New Cops | Do you care enough?

Applicants are assessed against medical standards that have been structured in line with the inherent requirements of operational policing.

Due to the highly unpredictable nature of operational activity, constabulary employees need to be skilled, healthy and functionally able to undertake operational duties. An operational role can change dramatically from sedentary screen-based data-entry duties to exercising “use of force” skills in dangerous circumstances over very short periods of time.

While physically demanding incidents may be infrequent, they can be intense, critical and even life-threatening. Having the operational functionality to exercise these skills safely is essential to a constabulary employee's ability to execute his/her duties. A constabulary employee is expected to be in a state of readiness at all times.

Operational duties may include demanding tasks such as:

  • Immediate response to emergency situations
  • Safe use and custody of firearms
  • Dealing with uncooperative members of the public
  • Attending domestic disputes
  • Crowd control
  • Surveillance duties
  • Urgent police motor vehicle driving
  • Shift work and working for extended periods and
  • Exposure to physical and psychological stressors.
  • Search and rescue
  • Forensics
  • Commercial vehicle inspections.

While an applicant may be considered to have an appropriate standard of health on the day of examination, the medical assessment is part of a health risk assessment process to ensure that an applicant is not only able to safely undertake the physical, medical and psychological demands of NZ Police recruit training, but are also considered able to undertake the role of an operational police officer.

While often guided by specialist medical opinion a candidate’s suitability to undergo NZ Police recruit training is determined by NZ Police.

Applicants must declare all current medical conditions, past medical history, use of medications and the need for medical aids at the time of the medical assessment. Relevant medical reports of previous treatment(s) or specialist referrals must be made available to the Medical Clearance Coordinator and be used as part of the medical assessment.

All NZ Police applicants are required to go through a two-step medical clearance process initial medical clearance (prior to assessment day) and a final medical clearance (prior to commencing training at RNZPC if call-up is confirmed). NZ Police considers each application on its individual merits, taking into account the NZ Police medical entry standard. However, there are a number of medical conditions that are likely to or may exclude some applicants. Vision and asthma are assessed at the initial medical clearance stage.

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.

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


An applicant must have visual acuity that will ensure they can safely and effectively perform an operational policing role. This includes not placing the individual or members of the public at undue risk as a result of incidents where they lose any visual aids.

A visual examination is to be conducted for all applicants who have answered yes to any of the visual questions in the Health Questionnaire at the initial medical clearance stage and is required for all applicants prior to commencing training.

The criteria for an applicant are NOT met, if:

  • An applicant makes more than 2 errors in the 6/12 line with each eye uncorrected
  • An applicant makes more errors in the 6/6 line with each eye corrected.

A history of photorefractive keratomy (PRK), laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) or laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK), implantable contact lens (ICL) surgery is acceptable provided there are no residual side effects and all other vision standards have been met.

Colour Vision

Colour vision shall initially be assessed with the Ishihara Test, if an applicant fails this, further assessment and a diagnostic colour perception test is required.


Applicants must notify NZ Police medical team if they have ever had asthma (to any degree). A history of Asthma does not necessarily exclude the applicant. However, supporting documentation and assessment will be required.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions regarding your medical suitability for NZ Police constabulary recruitment please contact the medical team at

Medical exclusions

There are medical conditions that may prevent a person from being able to safely and effectively undertake NZ Police recruit training and perform an operational role. These medical conditions may exclude you from being selected for NZ Police recruit training. These exclusions include, but are not limited to:

  • Hearing level averaging less than or equal to 20dB in either ear between 0.5KHz and 3.KHz
  • Hearing level less than or equal to 30db at 4.0KHz
  • Hearing level less than or equal to 40db between 6KHz and 8KHz
  • Protanopia (a type of colour blindness)
  • Organic disease of the heart or arteries
  • A history of chronic obstructive airways disease, chronic bronchitis, or, bronchiectasis
  • Clinical signs of lumbar nerve root
  • Chronic back pain
  • Inflammatory arthritis, including ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • A history of psychotic illness will exclude until full recovery is demonstrated
  • Current use of psychotropic medication e.g. medication to treat depression or anxiety)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus requiring insulin
  • Hernia
  • Organic disease of the nervous system
  • Migraines, and, cluster headaches
  • A history of drug addiction.

Other Medical Conditions

Other issues that may exclude candidates and will be considered on a case-by-case basis include, but are not limited to:

  • A history of psychological disorders (e.g. depression, or anxiety)
  • A history of tinnitus, or, hearing deficit
  • A history of keratotomy (RK), keratoplasty (AK), glaucoma, defects in the optical media, or, aphakia (a NZ Police visual assessment will identify any of these if you don't already know)
  • A history of diplopia, strabismus, or, monocularity (visual)
  • A history of myocardial infarction, stent, or, use of a pacemaker (heart problems)
  • Hypertension (elevated blood pressure - see below)
  • Systolic blood pressure of greater than 140 mmHg, or, a diastolic blood pressure of greater than 90 mmHg
  • Heart murmurs
  • A history of asthma requiring long-term ongoing oral steroid treatment
  • Cystic fibrosis or a history of tuberculosis (respiratory - lung diseases)
  • A history of recurrent pneumothorax (collapsed lung)
  • A history of sleep apnoea (temporary inability to breathe)
  • Unreconstructed shoulder following dislocation
  • Lumbar spine fusion (back surgery)
  • Unreconstructed ACL tears (knee)
  • A history of musculoskeletal injuries or conditions
  • Clinically evident osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)of the knee
  • Poor muscular development, abnormal gait (walking style), or limitation of movement in any joint
  • A history of chondromalacia, patellar dislocation, tracking disorder, cruciate ligament repair, meniscectomy, compartment syndrome, or, shin splints (lower limb injuries +/- surgery)
  • A history of chronic neck or back pain
  • Amputation
  • Bleeding disorders and, clotting disorders (e.g. haemophilia)
  • Treatment with anticoagulants (blood thinners)
  • Serious chronic diseases such as leukaemia, polycythemia, and, myelofibrosis (bone marrow cancers)
  • A history of deep vein thrombosis, or, pulmonary embolism (blood clot on the lungs)
  • A history of skin conditions psoriasis, eczema, tumours, naevi, chronic active pustular or cystic acne
  • Malignant melanoma (a serious type of skin cancer)
  • A history of prostate disease, testicular, bladder or renal carcinoma
  • Haematuria, and, proteinuria (passing blood or protein in your urine)
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus requiring insulin
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Chronic infection of the external or middle ear
  • Liver disease
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, or, irritable bowel syndrome
  • Chronic or recurrent Crohn's disease, or, ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • A history of seizure, epilepsy, fainting, and, "funny turns"
  • Malignant disease, or, a history of malignant disease
  • Immunosuppressive medication (e.g. oral steroids, chemotherapy)
  • A history of alcoholism
  • A history of drug/substance abuse
  • A history of chronic fatigue, or, glandular fever
  • A history of claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces), narcolepsy (sleep disorder) or, nyctophobia (fear of the dark).

Physical Body Mass (PBM)

You can determine your PBM with the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand's PBM calculator