Almost 9 per cent of Northland's frontline officers can't do frontline duties because they haven't passed the police physical competency test (PCT).
But police say almost two thirds of them have good reasons.
Figures released by police national headquarters show that 361 officers who failed the fitness test, including 28 of Northland's 323 officers, have been told they cannot deal with public.
Officers are required to pass a PCT every two years. Nationally just over 95 per cent hold a current PCT certificate, but in Northland this is 91.3 per cent.
A memo sent to officers says those who do not hold a current certificate "cannot have any face-to-face contact with the general public". Northland police District Commander Superintendent Russell Le Prou said eight of the officers had injuries that were being managed by rehabilitation programmes that prevented them from taking the tests.
Another nine had passed the PCT within the past two years, but a change in the way the system operated meant they were now counted as a fail, Mr Le Prou said.
The old system meant that if an officer passed the PCT three months after their PCT was due they were classed as having it for two years, but the new system did not recognise that.
"They fall through that gap in the new system where they are required to sit another test. One of the difficulties for Northland is that we only have PCT tests monthly, so while they may have lapsed they can't take it straight away," Mr Le Prou said.
The next PCT test in Northland is March 11 and officers who pass get a biennial payment of $1408.
Mr Le Prou said the officers who did not have their PCT would be on desk duties until they did, but the public would not notice any difference in terms of officers on the streets.
He said all his staff would be required to do the PCT and any needing help to do so would be given it and they wouldn't be thrown out of the force.
The PCT involves a 400m course, including pushing a car trailer 10m, carrying a car wheel assembly 10m, running 200m, walking a 5m beam, a 1.8m long jump, running around cones and under and over hurdles for 30m, climbing through a 1m high window and over a solid 1.8m-high wall, dragging a body 7.5m and climbing a 2.2m-high wire fence.