive aggression
  • Anorexia nervosa or bulimia
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Psychotic illness
  • Recurrence of symptoms
  • Suicidal ideation or attempt.

You will be asked to provide a report from your GP and will then be assessed by an approved senior clinical psychologist and/or a New Zealand vocational registered psychiatrist. They will take into account the clinical diagnosis, prescribed medication and/or therapy, duration of treatment, recurrence of symptoms (trigger or cause) from which a mental health disorder was a consequence.

There may be a stand-down period to ensure you are symptom-free or are psychologically and medically stable on the prescribed treatment that would otherwise adversely affect your ability to cope with the stressors. The length of this period will vary depending on individual circumstances and will be determined by the examiner and NZ Police.

If your medical history shows that symptoms have persisted for two years or more, or are recurrent, then this is likely to lead to a medical decline.

What about my weight and Body Mass Index (BMI)?

We consider weight when assessing your medical and physical fitness, but, as there is no cut-off, an elevated or low BMI does not always result in a decline. It’s important to note that a BMI score does have some limitations on an individual basis e.g. it may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build. However, for a medical clearance, a BMI score is just one variable that is taken into account when assessing a person’s current and future health risks and medical suitability for recruitment. Factors such as an elevated blood pressure, past medical history, smoking status, physical fitness, level of activity, lipid/cholesterol levels, waist circumference, and family medical history all combine to give us a complete picture, enabling us to assess your health. We use the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand BMI calculator to work out a candidate's BMI.

Any medical, health type questions? Email the NZ Police recruit meds team directly. We'll handle your query with strict confidence.