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, there are two fitness assessments: the Physical Appraisal Test (PAT) and the Physical Competency Test (PCT). You’ll need 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.

Asthma

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.

Vision

If you have answered "yes" to any of the visual questions in the Health Questionnaire at the initial medical clearance stage, you’ll need to do a vision test. This is also required for all candidates before commencing training. You need to have good eyesight, which we will be assessed at the initial medical stage of the application process. As a guide, you will need to be able to legally drive without requiring glasses or contact lenses. Yes, you can wear glasses or contact lenses, provided your vision still meets the uncorrected standard when you are not wearing them, or if they become dislodged.

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

Colour Vision

Your colour-vision will be initially assessed using the Ishihara Test. If you don’t pass, further assessment and a diagnostic colour perception test is required.

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 Physical Body Mass (PBM)?

We consider weight when assessing your medical and physical fitness, but, as there is no cut-off, an elevated or low PBM does not always result in a decline. It’s important to note that a PBM 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, it is a reliable indicator of total body fat, which is related to the future risk of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, etc. For a medical clearance, a PBM 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 PBM calculator to work out a candidate's PBM.

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