A proposed shake-up of the UK police force could see top New Zealand officers lured overseas.
The British government is looking at changing the law to allow non-British citizens to take up the post of chief constable – the head officer of a regional force.
The change could attract candidates from New Zealand, Australia and North America.
UK ministers say they want to attract the “best and brightest” candidates with the right skills to “forge a force fit for the 21st century”.
The head of the New Zealand Police Association does not expect too many senior officers to leave.
“We’ll probably end up with what happens in sport, whereby those who miss out on the top opportunities here may be tempted, but the top ones will probably stay in the hope of getting the top job here,” said association president Greg O’Connor.
He warned the UK police force was “quite inefficient” compared to New Zealand’s, and said the shift to elected police chiefs had politicised the force.
“It could be good for New Zealanders looking to go and work over there,” Mr O’Connor said.
New Zealand Police welcomed the proposed plans.
“New Zealand Police works in a competitive global job market and it is a testament to the skills and experience of our senior officers that they may be considered eligible for similar roles in the UK,” said Alan Cassidy, acting general manager of human resources at police headquarters in Wellington.
UK ministers want direct entry into the police at superintendent level for “exceptional” candidates, the Daily Mail reported.
Under current rules, all police must enter at constable rank and do two years on the beat.