Police officers have "totally" rejected the latest pay offer, reigniting concerns about senior, experienced officers leaving in droves.

The organisation is the latest to be involved in major pay negotiations after teachers and nurses recently took part in strikes nationwide.

Sworn police officers can't legally strike, where as nonsworn staff can.

Police Association president Chris Cahill told the Herald the two per cent rise offered each year for three years fell "well short" of what they had asked for.


He says their 8500 sworn officer members are calling for not only better pay but paid overtime and better recognition of shift work disruption and the increasing risks of the job itself.

Cahill said the cost of living in Auckland, Queenstown and Tauranga were contributing to staff reaching breaking point and wanting to leave the force.

He said in Auckland in particular, attrition rates were a huge concern, given that 50 per cent of new recruits were headed to the city over the next three to five years.

"I know a number of members have said they are hanging in there to see what comes out of this pay round and if it isn't addressing their concerns, they're ready to go," he said.

And of those set to leave the force if a better offer isn't made, many of them are experienced officers, he said.

"They're the ones we need the most if we are going to get the best of these new young officers coming through."

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Cahill adds gang numbers increasing dramatically are also an issue.

"We are seeing many more gang members carrying firearms and our officers are the ones that have to deal with that threat."

And methamphetamine, he said, is now spread right across the country, which means a rise in gang confrontations.


There has also been a dramatic increase in family harm and mental health incidents are increasing year on year, according to Cahill.

Cahill said they've told Police to come back with a far better offer.

"And if that means talking to the Government for more money, then so be it."

The Association is meeting with Police to discuss the next step next Tuesday.