The Policemen of New Zealand) is the national police force of New Zealand, responsible for enforcing criminal law, enhancing public safety, maintaining order and keeping the peace throughout New Zealand.
With over 11,000 staff it is the largest law enforcement agency in New Zealand and, with few exceptions, has primary jurisdiction over the majority of New Zealand criminal law.
The New Zealand Police also has responsibility for traffic and commercial vehicle enforcement as well as other key responsibilities including protection of dignitaries, firearms licensing and matters of national security. While the New Zealand Police is a government department with a minister responsible for it, the Commissioner and sworn members swear allegiance directly to the Sovereign and, by constitutional convention, have constabulary independence from the government of the day.
Governor Hobson's official landing party to form the colony of New Zealand.Early policing arrangements were along similar lines to the UK and British colonial police forces, in particular the Royal Irish Constabulary and the New South Wales Police Force.Many of its first officers had seen prior service in either Ireland or Australia.The early Force was initially part police and part militia.At the outset, official establishment of sworn constables holding common law powers to arrest people was achieved by magistrates being given the power to swear them in via the Magistrates Ordinance of 1842.
By 1846, the emerging organisation of a police force was recognised with the passage of the Armed Constabulary Ordinance.
New Zealand's early police force continued to grow with the colony and was further enhanced with additional structure and rules with the passage of the first Police Act, the New Zealand Armed Constabulary Act of 1867.
The Armed Constabulary took part in military actions against Māori opponents Riwha Titokowaru in Taranaki and Te Kooti in the central North Island in the dying stages of the New Zealand Wars.
From the police force's beginnings in 1840 through the next forty years, policing arrangements varied around New Zealand.
Whilst the nationally organised Armed Constabulary split its efforts between regular law enforcement functions and militia support to the land wars, some provinces desired local police forces of their own.
This led to a separate Provincial Police Force Act being passed by the Parliament.