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Police OfficerAlternative titles


This job is sometimes referred to as:

Armed Offenders Squad Officer
Dog Handler
Forensic Services Officer
Road Policing Officer
Criminal Investigation Officer
Police Education Officer
Search and Rescue Officer

Police officers keep law and order in the community. They work to prevent and solve crime, keep the peace, and respond to criminal activities and emergencies.

Contact us

Call us on 0800 222 733


Pay for police officers varies depending on their skills and experience.

  • During training, police officer recruits earn about $35,400 a year (total package $39,300, which includes benefits such as compulsory superannuation).
  • New graduates start on about $51,800 (total package $58,000, which includes benefits such as superannuation and payment for passing their Physical Competency Test).
  • With two years' service and on completion of their probationary period, police officers earn about $70,700 (includes benefits such as superannuation and life insurance).
  • After five years, this increases to about $76,000 (includes benefits such as superannuation and life insurance).

Pay also depends on a police officer's progression through the ranks.

Source: New Zealand Police.

What you will do

Police officers may do some or all of the following, depending on their area of specialisation:

  • patrol selected areas on foot or by car
  • help people in a wide range of emergencies
  • investigate crimes, domestic disturbances, serious crashes and sudden deaths
  • interview people and take statements
  • search for and arrest suspected criminals
  • write reports
  • give evidence in court
  • direct traffic and help drivers
  • give talks at schools.

Skills and knowledge

Police officers need to have:

  • knowledge of police policy and procedures
  • knowledge of the laws relating to police and traffic work
  • knowledge of how the court system works
  • knowledge of community support services
  • skills in observing human behaviour
  • skills in interviewing, conflict resolution and negotiation.

Working conditions

Police officers:

  • usually work 40 hours a week over a number of shifts, including nights and weekends
  • work in a variety of locations, including offices, courts, urban streets and rural areas
  • may be at risk of verbal or physical abuse
  • may travel to different sites around the country and overseas to help investigate crimes and attend conferences.

What's the job really like?

Nathalie - Police Officer

Job variety puts end to clock-watching

When Nathalie started work as a police officer it was the first time she'd been in a job she loved getting up for in the morning.

"It's a bit of a cliché," she says, "but every day is different. The variety means you're never clock-watching like you might in an office job.

"Sure there's a bit of paperwork, but most of the time you're out and about talking to people. The other night we were walking the beat in Wellington at 2am, and saw a girl huddled in a corner crying. She looked so vulnerable. She wasn't actually that drunk, she'd just got separated from her friends, so we got her up, got her details and managed to join her up with her friends. It's moments like these that can give you a sense of achievement."

Supportive team culture in the job

Working closely with supportive colleagues is another big bonus of the job, Nathalie says. "For example, if we get an incident to attend at the end of a shift, it has to be reported on the night it happens, so you might be finishing late. I've never had a job before where the whole team, even if they were done for the day, would help you finish your work."


Police officers with one to two years’ experience usually earn
per year
Police officers with at least five years’ experience usually earn
per year
Source: NZ Police.
Jana and a colleague arresting a man

Jana and a colleague put handcuffs on an offender

Updated 6 Dec 2013