Would-be police recruits will now have to pass an online distance learning course through Auckland's Unitec Institute of Technology before they can apply to Police College.
Executive Dean of the Faculty of Social and Health Sciences, Wendy Horne, said Unitec was proud to have been chosen by police to offer the course, which will be compulsory for all new recruits.
She said Unitec had been running an optional pre-policing programme for 11 years and so was well equipped to deliver the new 12-week course.
"It'll include things like culture and community development, professional police practice, crime prevention, police investigation and report writing."
She said like many employers, the police were interested in new ways of ensuring applicants were well-equipped for the job.
"We're moving away from the traditional class room-based chalk and talk teaching where students are fed information and regurgitate it at exam time to ways in which we can meaningfully interact with our students."
The first intake of recruits is set to start in mid-May, and it is expected between 250 and 300 will compete the course this year, rising to 600 next year.
Those who are successful can then apply to do the 18-week residential course at the Police College in Porirua.
There will be a selection process, handled initially by police, but Ms Horne said eventually applicants will be able to contact Unitec directly.