Why The New Zealand Police Are Among The Best In The World

They make amazing recruitment videos, they have a great sense of humour, and they defend our nations against crime and dangerous behaviour.

So it is no surprise that New Zealand police are recognised as some of the best in the world. From community constables to those on the beat, to the highway patrol and the entire catalogue of support staff, they all have one very important priority… to keep New Zealanders safe.

Let’s explore a little further on why we think they are the best.


The Numbers

The New Zealand Police (Ngā Pirihimana o Aotearoa) has long enjoyed a positive reputation on the international stage. This is because the New Zealand (NZ) Police work well with local communities, schools, and tangata whenua. The NZ Police are also a largely unarmed force, which often wins them public favour both nationally and internationally.  

In the 2016 World Internal Security and Police Index, the NZ Police were ranked number 12 in the world. This index took into consideration a number of different factors including corruption levels, public perception, homicide and violent crime.

As well as a high international ranking, the NZ Police maintain a high level of trust and confidence within Aotearoa New Zealand. This was reflected in the latest Citizens’ Satisfaction Survey which reported a 77% overall satisfaction rating.


An Unarmed Police Force

The NZ public is largely in favour of general duty police officers not carrying firearms. This is because they want the guns left to the Armed Offenders Squads - our specialist units that are called to active shooting events, or circumstances where an active shooter could appear.

General duty NZ police officers carry pepper spray and Tasers. They are not permitted to use lethal weapons unless non-lethal options fail, or there is a serious threat to the public or to themselves. As a result, police shootings are rare in New Zealand.


Working Within The Treaty

NZ Police have a strong commitment to working together with Māori, and to meeting their responsibilities under Te Tiriti O Waitangi. All frontline police officers are trained in Māori culture and protocol to respect our national heritage and to act appropriately.

Cultural sensitivity is a key focus for NZ Police to deal with the number of crimes involving Maori, both as victims and perpetrators of crime. NZ Police regularly work and consult with Māori District Advisory Boards, the Māori Focus Forum, and have specialist Iwi Liaison Officers who act as go-betweens and intermediaries for Police and Māori communities.


Women in NZ Police

NZ Police are focussed on gender equality within the force, having recently held their first ever Women’s Recruitment Day at the Royal New Zealand Police College. This event occurred during the celebrations for 75 years of women in the NZ police. Women currently make up 32.2% of the total NZ Police staff, and 18.9% of constabulary staff.


Working with schools

School partnerships with the NZ Police aim to improve learning opportunities, reduce behavioural issues, improve family/whānau relationships, and connections to social services. There are also School Community Officers and Youth Aid Officers who work directly with schools to prevent youth crime and victimisation and facilitate restorative justice for youth offenders.


Always blow on the pie

As well as their excellent work among local communities, NZ police officers are known for having a laidback and approachable attitude, which furthers their popularity with the New Zealand public.

No NZ Police article would be complete without mentioning Police Ten 7, a quintessential reality show following NZ police officers on patrols and profiling wanted offenders. It has remained a popular series since its release in 2002 and showcases the abilities of our officers on a worldwide stage, enjoyed by viewers in both Australia and the UK too.

And, who could forget one of NZ’s best TV moments that occurred back in 2009? Not only did it coin a popular phrase, but it sent a valuable message not to let yourself be distracted when driving –“Always blow on the pie – Safer Communities Together”.


New Zealand can be proud of its police force; they truly are some of the best in the world. They protect communities nationwide and promote a safer, less violent New Zealand.