The number of discharges without conviction has been slashed to less than half of what it was in 2008, figures show.
In 2008/2009 there were 5956 discharges, while in 2017/2018, there were 2905 charges discharged.
The significant drop was being attributed to a handful of factors.
According to Len Andersen, President of the Criminal Bar Association, one of these was an increase in instances of police using their discretion to hand out diversion or warnings, instead of convictions.
Anderson said there had also been a shift in public perception around discharges without conviction - there was a high level of public scrutiny relating to certain cases.
"Particularly in cases of violence against women," Anderson said.
"There has been real criticism of discharge that have been granted, and i think there's a public unwillingness to accept that there should be a discharge in some of those kind of cases."
Anderson cited the Losi Filipo case as an example of this.
The teen Wellington Lions squad member was charged with assaulting four people in September 2016 but was discharged without conviction on account of his rugby career.
Filipo's victims, four Wellingtonians in their early 20s, appealed the decision late in 2016.
The case was then overturned on appeal, after a High Court judge found that the original district court judge made errors in his sentencing.
The incident caused a huge amount of public backlash and sparked allegations of a "double standard". Filipo quit the squad soon after.
The largest decrease in discharges without conviction was between 2008/2009 and 2013/2014, when it bottomed out at 2662. Since then it has largely remained steady, with a slight increase.
The drop has coincided with a large drop in the total number of charges in court - from 348,649 in 2008/2009 to 221,821 in 2017/2018.
This takes the proportion of discharges without conviction from 17 out of 1000 charges, to 13 out of 1000 - so proportionately not a huge drop.
Violence cases brought the highest number of discharges in the period covered by the figures, followed by driving offences.
The increase in the number of charges discharged without conviction for homicide offences from one in 2012/2013 to seven last year was due to changes in offence categorisation for driving causing death offences.
The significant drop was being attributed by police to an overall reduction in recorded crime, as well as the introduction of various alternative resolutions.
Pre-charge warnings were introduced in 2010, and Iwi Community Panels were established earlier this year.
These were aimed at reducing the number of Maori entering the criminal justice system.
Deputy Commissioner in Strategy and Partnerships Andrew Coster said there had also been a number of changes to the approach police adopted when tackling crime.
New Zealand police now operated under a "prevention first" operating model, he said, which aimed to stop crimes from occurring before they happened.
"At the centre of this approach is a structure, processes and policies that direct more resources to activities that prevent further harm, are explicitly victim focused, and that align with our purpose to 'Be safe, Feel safe'," Coster said.
"There is good evidence to suggest that, in certain cases, alternative resolutions can be a more effective way of dealing with offending than more formal justice interventions."