Police Commissioner Mike Bush has today revealed new, improved body armour will be delivered to all officers over the next three years.
Police have signed a contract with Cooneen Protection for the manufacture and supply of the new gear. Cooneen also provide body armour for London's Metropolitan Police force.
Cooneen Protection's New Zealand agents - Tactical Solutions - will provide support work including measuring and fitting.
Police are spending $20.7 million over four years to make the replacements.
"It's a significant investment but the safety of our staff is paramount," Bush said.
"To keep communities safe, first police must keep themselves safe.
"So today I'm proud to announce we are investing in a new body armour system that will help keep police safe.
"With more than a million interactions with the public every year, the vast majority of New Zealanders engage with us appropriately.
"However, it's unfortunately the nature of police work that some people want to harm us."
Existing body armour remained fit for purpose while the new armour was introduced over the next three years, he said.
Both current and new armour meet international safety standards for stab and ballistic resistance.
But Bush said police wanted to "leverage" new technology while making staff more comfortable.
The new armour is lighter, cooler and more adjustable for the individual, he said.
This gives police staff options about where they carry their tactical equipment such as radio, OC spray, baton and handcuffs.
"Police are often required to wear body armour for long shifts, in all weather, while remaining active.
"That's why it's so important the new body armour is more comfortable and easier to wear for long periods of time."