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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Diplomatic Protection Squad (DPS) is a branch of the New Zealand Police that provides personal security for both national and visiting VIPs. National VIPs protected include the Prime Minister, the Governor General, Ministers of the Crown, and the Leader of the Opposition, both within New Zealand and abroad. Previous visiting VIPs afforded DPS protection have included Tiger Woods during the 2002 New Zealand Open,[1] and FBI Director Robert Mueller.[2]

The squad is based in the capital Wellington, where the majority of foreign diplomatic missions are. Officers are experienced members of the New Zealand Police, who pass the DPS course at the Royal New Zealand Police College. The course has training on topics such as diplomatic immunity and unarmed combat. Squad members usually operate in plain clothes,[3] and both genders can be squad members.[4]

The New Zealand Police established the DPS in the mid 1970s, to meet New Zealand's obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Consular Relations.



The DPS routinely carry firearms, in contrast to the regular police which generally do not.[5] A 1993 report for the U.S. World Factbook of Criminal Justice Systems stated DPS officers have access to semi-automatic machine pistols.[6]

In May 2008, the DPS were testing a Holden Captiva SUV, to replace the unmarked Holden sedans in use at the time.[7]



When the Prime Minister travels by road the DPS normally have a vehicle following behind, closer than is generally safe, to prevent other vehicles getting in between.[7] The close proximity of the escort vehicle has caused a few minor nose-to-tail accidents, such as twice in six weeks during 2000,[10] and on Ponsonby Road on 9 December 2005.[11][12]

  • c.1993 - A DPS officer accidentally discharged his pistol into a briefcase aboard an airborne VIP aircraft, although Prime Minister Jim Bolger was not aboard at the time.[13][14] Police stated, "The bullet lodged in the battery pack of a police radio in the briefcase."[13]
  • 2000 - Prime Minister Helen Clark criticised the DPS handling of a state visit by Chinese President Jiang Zemin the previous year - the DPS sought to minimise the president's exposure to protesters and save the government any embarrassment, which Clark rebuked by saying it was not in the spirit of democracy.[15]
  • 17 July 2004 - Helen Clark's motorcade travels at speeds of up to 172 km/h, to catch a flight at Christchurch after a flight from Timaru was cancelled. The Timaru District Court acquitted a DPS officer of all six charges relating to dangerous driving,[16][17] and the Police Complaints Authority praised a subsequent review of the Diplomatic Protection Squad standard operating procedures and urgent duty driving.[7][18][19]
  • 13 April 2005 - A door blew open on a six-seater charter airplane carrying Prime Minister Helen Clark. DPS officers Constable John Burridge and Senior Constable Dave Reid spent fifteen minutes holding the door closed with the aid of a baton, until the plane landed safely.[20][21]
  • August 2007 - The DPS are involved in shutting down a boy racer website that contained death threats against MP Clayton Cosgrove.[22]
  • 2007 - Two breaches lead to a review of security at Helen Clark's Mount Eden home, after taggers were able to put graffiti on the house, and a man who had robbed a dairy was able to hide in the garden while changing his clothes.[23][24]
  • November 2008 - New Prime Minister John Key's property in Parnell, Auckland caused some security headaches for the DPS due to the size (2,340 m²), and the pricing and availability of accommodation for officers.[25]
  • February 2009 - Waitangi Day - Prime Minister John Key is manhandled by a protester as he walks towards a marae after getting out of his car. The incident caused speculation about the efficiency of the DPS.[26]


  1. ^ a b Oliver, Paula (11 January 2002). "400 police guard Tiger at NZ Golf Open". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  2. ^ "FBI chief in top-secret NZ talks". New Zealand Herald. 13 March 2002. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  3. ^ "Diplomatic Protection Squad". New Zealand Police. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  4. ^ "Amanda Fleming - Gold Elite Speaker". Celebrity Speakers.,3547, Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  5. ^ Van Beynen, Martin (29 September 2007). "Easy police access to firearms". The Press. Archived from the original on 2009-03-06. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  6. ^ Young, Warren. "World Factbook of Criminal Justice Systems - New Zealand". U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  7. ^ a b c Schouten, Hank (6 May 2008). "SUVs tested for VIP security". The Dominion Post. Archived from the original on 2009-03-06. Retrieved 2009-02-09.  
  8. ^ Wall, Tony (30 June 2000). "Kurdish protest action spreads to NZ". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-02-09.  
  9. ^ Oliver, Paula (7 August 2002). "US appreciates help 'in hour of need'". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-02-09.  
  10. ^ "Cops Collide with Clark's Car - Again". The Evening Post. 15 September 2000. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  11. ^ "Daily debates - Volume 630, Week 10". Hansard. New Zealand Parliament. 23 March 2006. pp. 2129. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  12. ^ "Cullen corrects PM's accident details". New Zealand Herald. 5 April 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  13. ^ a b "Police: Shot didn't hit plane". New Zealand Herald. 22 November 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  14. ^ Fleming, Grant (20 November 2008). "'Gung ho' officer shot hole in former PM's plane". Archived from the original on 2009-03-06. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  15. ^ Small, Vernon (30 June 2000). "Police breached spirit of democracy says Clark". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-02-09.  
  16. ^ "Court fines NZ leader's motorcade for speeding". Sydney Morning Herald. 19 August 2005. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  17. ^ "PM's motorcade drivers convicted". New Zealand Herald. 19 August 2005. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  18. ^ "Clark motorcade drivers 'fall guys' - National". 28 November 2007. Archived from the original on 2009-03-06. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  19. ^ "Prime Ministerial motorcade" (PDF). Police Complaints Authority. October 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  20. ^ "Helen Clark's flight into danger". The Age. 14 April 2005. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  21. ^ Tunnah, Helen (14 April 2005). "Aircraft failure leaves Clark bruised and shaken". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  22. ^ "Boy racer website shutdown after death threats posted against MP". 3 News. 20 August 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-09.  
  23. ^ "Police reviews security of New Zealand PM's home". People's Daily. 31 December 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  24. ^ "Robber sneaks into PM's backyard". TVNZ. 30 December 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  25. ^ Wall, Tony (16 November 2008). "Key's pad proves a security headache". Sunday Star Times. Archived from the original on 2009-03-06. Retrieved 2009-02-08.  
  26. ^ "Major security breach as Key attacked at Waitangi". 5 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-09.  

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