New Cops | Do you care enough?

From Applying to Starting at the Royal New Zealand Police College

Through the selection process, you’ll complete a range of assessments which will test your suitability to be a cop, including your fitness levels, how well you think and your character.

If you’re successful, you’ll go into the Candidate Pool, and from there you may have the opportunity to train at the Royal New Zealand Police College (RNZPC).

From submitting your application to entering the Candidate Pool usually takes between six and ten months and can take longer depending on which district you apply for.

Initial Vetting

Once we receive your application, we'll use the information to complete initial Police vetting. We aim to get it completed within two weeks.

A chat on the phone

Next, we'll give you a call. This is a chance for us to ask you some questions and get to know you a bit. Expect a call from one of our team within two weeks of your initial vetting clearance. Our team will ask you what your most recent 2.4km run time is. You don't need to be able to meet the PAT standard just yet, but we encourage you to be physically prepared for the process. We'll be in touch with you to tee up a time that suits.

Initial Medical

Next, you must complete a health questionnaire. You may also need to fill out and answer an asthma questionnaire and/or take a vision test. Assessing your completed questionnaire may take around three weeks. You may also be sent to a doctor to complete a full medical.

Your Assessment Day

Next, you’ll come along to an Assessment Day, which is when we find out if you’ve got what it takes to train with us. Usually, you’ll need to attend an Assessment Day within eight weeks of receiving initial medical clearance.

Over three hours, you’ll complete a psychometric assessment and a personality profile, and possibly a literacy assessment and the results of your assessment will be provided to you within a week. Here’s a bit more about how we’ll assess you.

Psychometric Assessment

All police recruits must be able to cope with the intellectual demands of police training and police work. This assessment tests your ability to use reasoning and solve problems.

There are three parts to the psychometric assessment:

  1. Verbal reasoning
  2. Numerical reasoning
  3. Abstract reasoning.

Tip: A good book to help you revise, containing vocabulary, numerical, and abstract tests is “Preparing for Career Selection Tests-Numeracy and General Ability” 2nd and 3rd editions by V. Joosten.

Personality Profile

This written questionnaire is designed to build a picture of your likely strengths and weaknesses in specific personality areas that are relevant to police work.

It gives us a guide to what motivates you, your attitudes, emotional characteristics you how you get along with other people.

Literacy Assessment

If you don’t have a minimum education level of NZ UE English Language Literacy or equivalent, you will need to complete a literacy assessment. This assesses language literacy, and the content is specifically relevant to police officers.

Tip: For more information about NZ UE English Literacy standards, please visit the NZQA website. You can also try some practice questions here.

Initial Physical Appraisal Test (PAT)

After you've met the academic standards at assessment day, you can attend an initial PAT. This will run in parallel with SCOPE, and prior to your formal interview.

PAT is based on a points system where you receive a number of points for each component of the test, based on your specific performance. All applicants need to achieve a total of at least 11 points across the four test. You must achieve at least one point on each of the four tests. Have your PBM calculated here.

For the PAT, you will be tested on four basic elements. These are:

  1. Run 2.4 km
  2. Your vertical jump ability
  3. The number of correctly executed continuous press-ups you can do
  4. A test of your grip strength

Have a look at our Training Advice page for details.

Physical Body Mass (PBM) data will be captured and used in conjunction with a waist to hip ratio. If required, we will advise applicants of programmes to aid weight reduction and therefore increase both health and fitness levels.

This video will provide you a good starting point in your fitness journey. If you feel you need additional support, PEO's hold regular NZ Police Fitness Training Information and Education Sessions. These sessions are voluntary and more information will be provided during the selection process.

You will also need to complete a final PAT 8-12 weeks prior to starting at RNZPC.

Download a one-page reference guide.

Find out what it’s like to be a Police Officer

SCOPE stands for Surroundings, Conditions/descriptions, Organisation, People/prospects, and Effects/education/training. In short, it’s a chance for you to experience first-hand what being a Police Officer is all about. You’ll spend four 10-hour shifts working alongside Police Officers and see as many different aspects of police work as possible.

Police Officers who work with you during your SCOPE will check if you have the competencies and values required to be a Police Officer. SCOPE sessions are arranged by the recruitment team after you have successfully completed an assessment day. Usually, you’ll do your SCOPE shifts within eight weeks of completing an assessment day.

You’ll also have your fingerprints taken

If you do SCOPE these will be checked against our database and, if you’re successful in your application to be a Police Officer, they’ll be held on a database for elimination from crime scenes you may attend during work.

Come to a formal Interview

You’ll be interviewed by recruitment staff who will be looking for qualities that are essential for Police Officers. Normally, you'll attend your interview within eight weeks of completing your initial PAT and SCOPE.

You’ll need to tell us about times when you have worked well with others, solved problems, communicated clearly, and completed tasks. You will also be asked to describe the situation, your actions, and the results in each case. You can use examples from work or outside work.

We’ll also throw questions at you that ask you to demonstrate that your values are the same as the New Zealand Police. You should also think about the unique skills and experiences you would bring to the role – perhaps you speak another language.

A few handy interview tips
  • The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be
  • Consider the opportunities and experience you’ve had that show your competencies. Have at least three examples that you can talk about in detail
  • Think about the reasons why you want to become a Police Officer
  • Identify your relevant skills, key accomplishments, work-style, personal and professional strengths and weaknesses
  • Write down any questions you’d like to ask us.

These days it’s important for you to have well-rounded computer skills, including email, being able to research online, and formatting documents in Microsoft Office. Police Officers must be able to use a computer, keyboard, and mouse. As part of the interview, you’ll be tested using Microsoft Word on a PC, which we’ll provide, and do a 10-minute copy-typing test. The minimum typing speed is 25 words a minute.

Test your typing online at

Distance Learning

After completing your formal interview, you’ll need to enrol in a 12-week pre-police college distance learning. The distance learning course is the first stage of the overall programme that trains you to be a qualified Police Officer.

The overall programme is called Career Foundation Initial Training. "CFIT" continues until two years beyond Police College while you are still a probationary constable. Find out more about CFIT here.

You’ll do 12-15 hours part-time study per week.

The course equips you with essential knowledge and understanding about policing. It’ll get you started so that you can jump right into real-world training as soon as you get to the Royal New Zealand Police College.

Final Assessments
Your Referees

After you've completed your formal interview, we’ll contact three referees to get an idea of your suitability for a police career. Suitable referees could be past or present employers, officials of clubs you belong to, or groups you've been a member of.

It usually takes about two weeks to complete our check.

Your Final Medicals

Upon being called up to a wing,. you will undertake a final medical examination paid for by NZ Police. Once we’ve received your GP's report it can take us up to two weeks to complete a final medical assessment.

As part of your final medical clearance you are required to undertake a pre-employment drug and alcohol test which will be paid for by NZ Police.