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Application Process

Got a question?
  1. Are police recruiting people at the moment?
    NZ Police are always recruiting. Police are committed to maintaining constabulary numbers and replacing those who leave. We're looking to recruit at least 300 to 350 people in 2015.
  2. Will size, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious beliefs affect my application?
    None of these factors will affect your application. NZ Police values what you bring to the job as an individual. We want people to bring their culture, their background and their values to the job.
  3. How long does the police recruitment process take?
    Like any professional career becoming a police officer doesn't happen overnight. It generally takes a minimum of 6-12 months from the time you apply, through to reaching the candidate pool to be selected for the Royal New Zealand Police College (RNZPC). Please note that this time is on average and will vary between districts. Your motivation, your preparation and availability can also affect the amount of time in the process.
  4. What are the eligibility criteria for joining NZ Police?
    You need to:
    - Be at least 18 years of age upon entry to the RNZPC.
    - Be a New Zealand citizen or resident and eligible to work in NZ.
    - Be available to attend the required recruitment assessments in person.
    - Be physically fit and in excellent health – there aren’t any minimum height requirements.
    - Have good eyesight. This is defined as a minimum visual standard of 6/12 unaided in each eye, correctable to 6/6 with contact lenses or glasses.
    - Notify recruitment staff of any previous criminal or traffic convictions (including warnings, court appearances and diversions).
    - Hold a restricted driver licence in order to apply to join NZ Police. You must have obtained a full driver licence within 12 months of applying.
  5. 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 maximum age restriction.
  6. Can I wear jewellery?
    Police employees need to consider the potential impact that wearing jewellery can have on themselves (e.g. by posing a risk to personal safety), colleagues, and members of the public. Matrimonial rings and other rings may be worn provided the number is not excessive. Culturally approved jewellery may be worn but in general we don’t allow items of jewellery through any visible part of the body. If you have body piercings that are not visible when in uniform, then you will need to consider the potential risk of injury before wearing these on duty. Bracelets (except medic-alert type), chains, necklaces or chord are not permitted when in uniform.
  7. Can I have tattoos?
    Employees having regular contact with the public should consider the potential impact that visible tattoos could have on the public. Employees should not have tattoos in prominent places such as the hands or face. Where employees have tattoos on the lower arm they will need to cover these up if they are considered offensive or inappropriate. Tattoos that are rude, lewd, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, or homophobic are considered inappropriate.
  8. Is policing a dangerous job?
    You'll be working beside experienced team mates who will always look out for you. It's our priority to prepare you to be as safe as possible so you can perform your duties in the community with confidence. 

    At the RNZPC you'll be trained to diffuse potentially dangerous situations using communication skills. You'll also learn how to use state-of-the-art equipment such as protective vests, pepper spray, tasers, and police dog teams. 

Danger Training at RNZPC

  1. How do the new recruitment hubs work?
    Two hubs have been set up to ensure potential recruits have a consistent experience regardless of where you apply from. Specialist recruitment staff in the Upper North hub will service applicants in Northland, Auckland, Counties Manukau, Waitemata, and Waikato. The Lower North/South hub services applicants from Central North Island, Bay of Plenty, Eastern Districts, Wellington, and South Island. As you progress through the recruitment process you will be interacting with recruitment staff in one of these hubs.
  2. 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. Go to the training advice page for more information.

    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 better candidate, 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.
  3. Does speaking a second language help my chances of being selected?
    Demonstrating that you have an understanding of different languages and cultures is a big plus. To ensure police remains responsive to New Zealand’s diverse communities we’re looking for recruits with skill sets in different cultures, which include the ability to speak other languages.

    Your ability to communicate effectively in English (through reading, active listening, writing, and speaking) is also essential.
  4. Is Police Recruitment on Facebook or Twitter?
    Yes. Go to our Facebook page where you can ask questions about the recruitment process, share your experiences with other recruits, get training tips, and draw inspiration from the hundreds of better work stories from real police officers.

    You can also follow police recruitment on twitter @BetterWorkStory
  5. What subjects should I take and what qualifications will help me to become a cop?
    All people who are likely to start at RNZPC after 1 October 2015 will need to complete the pre Police College Distance Learning course. Aside from this, there are no pre-requisite qualifications to join NZ Police; you simply need to be able to pass the various assessments in our selection process.

    If you’re still at school we recommend that you strive to get the best grades you can. Proficiency in maths and English is essential.

    Demonstrating leadership qualities, and involvement in the community (e.g. working with a community group, coaching sports, mentoring young people, volunteering, or fundraising) will also help your application.  

    All tertiary qualifications will potentially make you a stronger candidate.
  6. What level NCEA do I need to become a police officer?
    Apart from the Distance Learning course, there are no pre-requisite qualifications to join NZ Police; you simply need to be able to pass the various assessments in our selection process. Our psychometric assessments are roughly equivalent to NCEA level 2 English and maths. Note however that the training course at the RNZPC is a tertiary level course, which ranges in difficulty from NCEA level 3 to level 6. The course is intense, with a year's worth of course content compressed into 18 weeks.

    It is your personal responsibility to ensure you are prepared to study at tertiary level.
  7. Do I need to be able to meet the fitness requirements before I apply?
    No you don't, but ideally you will be reasonably fit and have a training programme in place which you should be ramping up to a level where you could pass the Physical Appraisal Test (PAT). NZ Police regularly hold PAT rehearsals, which give you the chance to gauge your fitness levels against our test requirements.

    This session is not assessed, but is compulsory and our Physical Education Officers (PEO's) will be on hand to offer training advice for areas where you need to improve.


  1. How can I apply?
    Go to Once you’ve completed the online seminar, you'll have the opportunity to apply online and submit your CV.  
  2. What is the selection process?
    Refer to the application checklist for detailed information regarding the process.
  3. Why are there no more seminars at police stations?
    Online seminars have replaced seminars at police stations.
  4. What is a "posting preference"?
    When you submit your additional information you will be able to nominate the districts you would like to work in. These are your posting preferences. We will be inviting the best candidates from around NZ to work in the districts where they are needed most. 
  5. Can I choose which district I get posted to?
  6. What is the initial telephone conversation and will it be assessed?
    Once you have cleared initial vetting, we will give you a call. This is a chance for us to ask you some questions and get to know you a little better. There is no need to prepare for this conversation, just be yourself. The conversation will cover questions such as your readiness for the assessment process and your motivation to join.


  1. What certificates do I need to supply at the assessment day?
    When you come in for the assessment day, you need to bring a photocopy and the originals of the following documents with you:
    - Full birth certificate (must show parents’ names)
    - Passport (if you have one)
    - Proof of NZ residency or NZ citizenship (if applicable)
    - Restricted or Full NZ Driver Licence
    - Your highest educational certificates
    - Firearms licence (if applicable).

    Before your interview, you need to have successfully obtained your Swimming Certificate (to be arranged and paid for by you). Your swimming certificate is valid for one year.
  2. What assessments are required before entering the RNZPC?
    You will be required to do assessments in:
    - Psychometric assessments, including verbal, numerical, and abstract reasoning, as well as a personality questionnaire.
    - Foundation skills assessment – tests whether you could benefit from further development in the areas of communications skills, numeracy, literacy or digital literacy.
    - Typing test (at least 25 words per minute).
    - Physical Appraisal Test (PAT) including run, press ups, jumps and grip test.
    - Physical Competency Test (PCT).
    - SCOPE (40 hours on the frontline).
    - Competency based interview.
    Pre Police College Distance Learning -  12 weeks part-time

    You can find out more about police entry requirements here, as well as print out the application checklist to keep track of your progress.
  3. Do I need to be able to swim?
    If you can’t swim or don't feel confident in the water, then don’t let this put you off! Investing in swimming lessons now might be the best investment you ever make.

    Applicants need to be able to pass our swimming test, which involves swimming 50 metres within 54 seconds, treading water for 5 minutes, and duck diving 3 metres to retrieve a rubber brick.

    You will need to have a swimming certificate before you attend an interview.

    Here you can download a list of police-certified assessors who are qualified to assess you for your swimming certificate.
  4. What does the Physical Appraisal Test (PAT) involve?
    The PAT consists of a 2.4km run, a vertical jump test, grip strength, and press-ups. The assessment is gender and age related. For detailed criteria for males and female, check out the requirements page. Here you will also find a video, which explains the components of the test.

    You will need to complete a PAT as part of Assessment Day and a Final PAT 10-12 weeks prior to starting at the RNZPC.
  5. Are there any special fitness groups that I could join while I'm going through the recruitment process?
    There are already a number of running groups in various districts - to find out if there is a running group in your area ask our local recruitment staff or look for other like minded people through the NZ Police Recruitment Facebook page.

    Physical Education Officers hold regular PAT rehearsal sessions. These will give you the chance to gauge your fitness levels against our test requirements. Though this session is not assessed, you are required to attend at least one prior to your actual PAT. Physical Education Officers will be on hand to offer training advice for areas where you need to improve.
  6. How do I book into a PAT rehearsal?
    Call 0800 NEWCOPS (0800 639 2677) from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, to find out when the next rehearsal is happening in your area.
  7. Do I get my marks for my psychometric assessments?
    After the psychometric assessments, recruitment staff can provide you with some feedback, on request.
  8. What is the foundations skills assessment?
    When you sit your psychometric assessments we may also get you to take a ‘foundation skills’ assessment. Unlike the psychometric assessment, this is not a road block to proceeding through the rest of the application process. It allows recruitment staff to test your literacy, numeracy, and digital literacy skills to see whether you could benefit from any further development prior to going to the RNZPC.

    If you meet the competencies of the skills test then you may not be required to undertake any further development. If you do need up-skilling, we’ll refer you on to a training provider in your area (for example community colleges, polytechnics, or private training establishments).

    Keep in mind that this foundation skill development can happen in parallel with the rest of the application process, so it won’t slow you down. This is a mechanism to help prepare you for success on the frontline.
  10. When will I take my Physical Competency Test (PCT)?
    You will complete your PCT during the selection process. The main requirement is that you must have a valid PCT (valid for 1 year) prior to going to the RNZPC. 
  11. Do you have any tips for preparing for my interview?
    Interviews are competency-based. You will be asked to describe a range of opportunities or experiences where you have had to demonstrate each of the assessed competencies. 

    You can find a range of useful info and tips on how to prepare for the interview by going to the training advice page and downloading the ‘Preparing for Police Selection’ booklet. You will receive more information when you are invited to an interview.
  12. Can I do work experience with NZ Police?
    All new recruits are required to undertake SCOPE. This is where applicants accompany frontline staff for 40 hours (4x 10 hour shifts) - this acts as a form of work experience and will give you a good opportunity to see the type of work that is carried out by NZ Police. 
  13. What happens after I complete the recruitment assessments?
    Once you have successfully met all the recruitment requirements and completed the Distance Learning course you'll be placed into the candidate pool. Being accepted into the candidate pool means you will be considered for selection to train at the RNZPC.

    Note that the candidate pool is not a waiting list. The strongest candidates are always chosen, according to the needs and priorities of the districts.

    Approximately twelve weeks before the start date of each wing, police will call up a number of candidates from the candidate pool to go to college.


  1. I’ve had some speeding tickets, can I still join NZ Police?
    The NZ Police recruitment policy prevents any applicant with 50 or more current demerit points from being accepted into NZ Police. You may reapply to join NZ Police once you have less than 50 demerit points on your licence.
  2. Will my application be rejected if I (or one of my friends or relatives) have a conviction?
    Not necessarily. Applicants with serious convictions relating to dishonesty, drugs, violence, drink driving and anything of a sexual nature are not eligible to join NZ Police. Applicants with less serious convictions are considered on a case by case basis. As part of the application process, thorough background checks are conducted. Every applicant is assessed according to his or her own merit.

    Because of NZ Police's commitment to reducing trauma on our roads, we need to set an example and will not recruit people for police officer positions if they have drink driving convictions.


  1. I'm working as a police officer overseas, how do I join NZ Police?
    You need to attain NZ Residency prior to applying. NZ Police are unable to assist with the immigration process. Once you obtain residency you will be required to undergo and pass all aspects of the NZ Police recruiting process and if successful, be accepted for training at the RNZPC when a vacancy becomes available.

    The training at the RNZPC is for a period of five months. It is very intensive and deals with law, how to deal with practical incidents, the understanding of cultural differences and social problems. A rigorous physical training programme is also part of the training, and a certain standard of expertise is required to be achieved.

    After graduation you may be considered for positions within specialist units using recognition of prior learning.

    We suggest you visit the NZ Immigration website if you wish to know more about obtaining New Zealand Residency.
  2. Do I need any documentation if I have been living overseas?
    If you have been a resident overseas for a period of three months or longer, whether you have NZ residency/citizenship or not, you will be required to provide an overseas police certificate for each country you have resided in.

    The Department of Immigration website has information on how to obtain these. I have been a serving member in the military, is there extra information I need to provide? If you have served in the armed forces, whether in NZ or overseas, or have been a member of an overseas police jurisdiction, you will be asked to complete a release so that we may have your service records released.


  1. Once I've met all the selection requirements, how long will I have to wait before I can go to the RNZPC?
    Depending on your chosen posting or postings, the demand for new recruits, and the number of people who have chosen the same posting, you may be in the candidate pool between a few weeks to one year. Recruitment staff will stay in contact with you while you are in the candidate pool.

  2. Will I get to the RNZPC faster if I apply for another district?
    The time it takes to get into the RNZPC depends on your individual strengths as a candidate (it's not "first-come first-served"). Whatever your posting preference, we will always call up the strongest candidates to the RNZPC first.

    Before nominating your posting preference it's worth considering your support base of family and friends. You can expect your first two years on the job to be challenging and it is invaluable to have local knowledge and a strong support network behind you.

    If you do wish to be considered for another district you can email the recruitment staff at or to update your details.
  3. Can I return home while I train at the RNZPC?
    In theory, weekends, from 5pm on Fridays, are free time for recruits and we encourage recruits to travel home to see their families. In practice, recruits are required to do self-directed study in the evenings and on weekends, so they need to balance this with family time. Some recruits will need to spend more time at the college studying in the weekends, if they find the study difficult or if they are unable to study well at home. 
  4. Are there childcare facilities at the RNZPC?
    There are no childcare or accommodation facilities for your family.
  5. Can I come to visit my partner at the college?
    Partners and families are welcome to visit any time, but recruits will not be available to spend time with you until after hours. If you would like to stay overnight or for a weekend, there is accommodation that can be booked through reception on site. Chalets cost $61 and flats $81 per night. There are also local motels and a campground with cabins within walking distance.
  6. Do I get to choose which wing I join?
    We recognise that there are often other commitments that people have. So while we may offer you a place on a wing, we are very comfortable if you advise us that you wish to delay your entry to the RNZPC. The decision on which wing to go to will be one that you can discuss with the recruitment staff. 

  7. Are there any costs associated with training at the RNZPC?
    You are paid a fortnightly salary whilst attending training at the RNZPC. Depending on your circumstances you may be expected to pay a small accommodation and/or meal fee for the duration of your training. You will be notified of this before going to the college and these payments would be deducted from your fortnightly salary. 

    Transport to the college in Porirua is paid for by police and this will be arranged with you just prior to going to the college.


  1. How much do police officers get paid? 
    Police officers are paid a competitive salary, at a level befitting the responsibilities of the role. After graduating you'll earn a salary of $52,335, with a total remuneration of around $58,584 for the first year out of college. On average, constables in their first year also earn around $6,000 in additional payments such as allowances and overtime.

    Further pay increases will depend on your role, your shift patterns and promotion. The average salary for an officer working in their fourth year is around $57,112 with an average remuneration of around $63,848, not including additional payments such as allowances and overtime. (Note: Remuneration includes salary, superannuation, life insurance and allowances).  Your pay is likely to increase along with your experience on the job.
  2. Will I get paid while I train at the RNZPC?
    Yes, you would be paid $35,775 gross per annum (total package $39,626), during the 18 weeks training period. This translates to $1,372.20 gross per fortnight.
  3. Would I have to do shift work, if so what are the rosters?
    All probationary constables (the RNZPC graduates) and most police officers work on a rostered basis. There are typically three shifts; 6:30am to 3:30pm, 1:30pm to 11:30pm and 10:30pm to 6:30am. The length of the shifts is balanced somewhat by the fact that officers commonly get three to four days off rather than two. Working groups work various shifts within a five week (39 day) period with 26 days at work and 13 days off.


  1. Are there many opportunities for professional development?
    There is huge potential for professional development, with over 30 career pathways you can choose from.

    Once you've completed two years as a probationary constable you can apply to work in other roles such as youth education, neighbourhood policing, the dive squad, search and rescue or the criminal investigation branch to name a few.

    If you prove yourself there are a lot of opportunities to step up into leadership roles, from becoming a sergeant, all the way through to becoming Police Commissioner.
  2. Can I go straight into forensics/dog handling?
    Once you have finished training at the RNZPC, you will be required to work as a probationary constable for two years. Once you have completed this requirement, you are able to apply to work in specialised areas.
  3. How do I become a police prosecutor?
    To become a prosecutor you need to either (a) be a police employee holding the office of constable or (b) hold a law degree (LLB) and a current practising certificate.

    Visit the NZ Police website for more information.
  4. How do I become a communications centre operator?
    Please refer to the section about our communications centre on the NZ Police website for more information. 

    You do not need to become a police officer to undertake this job.


  1. Are you eligible to re-apply?
    If you are a previous applicant and eligible to re-apply, please email your request to either (Lower North Island and South Island) or (Upper North Island). 

    The recruitment team will send you instructions on how to submit your application.


  1. I used to be able to log in to but now I can't, what should I do?
    We have updated our New Cops recruitment process. These changes require you to view our new online seminar. After watching this, you'll get your new profile and new login details.