Is the new generation of police recruits too soft?

A New Zealand Police Association article claims that some of the new generation coming out of police college are reluctant to do tough, dangerous work.

Some feel that lately, police have been losing their street cred, thanks to viral videos of them dancing, singing in barbershop quartets and jamming in elevators.

The latest NZ Police recruitment ad focuses more on caring for the community than taking out criminals.

New recruits can wear their hair however they want, they're more diverse, and they don't march in formation - unless you count the Pride Parade.

Some senior cops say millennial police are just too soft - afraid to step into dangerous situations or even get out of their cars.

Former detective inspector Graham Bell certainly thinks so.

"Allowing cops to have man buns and ponytails and things like that is not on," he told The Project.

"People need to look at a police officer in uniform and feel that they can respect them."

Superintendent Scott Fraser is responsible for police training, and says his "amazing" new recruits are well-equipped to handle dangerous scenarios.

"I joined police 26 years ago and these stories have been around for that many years. Our people are trained to deal with difficult situations and they do so extremely well."

He was perfectly happy to admit that today's recruits are free to experiment with less conventional hairstyles.

"We've absolutely had police officers with man buns, but we look at the person behind the man bun, the value that they hold and values they display. That's the important part."

When asked by Mark Richardson if police train their officers to intimidate, Superintendent Fraser said no.

"We train our police officers to be professional, respectful, show empathy and to be caring individuals... but our police officers are capable of keeping all New Zealanders safe."

Richardson was less than impressed with the idea of a compassionate cop.

"I don't want a police officer to be my brother, I want them to be heavy. I want to know that if I'm going to unleash the fury that he or she will take me down in seconds."

Kanoa Lloyd countered that there's a place for both sides of the spectrum - traditional "tough" police as well as "millennial cops with whatever hairstyle they want walking in the Pride Parade".

However, she did question whether more hard-line officers might help stop the aggravated robberies plaguing New Zealand's dairies.