Police insignia

The insignia of rank worn by New Zealand police officers have their origins in our colonial past. In 1846, when Governor George Grey arrived in New Zealand, such was the state of disorder that he introduced a paramilitary force to carry out both policing and military duties.

The uniforms drew on the insignia of rank worn by the British military. There is still a strong parallel with army ranks today.

Police rank insignia

Police rank insignia

Police rank Army rank
Commissioner Lieutenant General
Deputy Commissioner   Major General
Assistant Commissioner Brigadier
Superintendent Lieutenant Colonel
Inspector Captain
Senior Sergeant Warrant Officer
Sergeant Sergeant
Senior Constable                       No equivalent
Constable Private

Progressing through the ranks

Progression through the ranks depends on passing qualifying exams and applying for and being appointed to vacancies. The breakdown of police officers in the respective ranks is:

  • Constables 75 percent
  • Sergeants 15 percent
  • Senior Sergeants 5 percent
  • Inspectors and above 5 percent.