New Cops | Do you care enough?

The public has high expectations of the service they get from New Zealand Police. That's why we’re selective about who we employ. We encourage you to take a professional approach and treat every interaction with our staff as an opportunity to impress.

Overview of the selection process

To be eligible to enter training at the Royal NZ Police College (RNZPC) you need to successfully complete a range of assessments as well as a part-time distance learning course. Once these are completed, you will enter the 'candidate pool'. How long it takes to get there will depend on your motivation levels, readiness and strength as an applicant. On average we would expect this to take between 6 and 10 months.

Our assessments will look at your suitability to be a cop, including your fitness levels, reasoning abilities, and your character. These assessments are explained below. You can find some further resources to help you prepare for the various assessments on the Start Training page.

After Submitting your Application
Initial Vetting

We'll use the information you provided in your application form to complete initial vetting enquiries. We aim to get vetting completed within two weeks.

Phone Conversation

We'll give you a call. This is a chance for us to ask you some questions and get to know you a little better. You can expect a call from one of our team within two weeks of initial vetting clearance.

Physical Appraisal Test – Rehearsal

To enter police college, you need to be physically fit and in excellent health. During the selection process, you’ll be assessed against a range of fitness standards that reflect the operational requirements of policing on the frontline. Have a look at our PAT training advice page for more information.

After you have met the academic standards at assessment day, you will attend an initial Physical Appraisal Test (PAT). Before you attend an initial PAT, you must attend at least one (but no more than three) PAT rehearsal(s). This rehearsal allows you to practice the PAT in the company of other applicants and our helpful Physical Education staff. While not formally assessed, it's an opportunity to gauge where you are at in terms of your fitness and to get training tips for areas where you need to improve.

To book a PAT rehearsal call 0800 NEW COPS (0800 639 2677)

Initial Medical

We'll send you a health questionnaire to complete. Depending on circumstances you may also need to complete an asthma questionnaire and/or a vision examination at this stage. Once we've received your completed questionnaire(s), it can take up to three weeks to complete an initial health assessment.

Attend an Assessment Day
What is Expected?

On your assessment day, you will complete a psychometric assessment and a personality profile. You may also be required to complete a literacy assessment. To complete all of these assessments you will need to allow about three hours, including time for a break. In most locations, you'll be expected to attend an assessment day within eight weeks of receiving initial medical clearance. Results from your assessments will be provided to you within one week.

Psychometric Assessment

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:

  1. Verbal reasoning
  2. Numerical reasoning
  3. Abstract reasoning.

It is important that all police recruits have the ability to meet the required standards, as they are an indicator of a person’s ability to cope with the intellectual demands of police training and police work.

There a wealth of books on psychometric testing available from your bookshop 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 Profile

Personality traits have an impact on how people behave at work and within other settings. A personality profile is a written questionnaire designed to provide a picture of your likely strengths and weaknesses in specific personality areas that are 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.

Literacy Assessment

If you don’t have a minimum education level of NZ UE English Language Literacy or equivalent, you will need to complete a literacy assessment. This assesses language literacy, and the content is specifically relevant to police officers.

For more information about NZ UE English Literacy standards, please visit the NZQA website. You can try some practice questions here.

What is SCOPE?

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.

You will spend around 40 hours (in 4x10 hour shifts) alongside a police officer 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 and values required to be a police officer.

SCOPE sessions are arranged by the recruitment team after you have successfully completed an assessment day. 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. In most locations, you'll complete your SCOPE shifts within eight weeks of completing an assessment day.

Attend a Formal Interview
What is Expected?

The formal interview is conducted by recruitment staff who will be looking for certain “behavioural competencies” essential for the role of a Police Officer. In most locations, you'll attend a formal interview within eight weeks of completing an initial PAT and SCOPE.

You will be asked to speak about specific examples or occasions when you have displayed these behaviours (partner, deliver, solve, communicate). You will also be asked to describe the context, your action(s), and result(s) for each example. You should also prepare to answer questions which demonstrate your alignment with police values. Think about what unique skills and experiences you would bring to the role e.g. speaking another language.

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.
Core Competencies

Throughout the constabulary recruitment process, our staff will evaluate the extent to which you match the following core competencies. These may be asked about at your formal interview.


Two-way communication is an essential part of what we do as an organisation. We listen carefully and convey information in a clear, constructive, and professional manner at all times.


We actively create and maintain relationships that inspire the trust of others. We seek to understand and appreciate our differences and work cooperatively to share information and achieve desired outcomes.


We consider situations from different perspectives, explore alternatives and assess their consequences before taking action. We take responsibility for our decisions and are prepared to review and change our approach when required.


We are committed to delivering a high standard of service. We take personal responsibility for our performance – setting clear expectations, planning and prioritising our work, and seeking feedback from others in order to achieve our objectives.

NZ Police Values

As future employees, we want to ensure that your character and approach to both life and work matches our values. The following values are lived by NZ Police staff every day. During the constabulary recruitment process we will be looking for evidence of the following to ensure that as a new recruit you will continue to win the trust and confidence of everyone who lives in New Zealand:


Our employees take pride in representing police and making a difference in the communities they serve. Looking and behaving professionally, in combination with expertise, is essential to ensuring colleagues and communities feel safe and are safe. In short, we want to “look the part, and be the part”.


Police should treat everyone with dignity, uphold individual rights and honour their freedoms. We treat others as they would want to be treated. Being respectful of colleagues and the communities we work with builds trust and confidence in the organisation.


Police employees need to be honest and uphold excellent ethical standards. Our integrity as individuals, and as an organisation, is critical to building the trust and confidence of our colleagues and the communities we serve.

Commitment to Māori and the Treaty

Police act in good faith of, and respect, the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The principles are “partnership”, “protection” and “participation”. Working with Māori is essential to success. Police and Māori stand together, because only together can we build the support and relationships that will reverse the over-representation of Māori in the criminal justice system.


All police employees seek to understand and consider the experience and perspective of the people we serve. It’s about walking in other people’s shoes. Better results will be achieved when we appreciate situations from the point of view of all those we serve and work alongside.

Valuing Diversity

We recognise the value which different perspectives and experiences bring to making us better at what we do. Reflecting the people we serve and appreciating different thinking will lead to better problem solving and better results.

NZ Police's values may also be accessed in Māori, Hindi, Samoan, or simplified Chinese.

Typing Assessment

This is completed at the formal interview stage.

The evolution of technology in society highlights the importance of possessing well-rounded computer skills. Your general computer 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. Police officers need to be able to competently use a computer, keyboard, and mouse.

The typing assessment gauges your familiarity with Windows-based personal computer software and your basic keyboard and mouse skills. You will be required to operate 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.

There are free online tools available to assess your typing speed.

Pre-Police College Distance Learning Course
What is Distance Learning?

It is a prerequisite for any person starting at the Royal NZ Police College (RNZPC). The distance learning course runs in parallel with the remainder of the selection process. It provides a base level of knowledge about policing and is run by an external tertiary education provider. Most applicants will be invited to enrol in the next available cohort after successfully completing a formal interview.

Other Assessments
Water Competency

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.


You will need to have a CV ready to submit before you attend an Assessment Day. You will be asked for this once you have received medical clearance.

Physical Appraisal Test (PAT)

After you've met the academic standards at assessment day, you can attend an initial PAT. This will run in parallel with SCOPE, and prior to your formal interview.

PAT is based on a points system where you receive a number of points for each component of the test, based on your specific performance. All applicants need to achieve a total of at least 11 points across the four test. You must achieve at least one point on each of the four tests. Have your BMI calculated here.

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

1. Run 2.4 km in under


Body Mass Index 




 Times (min)   Points   Points   Points 
 Over 12:00  0   0   0 
 11:16 - 12:00  0  0  2
 10:15 - 11:15   2  3  4
 Under 10:15  4  5  6



Body Mass Index 




 Times (min)  Points  Points  Points
 Over 13:00  0  0  0
 12:16 - 13:00  0  0  2
 11:15 - 12:15  2  3  4
 Under 11:15  4  5  6

2. Your vertical jump ability

This measures your leg strength and power. Below are the minimum standards by gender


Jump (cm) 


 48 & over   3
 40-47  2
 32-39  1
 Under 32  0



Jump (cm) 


 40 & over  3
 33-39  2
 26-32  1
 Under 26  0

3. The number of correctly executed continuous press-ups you can do

Below are the minimum standards by gender.




 34 & over  3
 25-33  2
 Under 25  0





 20 & over  3
 15-19  2
 Under 15  0

4. A test of your grip strength

This ensures you have the grip and forearm strength to operate firearms and to restrain and handcuff people. Below are the minimum standards by gender




 120 & over  3
 105-119.9  2
 90-104.9  1
 Under 90  0





 70 & over  3
 60-69.9  2
 50-59.9  1
 Under 50  0


Body Mass Index (BMI) data will be captured and used in conjunction with a waist to hip ratio. If required, we will advise applicants of programmes to aid weight reduction and therefore increase both health and fitness levels.

A PAT rehearsal will provide more information about these tests.

You will also need to complete a final PAT 8-12 weeks prior to starting at RNZPC.

Download a one-page reference guide.

Physical Competencies Test (PCT)

The PCT establishes your ability to cope with the routine physical tasks that are part of front-line police work. It is a timed run on an obstacle course, and you'll need to pass it before starting police college. 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. However, these tasks shouldn't be difficult for people with above average strength, fitness, balance, and coordination.

You will need to complete the PCT within 12 weeks of completing the initial PAT. The main requirement is that you must have a valid PCT (valid for 1 year) before going to the RNZPC.

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.

Watch below how recruits tackle the 12 different obstacles in the final PCT and find out what time you’ll need to achieve to be accepted.

The PCT Test

Reference Checks

Our recruitment staff will contact three referees to check your suitability for entry into a police career. Appropriate referees would be past or present employers, officials of clubs you belong to, or groups you've been a member of.

After you've completed your formal interview, we will complete reference checks. We expect this to take two week.

Final Medical

You will undertake a final medical examination paid for by NZ Police.  Once we’ve received your GP's report it can take up to two weeks to complete a final medical assessment.

Costs Involved


Average cost

Medical report* $60-$150
Asthma report* $65-$100
Visual exam* $60-$150
Laser eye surgery* $2000-$7000
Specialist medical report* $300-$600
Overseas police check* $50-$150
Distance learning $715


* if applicable