Expect to see a more clean-shaven police force on the front line in the coming weeks after the new top cop appealed for beards to be shaven to assist with the Covid-19 response.

Commissioner Andrew Coster took the reins from his predecessor Mike Bush last night.

Bush retired from the position after a six-year reign and 42 in total as a police officer.

Changing of the guard: Mike Bush passes the top cop baton over to new Commissioner Andrew Coster last night. Photo / NZ Police
Changing of the guard: Mike Bush passes the top cop baton over to new Commissioner Andrew Coster last night. Photo / NZ Police

He will remain working with the Government on the Covid-19 response for the foreseeable future.

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In one of his first engagements with staff since being handed the Commissioner's baton - a moment captured and posted on Twitter last night - Coster sent a video to police staff suggesting they make changes to their facial hair.

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In the video, a weekly feature sent by the Commissioner to all staff, Coster explains that personal protection masks issued to staff fit better on beardless faces.

"One of the things we've picked up on recently is that for those with facial hair, the n95 masks are not as effective as they would be if you were clean shaven," he said in the video, seen by the Herald.

It has been reported that Coster issued a "directive" to all staff to shave off their beards.

That is not correct.

He simply suggested it might be a good idea.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster. Photo / LinkedIn
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster. Photo / LinkedIn

Coster has recently sported a beard himself and will be shaving it off to lead by example.

"I'm going to do something in solidarity with you and take this thing off," he said of his own facial hair.

"Those of you who are sporting beards might consider doing the same."

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There are 71 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand. The 71 cases are made up of 49 new confirmed cases and 22 new probable cases. It brings the total to 868 cases in New Zealand since the pandemic began.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website