New Cops | Do you care enough?


If you are attracted by a career that encourages a healthy and balanced lifestyle, then you’ve come to the right place.

As a cop you’ll be trained to face a myriad of challenging and sometimes random events. Being physically fit and in excellent health is vital to completing your training at the Royal NZ Police College (RNZPC) and for operating on the frontline, once you are attested, and commence in your district.

During the constabulary recruitment process you’ll be assessed against medical standards that are in line with the requirements of operational policing. For more details, check out our medical suitability guidelines.

IMPORTANT: if you are currently receiving medical treatment for an injury or illness or are awaiting specialist review or surgery, you are ineligible to submit an application until such time you have fully recovered and have been discharged from health care services.


You must notify the NZ Police medical team if you have ever had asthma (to any degree). A history of asthma will not necessarily exclude you, however supporting documentation and assessment will be required.


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 photo refractive keratomy (PRK), laser insitu keratmileusis (LASIK) or laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK), or implantable contact lens (ICL) surgery is acceptable if:

  • A minimum of three months has elapsed since LASIK, LASEK, or PRK surgery, prior to commencing recruit training
  • There are no residual side effects
  • 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.

Mental Health

You must be able to manage the psychological stressors and demands of operational Policing. A history of a mental health disorder or symptoms of (please see below) may exclude you until full functional recovery is demonstrated.

  • 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 individually assessed (by an approved senior clinical psychologist and/or NZ vocational registered psychiatrist) taking into account the clinical diagnosis, prescribed medication and/or therapy, duration of treatment, recurrence of symptoms, and individual circumstances (trigger or cause) from which a mental health disorder was a consequence.

A stand down period may be imposed to ensure you are free of symptoms and medical treatment that may 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. If history suggests that symptoms have persisted for 2 years or more or are recurrent, then this is likely to lead to a medical decline.


The best time to start training is right now. Have a look at our PAT training advice page for more information.

The two fitness related assessments within the recruitment process you’ll need to prepare for are the Physical Appraisal Test (PAT) and the Physical Competency Test (PCT).

The PCT Test

You will complete an initial PAT after you've successfully completed assessment day. Before you can attend an initial PAT you need to attend at least one PAT rehearsal. This is a great opportunity to see how this test is administered. It will also help you to gauge your current fitness levels and work out what you need to improve before you attempt the real thing. To find out more about the PAT and how to book into a rehearsal, take a look at the Recruitment Journey section.

Water competency requirements at RNZPC

NZ police officers regularly work around waterways and oceans as a part of their everyday duty. From time to time our people have to make timely and safe decisions about working around and sometimes in water in response to many different event types ranging from vehicle crashes to weather driven civil defence emergencies.

During your time at RNZPC we will teach you how to operate safely in water of varying levels of risk so that you can establish a safe way to operate in marine and fresh water environments based on your own skills and confidence levels. These will be water-based activities that teach you the hazards presented by moving and dark water, ocean movement and currents, risks relating to vehicles in water, and of course your uniform with all its attached equipment and its performance when immersed. The aim will be to leave RNZPC with an advanced understanding of all hazards involving water you may come across as a police officer, so you can be safe and feel safe when making decisions to act in these environments.

To be successful as a police constable we want you to be safe and confident around water. To help you in your new role we recommend working to improve your water confidence. Police uses the following tasks to determine how confident you are in and around water:

  • Submerge in water
  • Remove clothing while in water
  • Scull 10 metres
  • Swim 50 metres freestyle
  • Swim 25 metres side-stroke
  • Swim 25 meters breast-stroke.

When you get to college there will be an evaluation during the first couple of weeks to determine how water confident you are. Don’t worry if you can’t do all the items on the list – your training at RNZPC will equip you with the skills and tools to work safely in and around water.

Given that drowning is one of the leading causes of death in New Zealand, we strongly encourage people to improve their water competency so that you are better prepared to work in and around water.