New Zealand Police
New Zealand has a police force that is reliable, trustworthy, approachable and solves a comparatively high number of crimes.
Police here have strict rules they must follow and they cannot act arbitrarily. They don’t harass you in day-to-day life and don’t carry personal firearms.
The New Zealand Police work to prevent crime and enforce the law by bring lawbreakers to justice.
In New Zealand, the Police also handle traffic management - patrolling roads for traffic offences and issuing tickets and infringement notices for breaking the road rules.
Other responsibilities include keeping the peace, maintaining public safety, providing community support and reassurance, assisting with national security and emergency management.
New Zealand Police see their work as very much a shared responsibility. Their slogan is ‘Safer Communities Together’. So they work closely with local communities and organisations.
Code of conduct and limits on power
The Police in New Zealand must keep to a code of conduct that demands their ethical and professional behaviour at all times.
You can read about the code online.
The Police work within strict legal limits. There is more detail about their powers on the Community Law website.
Dealing with police
The Police website has advice and information for new migrants about communicating with Police, your rights and a short summary of some key laws in New Zealand.
This information is also available in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, German, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese.
Police Ethnic Safety Patrols
Volunteers in the safety patrols work alongside the NZ Police in Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury to conduct preventative patrols and community reassurance activities. The volunteers are involved in a range of activities, and help the Police to reach out to the community. The safety patrols also work closely with Community Patrols New Zealand and Neighbourhood Support.
If you break the law
If the Police believe you have broken the law, you may want the advice of a lawyer. If you don’t have the money to pay for a lawyer, a Citizens Advice Bureau or Community Law Centre may be able to help, or you may be entitled to legal aid.
If you're on a temporary work visa and you break the law, you could be deported.
If you receive a speeding ‘ticket’ or other infringement notice, you’ll probably have to pay a fee or a fine. Details of how to pay are on the Police website.
You may also receive demerit points with your fine. If you receive 100 or more demerit points within two years you will be suspended from driving for three months. There are no demerit points for road safety camera infringement notices.
Find out more about demerit points at New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) website.
Owning a gun
Owning and using firearms in New Zealand is tightly managed by the New Zealand Police.
There are restrictions on owning high velocity or calibre pistols and fully automatic weapons. All firearms owners must have a firearms licence, and store their guns and ammunition separately in secure locked areas.
To get a gun licence you’ll need to pass the firearms test operated by the Police, and provide the personal identification and referrals they need.
Complaints, comments, compliments
If you believe that you have been treated unfairly by the Police you can make a formal complaint. The Community Law website explains the process in detail.
The Police also have their own process for receiving feedback. Details are on their website and also available in Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Somali, Samoan, Spanish and Tongan.