Application Process



To be eligible to enter training at the Royal NZ Police College you will need to successfully complete a range of assessments and reach the 'candidate pool'. How long it takes to get there will depend on your motivation levels, readiness and strength as an applicant. In general it takes a minimum of 4-6 months to step through the recruitment process to reach the candidate pool. Reaching the candidate pool signals that you have the potential to become a cop and allows you to be considered for future wings at college.


Applicants must be physically fit and in excellent health. There is no minimum height requirement. Tests are the Physical Appraisal Test (PAT), and the Physical Competency Test (PCT).

It is important that applicants meet the police fitness requirements to enable them to complete defensive tactics training at the Royal NZ Police College and to cope with the myriad of potentially dangerous and random events that confront them every day in an operational setting as a police officer.

Rehearsals for the Physical Appraisal Test (PAT)

To give you a chance to practice for the real PAT, free rehearsals are run regularly by recruitment staff or Physical Education Officers. Your physical ability and fitness will be assessed and you’ll get advice on how to achieve the fitness requirements for the real test.

We recommend that you don't sit the actual PAT until you can comfortably pass a rehearsal. You can do as many rehearsals as you like.

To book in a PAT Rehearsal call 0800 NEW COPS (0800-639-2677)

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

The time it takes for you to run 2.4 kilometres


  • Under 20 years: 10 min 51 seconds
  • 20 - 29 years: 10 min 15 seconds
  • 30 - 34 years: 10 min 50 seconds
  • 35 - 39 years: 11 min 30 seconds
  • 40+ years: 12 min 15 seconds


  • Under 20 years: 12 min 54 seconds
  • 20 - 29 years: 11 min 50 seconds
  • 30 - 34 years: 12 min 25 seconds
  • 35 - 39 years: 13 min 10 seconds
  • 40+ years: 14 min 10 seconds

Your vertical jump ability. For men this should be at least 48cm; for women, at least 40cm. The number of correctly executed continuous press-ups you can do. For men this should be 34 or more; for women, 20 or more.

A test of your grip strength which ensures you have the grip and forearm strength to operate firearms and to restrain and handcuff people. For men the combined total of both hands should be at least 96kg; for women, at least 52kg.

BMI data will be captured, and used in conjunction with a waist to hip ratio to advise applicants of programs to undertake weight reduction and therefore increase both health and fitness levels if required.

A PAT Rehearsal will provide more information about these tests.

The Physical Competency Test

The PCT establishes your ability to cope with the routine physical tasks that are part of frontline police work. You will be tested in 12 physical tasks including a 200 metre run, pushing a trailer, walking along a raised beam, crawling under hurdles, and climbing through a window. They shouldn’t be difficult tasks for people with average strength, fitness, balance and co-ordination.

Some candidates may be asked to take the PCT on the assessment day, others may wait until later in the selection process. The main requirement is that you must pass the PCT within 7 weeks of going to the Royal NZ Police College. 

These standards serve to maximise officer safety by minimising risk and are designed for the protection of both the officer and the offender. All police officers have to pass this every two years.

Swimming Certificate of Competency

This involves:

  • Swimming 50 metres within 54 seconds.
  • Treading water for 5 minutes.
  • Duck dive 3 metres to retrieve a rubber brick.

Click here for a swimming assessment centre in your area. If you can't swim at the moment, don't stress. We highly recommend you take some professional lessons - it could be the best investment you ever make!


The academic and problem-solving assessments measure general intellectual skills. They test your ability to see relationships and solve problems.

There are three parts to the psychometric assessment. They are: Verbal, Numerical and Abstract Reasoning.

It is important that all police recruits have the ability to pass these assessments as they are an indicator of a person’s ability to cope with the intellectual demands of police training and police work. Struggling to pass them would indicate that you would benefit from developing these skills before going to the Royal NZ Police College.

There is a huge range of books on psychometric testing available from your book shop to help you prepare for the assessments. A relevant book to help you revise, containing vocabulary, numerical and abstract patterns is Joosten, V. (2000) "Preparing for Career Selection Tests - Numeracy and General Ability", 2nd and 3rd editions.


Personality traits have an impact on how people behave at work and within other settings.

Personality profiling is a written questionnaire designed to provide a picture of your likely strengths and weaknesses in specific personality areas, relevant to police work.

The assessment provides your recruiter with a guide as to what motivates you, what attitudes you have, what emotional characteristics you have, and how you handle interpersonal interactions.


Foundation skills assessment 

When you sit your psychometric assessment 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 our 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 Police College. Feedback from previous recruits is that they could have benefited from assistance during the application process to prepare for the demands of training at Police College.

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 onto 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.

Computer/keyboard skills test

The evolution of technology in society highlights the importance of possessing well-rounded computer skills. General PC skills such as email, researching online and formatting documents in Microsoft Office should be at a level where you can successfully operate in a tertiary and business environment.

The PC/Keyboard Skills Test simply gauges your familiarity with Windows-based personal computer software and your basic keyboard and mouse skills. You will be required to open Microsoft Word on a PC, which will be provided, and do a 10 minute copy-typing test. The minimum typing speed is 25 words per minute.



The formal interview is conducted by a recruitment expert who will be looking for certain “behavioural competencies” essential for NZ Police officers.

You will be asked to speak about specific examples or occasions when you have displayed these behaviours, namely  'accountability for performance', 'exercising judgment' and 'building partnerships'. You should also prepare to answer questions designed to test your alignment to police values of integrity, professionalism, respect and commitment to Māori and the Treaty.

Some tips before the interview:
  • Remember the more prepared you are, the less nervous you'll be
  • Consider the experience and opportunities you've had to demonstrate each of the competencies. You should consider at least three examples that you can discuss in detail for each competency. The examples can be from either a work or non-work setting, depending on your experience.
  • Focus on discussing what you did, why and how you did it and describe your specific actions and behaviours.
  • Consider the reasons why you want to become a police officer
  • Identify transferable skills, key accomplishments, work style, and personal and professional strengths and weaknesses.
  • Write down any questions you'd like to ask.


Every interaction with our staff is an opportunity to impress. Throughout the recruitment process our staff will be evaluating the extent to which you match the following core competencies and values  below. These may be asked about at your formal interview.


All police members are committed and loyal to the vision, values and goals of the organisation.


All police members are aware of the impact of their behaviour at all times. They maintain self-control, are resilient and present a professional image. They uphold the rule of law and maintain the guidelines, standards, policies and procedures set by the organisation.


All police members understand that their role is to acknowledge and respond to our diverse society and to serve all people with dignity. In doing so they recognise the rights, values and freedoms of all people.

Commitment to Maori and Treaty

NZ Police has a commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi principles and as such, are responsive to Maori needs and aspirations. All police members recognise this commitment and follow through by integrating Maori values and principles into their work. They recognise that by being responsive they are promoting good police practice.

Accountability for Performance

Effective performers take personal responsibility for achieving personal and team goals and targets. They set clear objectives and are committed to their work. They plan, prioritise and use their time and energy effectively to achieve desired outcomes. They promote accountability in others and take responsibility for their own actions and decisions.

Building Partnerships

Effective performers work co-operatively with others to build partnerships and achieve desired outcomes. They actively network, create and maintain relationships that inspire trust amongst all stakeholders in order to share information and co-ordinate action effectively.

Challenging for Continuous Improvement

Effective performers are flexible and responsive to the changing needs of the community and organisation. They constantly seek improvement to ensure effective and efficient service delivery. They demonstrate the ability to adapt to new situations and promote and encourage initiatives for personal and organisational improvement.

Exercising Judgement

Effective performers seek out and make full use of all available information and experience to resolve a situation. They analyse the options and associated risks while considering possible solutions within time constraints. Once the analysis has been completed, they make sound decisions or recommendations.

Influential Leadership

Effective performers communicate a vision, provide direction, coordinate and develop individuals and teams. They inspire and motivate others through personal example, while enabling colleagues to maximise potential. They use a combination of authority and influence at all levels of the organisation.

Strategic Development

Effective performers think strategically when planning for the future. They develop national, district or service centre strategy that determines business and operational planning and policy.


SCOPE is an acronym that stands for Surroundings, Conditions/descriptions, Organisation, People/prospects, and Effects/education/training. It is a chance for you to experience first hand what being a police officer is all about.

SCOPE has two parts. The first is spending around 40 hours at a police station, where you will observe as many different aspects of police work as possible. The officers who work with you during the 40 hours will evaluate you in relation to the core competencies required to be a police officer.

The second part of SCOPE is some reading material that will provide you with useful information about the job. You will be tested on the content of the reading material.

SCOPE sessions are arranged by the police recruitment expert as part of your recruitment process.


You will also be required during this time to have your fingerprints taken. These will then be checked against our database and if you are successful in your application, will be held on a database for elimination purposes from crime scenes you may attend as part of your work.

If you do not wish to have your fingerprints taken we will not be able to proceed any further with your application.



You require a full NZ Driver licence before you can apply. First Aid and Advanced Driving Skills certificates are not required until you have passed the psychometric and physical appraisal tests.

Workplace First Aid Certificate

You need to get this certificate which covers NZQA units 6400, 6401 and 6402. Alternatively you need 26551 and 26552. Major providers include Triple One CareSt John and the Red Cross.

Advanced Driving Skills Certificate

You’ll also need an approved Advanced Driving Skills Certificate. See the NZ Transport Agency website for details.



Our recruitment staff will talk to between three and six referees to check your suitability for entry into a career with the NZ Police. Appropriate referees would be past or present employers, people of good standing in the community who have known you for a significant length of time, and officials of clubs you belong to.



Click the link below to see what’s involved in the Physical Appraisal Test, and the fitness levels you’ll need to pass it.

Pass the PAT


Click the link below and watch recruits tackle the 12 different obstacles in the final Physical Competency Test.

Pass the PCT

The Physical Competency Test is a timed run on an obstacle course, and you’ll need to pass it before starting police college. Watch recruits tackle the 12 different obstacles on the course, and find out what time you’ll need to achieve to be accepted.