Assistant Police Commissioner, Dave Cliff, has been invested as a Member of the Order of St John.
The honour was bestowed on Dave Cliff because of his work with St John during the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake and 2010 Pike River mining disaster.
It also recognises the work he has done to build co-ordination between emergency services.
He is the first serving police officer who has received the honour and said it was a huge privilege.
Mr Cliff said it was an honour to receive the award and it recognised the work police in the South Island are doing with St John.
The registrar for the Order of St John, John Wills, said the award recognised Mr Cliff's efforts to foster closer co-ordination between emergency services.
He said in Britain and Australia it has not been that unusual for senior police officers to be admitted to the Order.
"So it's really now wonderful to see this happening here, it's been a long time coming and I couldn't think of a more deserving police officer for it to go to."