Your Rights with Police

Your Rights with Police

The role of Police in New Zealand

The majority of the following information is extracted from the New Zealand Police website under the title – Your Rights with Police.

  • They are responsible for making sure New Zealand is a safe place to live and that everyone obeys the laws of this country.
  • Staff are trained to help and protect everyone in New Zealand.
  • Their main roles include preventing, investigating, solving and reducing crime and road crashes.
  • They will not tolerate any crime against a person based on race. See our safety information about hate crime.
  • You are welcome and encouraged to approach them and talk with them or ask for help.
  • New Zealand officers do not normally carry guns. There are some exceptions such as police at international airports or special police groups known as the Armed Offenders Squad.
  • Most New Zealand Police wear a police uniform. However, some officers including detectives do not wear a uniform (they wear plain clothes). If you are approached or questioned by a police officer in plain clothes, they should be able to tell you what station they come from and show you their identification card.
  • They work with many community groups, ethnic groups and government agencies to help make New Zealand a safe place to live, work and study.

If you have been issued with a summons by them and need help/advice – talk to us.

Service commitment

New Zealand Police will:

  • acknowledge your call
  • treat your case seriously
  • provide a responsive service
  • tell you about other agencies that may be able to assist you
  • tell you about what is being done, or will be done, so that our actions are properly understood.

What they expect from you

  • Let us know about your problem as soon as possible.
  • Provide as much information as you can.
  • Let us know if anything more happens.
  • Help us understand what you want.
  • Say if you need support.

Your rights with them

If you are questioned, detained or arrested, your legal rights are:

  • you can talk to a lawyer privately, without having to wait to see them
  • you can choose not to make a statement
  • you can ask why you are being questioned, detained, or arrested.

They have a list of the names and phone numbers of lawyers qualified to give advice and who have agreed to be contacted any time, day or night. Ask them for the list of Police Detention Legal Assistance Lawyers.

If you have been issued with a summons by them and need help/advice – talk to us.

Complaints against Police

If you believe they have done something wrong, or that you were not treated fairly by them you can make a formal complaint, in any one of the following ways:


Do you need a Criminal Lawyer?

Get in touch today, go to our contact page here.

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