new zealand police
international standards, New Zealand is a remarkably safe and
law-abiding society. The New Zealand Police do not carry firearms
and they have an excellent reputation and are generally
considered helpful and friendly. Cases of police corruption are
The Police enforce both criminal and traffic laws and
undertake search and rescue missions. They also operate a range
of community programmes, including Youth Education and Youth Aid
Contacting the Police in New Zealand
In emergencies dial 111. This is the general emergency number
and operates free of charge from all private and public phones.
In non-urgent situations, contact the nearest Police Station
listed under P in the Blue Pages at the front of the NZ Telephone
For traffic incidents, *555 can also be dialed from a mobile
Neighborhood Support is a community-based programme actively
promoted by the Police. It encourages citizens to take standard
precautions and co-operate with their neighbours in crime
prevention. These include common-sense procedures, such as
keeping properties secure, depositing large amounts or cash at a
bank and not holding money at home, safely depositing and/or
insuring jewellery and other valuables, keeping an eye on
neighboring properties and reporting anything suspicious.
It is advisable to always lock windows and doors when you
leave home, and let your neighbours know if you plan to be away
for any length of time. It is also a good idea to install
deadlocks and leave your home looking lived in when
you go away. Most communities have Neighborhood Support groups
and it is best to ask about these when moving into a new home.
Dealing with the Police
In New Zealand, relations with the Police are good. In part,
this is because the public has clear rights and obligations when
dealing with the Police. The Police may not act arbitrarily; the
public is expected to act responsibly. The following provides a
brief outline of some of the rights and obligations that apply to
the Police and private citizens.
If the Police as you to stop
The rule is simple - you must stop! If you are driving,
you must stop and give your name, address and any other details
needed for identification. You are required to carry your driver
licence at all times and will be asked to present it. You must
also give the name and details of the vehicles owner or
hirer. If you are the owner or hirer, you must give the names and
details of your passengers and the driver if other than yourself.
However, once you have provided this information, it is your
decision whether you answer any more questions - you do not
have to. You are entitled to talk to a lawyer before you answer,
or make a written or spoken statement.
If the Police ask you to go with them
You do not have to unless you agree to do so.
If the Police suspect you have been driving under the influence
of alcohol or drugs
There can be no dispute here. You must accompany the Police
If the Police want to search you or your home, vehicle or
The Police cannot conduct a search without your consent.
If the Police have a search warrant, or specific statutory
They must, first, tell you what this specific authority is - there is a range of search powers. Common cases include
specific powers to:
- Stop a vehicle if someone in
it is subject to an arrest warrant or has committed an
offence punishable by imprisonment.
- Search the vehicle for an
offender or for criminal evidence
- Search premises or a vehicle
for controlled drugs
If the Police want to take your
They can do so only if you agree.
If you are questioned by the Police, make sure that
- The person is a Police
officer - a Police officer in plain clothes must
show their identification card which includes their
photograph and name.
- What you say to, or write
for, the Police knows exactly what you mean, If you have
difficulties, ask for assistance and/or an interpreter.
If you are suspected of having
committed a crime, but have not been arrested, you can
- Choose whether or not to
answer any questions, or make a written or verbal
- Generally, leave the Police
Station when you wish. However, if you have been detained
for a blood/alcohol test, you cannot leave until this has
If you are suspected of having
committed a crime, and have been arrested, you
- Have the right to consult a
lawyer immediately - there should be a list of
lawyers at the Police Station. If you request advice from
a lawyer included on the Police Stations list, this
initial legal counsel is provided free of charge.
- Must give your name, address,
occupation, and date and place of birth.
- Must allow the Police to take
fingerprints and photographs, and, in certain
circumstances, conduct a search. The Police can, for
example, search for criminal evidence or for weapons or
objects that might facilitate an escape. However, it is
generally illegal for the Police to search a person (or
their car or house) for no other reason than the fact of
- Can contact a friend or
relative and request permission for them to visit you at
the Police Station. Such requests are usually granted,
but can be declined on the advice of the Police officer
dealing with the investigation.
- May ask to be released
on bail. This means you are allowed to go home
until you have to appear in court on a set date to
face charges. Bail is not an automatic right.
There are also usually conditions attached - such as
not being allowed to leave the country. There are special
rights for children and young people aged under 17 years.
The Police officer must explain their rights in a way
that they can clearly understand and ensure that another
adult or a lawyer is present when they make a statement.
Family/Domestic Violence in New Zealand
The New Zealand Police take family/domestic violence very
In New Zealand violence is unacceptable wherever it happens
and no matter who is the victim. The Domestic Violence Act 1995
provides protection against physical, sexual and psychological
violence. Psychological violence includes the use of
intimidation, harassment, damage to property, threats of harm,
and allowing a child to see or hear abuse.
Protection Orders are provided under the Domestic
Violence Act for people in close personal
relationships. These include married and unmarried couples,
children and relatives, and homosexual partners. A Protection
Order can be obtained whether or not the Police take criminal
action. Help is available in New Zealand from a number of
agencies including the Police, Community Law Centres and Citizens
Advice Bureau. High school counselors are also available to
assist and the Womens Refuge provides sanctuary for mothers
and their children.