New Zealand Police

Prepare for the New Zealand Police recruitment process with tailor-made practice materials.

New Zealand Police Aptitude Tests

Careers in the New Zealand Police

The New Zealand Police (Nga Pirihimana O Aotearoa) operates to prevent crime and harm on New Zealand soil. It works with communities to ensure everyone is safe and feels safe too. Its goals are to ensure safe homes, safe roads, and safe communities - whilst earning the trust and confidence of all.

The force has over 13,000 staff members working across land, sea, and air and it deals with over 860,000 emergency calls annually.

The New Zealand Police performs a number of key functions: keeping the peace, maintaining public safety, law enforcement, crime prevention, community support and reassurance, national security, and emergency management, as well as participation in policing activities outside New Zealand where appropriate.

Types of New Zealand Police Jobs

To ensure it delivers on its duties, the New Zealand Police recruits top talent into its four main work areas. These career pathways provide a range of diverse and challenging specialisms and roles.

  • Frontline Response - General Duties Constable, Road Policing, Sergeant
  • Prevention & Community - Youth Aid, Family Harm Team, Neighbourhood Policing Team, Iwi Liaison Officer, Ethnic Liaison Officer, School Community Officers
  • Investigation & Leadership - Financial Crime Unit, Child Protection Team, Forensics, Prosecutions, Protection Services, Detective, Training and Leadership Development
  • Specialist Squads - Dive Squad, Air Support Unit, Dog Handler, Special Tactics Group, Search and Rescue, Armed Offenders Squad, Police Negotiator, Maritime.

How to Get a Job in the New Zealand Police

To secure a role with the New Zealand Police, you'll need to display that you have the skills and competencies required for your chosen policing specialism and will excel in fulfilling your responsibilities.

The recruitment team also wants to see that you will live the New Zealand Police values and work to win the trust and confidence of the communities you'll serve.

You'll need to display your alignment with the force's six core values throughout the hiring process: Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Commitment to Māori and the Treaty, Empathy, and Valuing Diversity.

New Zealand Police Application Process Stages

To join the New Zealand Police, you'll need to impress at each stage of a competitive recruitment process designed to ensure the strongest candidates are selected. It will feature an initial application, phone interview, background checks, online aptitude testing, an additional application form, medical checks, physical fitness assessments, work experience shifts, and a final interview.

The process may seem daunting but, with a good grasp of what you'll encounter and some targeted preparation, you'll be ready to impress the recruitment team and secure your role with the New Zealand Police.

Apply Online

The first step in the hiring process is to submit an online application for your desired location. The NewCops section of the website details which districts are currently accepting applications, and is updated as recruitment cycles open.

To begin your application you'll need to create an online account. The application form will ask you to provide your contact information, your personal details (including passport, drivers licence and immigration status), and your residence history (including any time spent abroad).

You'll also be asked a few questions designed to measure your integrity. It is important that all the information you give is correct, as it will be confirmed through an initial background check.

Initial Background Checks

The information provided in your application will be used to conduct a background check on you and, if you have one, your partner or spouse.

Your record will be checked for any offences or convictions - whether these impact your eligibility depends upon the severity and when it took place.

There will also be a credit check, core children's worker check, immigration check, fingerprint clearance, reference checks, and background checks on your family and friends.

If relevant, you may also require overseas police clearance, military clearance from the NZ Defence Force and/or a Ministry of Social Development benefit check.

Initial Phone Conversation

If you pass the background check, you'll be contacted to organise a phone call. This will be an initial chat, designed so the recruiters can find out a bit more about you. It will last about 15 minutes.

The conversation is also a chance for you to ask any questions you have about the recruitment process - though make sure you have a good awareness of what is involved at each stage of the process before the call.

You'll be asked for your most recent 1.5 mile (2.4km) run time to see whether you meet, or are close to meeting, the physical fitness requirements.

Online Aptitude Testing

The next stage of the process is a round of psychometric testing. You will complete two assessments: an ability assessment and a personality assessment.

The ability assessment provides an insight into whether you have the intellectual skills needed to successfully carry out police work. The assessment is timed and must be completed in 30 minutes. During this time, you'll have to answer 60 multiple-choice questions.

The assessment will feature the following types of questions (though note that there are no specific sections within the test, so questions will appear in a random, mixed order).

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning questions assess your skills of interpretation, analysis, and deduction. You'll be presented with a short passage of text to read through carefully. The questions will present a statement and you'll need to indicate whether the statement is 'True', 'False', or if you 'Cannot Say' based upon the information provided.

To score well, you'll need to be able to rapidly absorb information and make accurate deductions and inferences from the text. There may also be questions relating to the spelling, grammar, and use of language within the text.

Numerical Reasoning

A numerical reasoning test provides insight into your ability to interpret data and handle numbers. The data will be provided in charts, graphs, and tables so you'll need to be prepared to identify the salient numerical information rapidly.

The questions involve basic mathematical concepts such as fractions, percentages, ratios, sequences, currency conversations, general arithmetic, and simple algebra.

Abstract Reasoning

Abstract reasoningquestions explore your critical thinking and problem-solving ability. They require the interpretation of patterns involving shapes and symbols. You'll be asked to select the missing figure, or the next item, in a pattern sequence from a number of multiple-choice options.

The questions are likely to feature rotation, translation, transformation, and mirroring of visual elements, so make sure to become familiar with quickly recognising these actions ahead of the test.

Personality Test

A personality test helps to give a fuller impression of your suitability to join the New Zealand Police. It will explore your attitude, strengths, weaknesses, motivations, collaborative skills, and behavioural traits.

The test features 100 multiple-choice questions. Unlike the ability assessment, it is not timed. It should, however, take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.

It is important not to dwell too long on each question and to answer honestly. An overly long completion time will count against you, as it suggests indecisiveness.

The test is designed to give an insight into your personality, so be truthful rather than selecting all the responses you think the recruiters want to see - as this will be obvious in the resulting personality profile.

Initial Medical Check

At this stage, you'll be emailed a health questionnaire to complete to assess whether you meet the fitness and medical suitability requirements.

It will take around 3 weeks for the medical team to analyse this, and you may then be asked to complete additional tests such as an asthma questionnaire, a vision test, or a full medical assessment.

Recruit Additional Information Form & CV

If you pass the medical check, you'll be emailed a Recruit Additional Information form. This form collects more information on your background.

You'll need to upload your CV to the form so ensure it is up to date and includes your educational history and work experience.

The New Zealand Police recruiters also take into account volunteer work or community activity you do, so be sure to include a section on this.

It is worth tailoring your CV for the responsibilities of the role - drawing out the key skills you possess that will help you to fulfil your duties to the highest standard. Also, ensure that your CV aligns with the New Zealand Police core values.

Physical Appraisal Test (PAT)

Next, you'll be contacted to book a slot for your Physical Appraisal Test (PAT). During the recruitment process, you'll need to complete two PATs - an initial fitness test and a final one (8 - 12 weeks before you begin police training).

It is important to prepare thoroughly for your PATs throughout the recruitment process, so you are able to demonstrate the high level of fitness required.

The PAT involves assessing your fitness across four elements: running, push-ups, vertical jumps, and your grip strength. Points are allocated based on performance - you need 11 points to pass and at least 1 point in each element.

Later, during your training, you'll need to pass a Physical Competency Test (PCT).


This stage of the process gives you the opportunity to experience what working as a police officer is actually like. You'll spend four ten-hour shifts alongside a qualified officer.

SCOPE stands for the different elements you will experience first-hand: the Surroundings, Conditions, Organisation, People (and Prospects), and Effects.

During these shifts, you'll be observed for the competencies and values that are required to join the force. You'll also complete a workbook to detail your experiences and reflections.

Formal Interview

Once you've completed your SCOPE shifts, you'll attend a formal interview with a selection specialist.

You'll need to be able to evidence that you possess the key skills needed to be a police officer, by giving specific examples from your work experience or everyday life. For example, you'll need to prove that you can work well with others, problem-solve, complete tasks to high standards, and communicate well.

You'll need to use the STAR format (describing the situation, task, action, and result) to provide detailed, clear, and concise answers.

It is also important that you can demonstrate that you possess the core values of the New Zealand Police.

After the interview, you'll be asked to complete a 10-minute copy-typing test. To pass, you must type 25 words a minute.

Final Background Checks

The final round of checks involves reference checks. You'll need to provide three referees that can speak to your suitability for joining the Police.

There will then be a final review to ensure all the relevant checks have been completed.

Entry into the Candidate Pool

If you've met all the selection requirements and impressed in the interview, you'll be added to the candidate pool.

You'll be considered for upcoming intakes into Police College (known as 'wings') depending upon the need for new recruits in your chosen district and your individual strengths. There are several wings each year.

Selection for Wing

If you're selected for the upcoming wing, you should find out around 3 months before it begins, and receive a formal offer letter five weeks before.

You'll be asked to attend a final PAT to ensure you still meet the fitness requirements and undergo a final medical check.

Training, Graduation, and Beginning Your Role

You'll complete 16 weeks of training at the Royal New Zealand Police College, just outside of Wellington. Once this is complete, you'll graduate and be ready to start your new career in the police force.

Tips To Get Hired

The recruitment process can be daunting, follow our top tips below to improve your chances of success.

1. Review Your Experience

Before you complete your application form and attend your interviews, look back at your experience to date and think about specific examples that illustrate the necessary competencies for working as a police officer.

Identify your key skills and achievements, and be ready to provide evidence to display each of them.

Also take some time to think about your preferred style of working, as well as your strengths and weaknesses, to display your personal awareness.

2. Meet The Physical Requirements

Police officers are required to meet high health and fitness standards, which are assessed through medical checks and physical appraisal tests (PATs).

The recruitment process involves two of these physical assessments, an initial fitness test once you've submitted your Recruit Additional Information form, and a final one before you begin police training for your wing.

This means you'll need to begin your fitness training before you log your application, and maintain it throughout the process. Build the necessary fitness elements - running, push-ups, vertical jumps, and improved grip strength - into your regular exercise regime to ensure you pass the PAT.

3. Practice Tests

Psychometric aptitude and ability tests differ in format, structure and content to tests you may have previously encountered. The best way to prepare for sitting the verbal, numerical, and abstract reasoning assessments required is to sit practice tests.

As the assessments are timed, practice working steadily through the questions and time your progress. Once you've completed a test, review your answers and seek to actively learn from the paper so you can tailor your preparation time to focus on improving your weaknesses and honing your strengths.

The more practice tests you sit, the more familiar you'll be with what the tests entail and the more confident you'll feel to sit the official police tests.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do NZ police get paid?

In New Zealand, a career as a police officer comes with a competitive salary. During your time in training college, you'll be paid at an average rate of $49,768 per annum (including superannuation and insurance subsidy). When you graduate and begin work, this will increase to an average of $68,613 per annum. Once you've been working for the force for 5 years, you'll earn an average of $76,323.

Is it hard to get hired as a police officer?

New Zealand Police officers need to undergo the many stages of the recruitment process before securing a role. The process is long and competitive but, if you prepare for your online tests and interviews, you'll be ready to impress. You'll also need to train to maintain a consistently high level of fitness, to meet the selection requirements.

What do New Zealand Police look for when hiring?

New Zealand Police is seeking recruits that possess its six core values and are professional, respectful, empathetic, work with integrity, value diversity, and are committed to Māori and the Treaty. Trainees also need to display a good level of mental aptitude and have a high level of physical fitness - both of which are assessed through a series of tests.


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