Police want the power to fingerprint people without the need to arrest or lay charges against them.
The proposal was among those presented at the first in a series of public meetings last night outlining possible changes in the review of the 1958 Police Act.
The new Act is expected to be passed into law next year.
Police would like to be able to use the latest technology, which includes mobile fingerprint scanners and, in the future, eye scanners.
Officers would be able to use the mobile scanners while working on the streets, for checking against the national database.
The head of the Police Act Review, Superintendent Hamish McCardle, said the use of mobile scannners would speed up suspect identification.
"If the police can identify criminals more quickly at the roadside ... that means a person is taken into custody more quickly and prevented from committing another crime," he told Radio New Zealand.
"This is a really good example of where new technology and better legislation could make New Zealand safer."
Police would also like greater powers given to non-sworn police to search and arrest and a relaxation of the rules against the use of handcuffs.
Wellington City area commander Pete Cowan wants to be able to issue infringement notices for lower-level offences such as disorderly behaviour and minor assaults.
"The time and effort that goes into a prosecution for the very minor offences is enormous so by adopting this type of process it would create some huge efficiency gains for police," he told Radio New Zealand.
One woman at last night's meeting in Wellington, who did not want to be named, said she was concerned at the potential abuse of extra powers for police.
"How will that be controlled?" she asked.
Meetings have already been held in Christchurch and Whangarei and more are planned before public submissions close at the end of July.