Privacy statement - how we manage personal information

Our commitment

Everything we do at New Zealand Police is about ensuring people are safe and feel safe; in their homes, on the roads and in the community. Police recognise that delivering on this commitment requires respect for and careful stewardship of personal information to maintain public trust and confidence.

Policing relies on the free flow of personal information to prevent, investigate, detect, and prosecute offending, and to keep communities safe. Police seek to collect quality information and evidence to inform decision making and achieve timely resolutions.

Police is committed to ensuring the personal information it collects is for a clearly understood purpose, it obtains the information in a fair and lawful manner and, once held, the information is only accessed, used, or disclosed for a justified and lawful reason.

How Police manages your personal information, and the rights you have to have some control over it, are discussed in the following sections.

What personal information we collect and why

Police collects personal information from a range of sources to fulfil its roles and responsibilities under the Policing Act:

  • keeping the peace
  • maintaining public safety
  • law enforcement
  • crime prevention
  • community support and reassurance
  • national security
  • participation in policing activities outside New Zealand
  • emergency management.

The collection of relevant personal information is necessary to:

  • investigate behaviour or actions that may amount to offending
  • evaluate your suitability to own a firearm
  • consider your suitability for a safety-sensitive role in the community
  • respond to family harm and mental health call outs
  • respond to traffic events and conduct driving impairment tests
  • support the victim of a crime or interview a witness
  • enable the location of a caller in response to an emergency call.

In most circumstances we will tell you why we are collecting information from you, what we will use it for, and whether proving the information is voluntary or mandatory.  We will advise you when you are required to provide information and the consequences of not doing so.

Sometimes we will not tell you that we have collected information about you, particularly if to do so would prejudice our ability to maintain the law.

The type of personal information Police collects depends on the circumstances.

For example, at the roadside you may be obliged to provide us with your driver’s licence or your full name, address, date of birth, occupation, and telephone number.

In some instances, such as a firearms licence application, Police will require an extensive amount of information about you. In that case, Police will need details such as your photograph, address and contact details, personal history details, health details, employment, and relationship information.


How we collect personal information

Police collect information from many sources and in various ways. Sometimes Police use statutory powers requiring individuals to provide information, sometimes we ask individuals to voluntarily provide information, and sometimes people contact Police by calling 111 (emergency), 105 (non-emergency) or *555 (driving incidents) to provide information so that Police can respond to a situation.

Collecting directly from individuals

Police are often a first responder to events and collect personal information directly from individuals, for example, at the scene of a domestic incident, crime scene, or vehicle crash.

Police also collect information directly from individuals when they fill out forms such as applying for a firearms licence.

Collecting information from other sources

Sometimes Police obtain information about you from other people or sources because collecting it directly may prejudice Police’s ability to prevent, detect, investigate, or prosecute an offence by an individual.

Police sometimes collect information about individuals from family members, employers or from other associates. An example of this is when Police has your consent to talk to your referees and others as part of the firearms licencing process to check you can be trusted to use firearms responsibly.

Police has signed a number of written agreements or Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with government and non-government agencies. These MOUs outline how information is lawfully collected, exchanged and used, ensuring it is safeguarded against unauthorised or accidental access or loss.

Police have MOUs with various sectors including:

  • Emergency Management (for example, Fire and Emergency NZ, Water Safety New Zealand)
  • Health and Social sector (for example, Housing New Zealand - Kainga Ora, Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children)
  • Community Prevention initiatives (for example, Federated Farmers of New Zealand, Neighbourhood Support NZ, Retail New Zealand)
  • Justice and Law Enforcement (for example, Parole Board, Department of Corrections)
  • Organised and Financial Crime (for example, Financial Markets Authority, Serious Fraud Office)
  • Road Policing (for example, Insurance Council, New Zealand Transport Agency - Waka Kotahi).

Open-source information

Police sometimes collect ‘open-source information’ to support its intelligence-gathering functions. Open-source information includes any type of lawfully and ethically obtainable information about persons, locations, groups, or events that exists in the public domain. Open-source information includes social media, online discussions on bulletin boards and chat rooms, websites that are open to the public and publicly available data bases and directories.

Collecting information using statutory powers

Police can apply for ‘production orders’ under the Search and Surveillance Act to demand information relevant to a Police investigation or operation. An agency that has been served with a production order must comply with the order. These orders override the Privacy Act.

Sometimes Police need to obtain information covertly. Surveillance Device Warrants (issued under the Search and Surveillance Act) enable Police to use interception devices, visual surveillance devices and tracking devices to collect evidential material relevant to a criminal investigation.

Police can exercise other powers under that Act to undertake warrantless search or surveillance activities.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)

Police use ANPR technology regularly to read motor vehicle number plate information and compare it against recorded vehicles of interest. Police can make a request for information to a business or organisation that operates ANPR technology. These requests for information are covered by the Privacy Act. There are exceptions that permit the business to disclose information where it is necessary to “avoid prejudice to the maintenance of the law by any public sector agency, including the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution, and punishment of offences”.

Crime Prevention Cameras (CCTV)

Crime prevention cameras in public are used to prevent and detect criminal offences in identified high crime areas. They are not used to maintain surveillance on individuals or groups. Read Police’s policy on the use of CCTV in public places.

Police use CCTV within stations and premises to detect, deter, and prevent criminal or offensive behaviour and to monitor the safety and security of our staff, detainees and visitors. Information collected may be used as evidence or as part of completing incident investigations.

Emergency Caller Location Information (ECLI)

Emergency Caller Location Information is location information generated by an enabled mobile device when a call is made to emergency services. ECLI is automatically sent to emergency response agencies such as Police, local ambulance services and Fire and Emergency New Zealand so those agencies can better respond to an emergency incident. Police only hold ECLI for the purpose of responding to emergency calls.


How we use personal information

Police uses personal information and Intelligence to fulfil its core functions and responsibilities such as:

Law enforcement

These instances may include:

  • As a victim or witness of crime, presenting your evidence to Court.
  • As an offender, providing details and evidence about you to Court.

Family harm situations

Police collect and use personal information to:

  • help with a family violence risk or needs assessment
  • help with a decision or plan that is related to family violence
  • help ensure that a victim is protected from family violence.

Community policing and youth offending

AWHI is a tikanga‐based voluntary referral for awhi – for help. With the consent of the individual, Police connect people needing help to wellbeing service providers in their community. Further information about AWHI can be found on this website.

Police officers work in communities with whanau and young people on the periphery of gang life and drug misuse to find a better path and improve their lives.

Organised crime and national security

Detectives and technical specialists work to target New Zealand’s most serious criminals to disrupt, deter and combat organised criminal networks. Police specialists target illicit money flows leading to the restraint and forfeiture of criminal assets under Anti-Money Laundering legislation.


Police use anonymised information derived from personal information to undertake research to inform our thinking in key areas such as:

  • forecasting and preventing crime and harm
  • enhancing our organisational capability
  • strengthening our sector partnerships
  • connecting with communities.


Disclosing and sharing personal information

Police disclose or share information with several sectors including justice, social, health, child protection, and land transport to enable Police and partner agencies to carry out their work. Police also participates in international sharing arrangements with counterpart agencies overseas.

Police may share personal information with another government agency for the investigation of offences and sometimes with non-government agencies where there is a serious threat to health or safety to you, your family, or for the wider community.

Police will only share or disclose information about you where that is permitted or required by law.

If Police share information about you, generally you will be made aware of those circumstances as the occasion arises if we are able to tell you.

These instances may include:

  • as a victim or witness of crime, presenting your evidence to Court
  • as an offender, providing details and evidence about you to Court
  • as someone involved in a crime or crash, sharing information with Victim Support services
  • providing a vetting response to a company, business, or organisation considering employing you.

Examples where we may not advise you about disclosing information about you include:

  • when investigating your behaviour and we apply for a production order or a search warrant
  • where assisting another enforcement agency to investigate your behaviour
  • when we release information to prevent or lessen a serious threat to public health or safety
  • if telling you would prejudice our ability to investigate, prevent and detect offending.

Approved Information Sharing Agreements (AISAs)

Police is a party to four AISAs that each authorise the voluntary sharing of personal information for the following specific purposes:

  • to identify and protect vulnerable children from harm and promote the wellbeing of vulnerable children and their families
  • to prevent, detect, investigate or provide evidence of a serious crime that there are reasonable grounds to suspect has been committed, is being committed, or will be committed
  • to enable a cross-agency approach to preventing or reducing harm to individuals, families, communities, or society generally that is caused by, or contributed to by, the activities of gangs
  • to improve the accuracy of the information held by Police relating to the names, deaths, and non-disclosure directions of individuals.

Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs)

Police is a party to many MoUs with both government and non-government agencies. These are not legally binding but serve to formalise the relationship between the parties and detail the conditions under which any exchange of information will occur. Police will only collect, share, or disclose information about you under these MoUs, where that is permitted or required by law.

Family harm

If you are involved in an episode of family violence, the Family Violence Act 2018 enables Police to use and disclose relevant information about you and your circumstances to:

  • help with a family violence risk or needs assessment
  • help with a decision or plan that is related to family violence
  • help ensure that a victim is protected from family violence.

Sharing of information occurs at regular multi-agency family violence meetings. Organisations involved or which support these meetings include the Department of Corrections, Ministry of Health (including Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora), Oranga Tamariki, ACC, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development, and non-government organisations such as Women’s Refuge or Iwi providers.

Police partners with iwi Māori providers to address underlying factors behind youth offending. Panels of trained kaumātua and facilitators lead a restorative whānau-centred process to hold youth offenders to account and address harm.

National Security and international

Police works in partnership with national security agencies to identify national security risks and prevent national security incidents from occurring. Police also provides mutual law enforcement assistance through its membership of Interpol and cooperation with Europol.

Find out more about international information sharing agency-to-agency agreements and directions.


How we keep personal information safe

Police maintain secure physical and electronic environments to protect your personal information and records from unauthorised or accidental access, or disclosure, alteration, loss, or destruction. Police has a centralised Security and Privacy Incident Register (SPIR) to register any incidents where security or privacy is compromised.

When a new technology or significant process change is being considered that affects how we manage your personal information, Police undertake risk assessments to ensure that privacy, security, and ethical implications are carefully weighed before such technologies or process changes are trialled or introduced.


How long we keep personal information

Police is required under the Public Records Act to retain certain types of information for prescribed minimum periods of time, in accordance with a ‘disposal schedule’ issued by the Chief Archivist.

Police may need to retain your information for longer periods where we have an ongoing need and legitimate reason to do so. At times this may require Police to keep your personal information throughout your lifetime or longer.


Your rights

You have the right to request access to, and correction of, the personal information we hold about you.  We will require proof of your identity before we provide you with a copy of your information. We will usually allow you to have access to the information in the way that you prefer but this is not always possible – we will discuss the options with you. If you are defending criminal charges in Court, your request will be managed according to the provisions of the Criminal Disclosure Act.

You can request information online or download a form to make the request.

We will respond to your request within 20 working days of receiving it and contact you if we need more time to action your request. If we refuse your request, we will tell you in writing the reason(s) for refusal and the steps you can take if you disagree with our decision.

If you think the personal information we hold about you is incorrect, you can ask us to correct any errors or omissions. You can use the same form you used to request access to your information to seek correction of your information. If we decline to correct the information we will tell you why and inform you of your right to seek to have a suitable statement attached to the relevant record.

If Police decline to attach a statement of correction to the information we will write to you to tell you why we have not done so, and will inform you of your right to complain to the Privacy Commissioner.


Questions, concerns, and complaints

We are committed to responding to you and working with you to resolve your concerns.

If you have questions or concerns about this Privacy Statement or our privacy practices, you can lodge a complaint online by filling out our form.

If you are not satisfied with our response to your concerns, you can contact the Privacy Commissioner at:

Officer of the Privacy Commissioner 
Address: PO Box 10 094, Wellington 6143
Phone: 0800 803 909