'This is the worst': NZ Police tweet criticised for insensitivity

New Zealand Police have been criticised for a tweet which appears to "make light" of fatal crashes.

The tweet, which has since been deleted, read: "When we have to tell someone their family member has died in a crash."

It also included an animated GIF image of a scene from The Office, where Steve Carell's character says: "This is the worst!" with a pained grin on his face.

'This is the worst': NZ Police tweet criticised for insensitivity
Photo credit: NZ Police / Twitter

The tweet was quickly deleted, however not before taking some heat.

"I'm sorry it's difficult for you - but I'm glad you've reached the point that you can make light of the worst day of many people's lives," one person wrote.

Another called out the "humorous tone" to the image and predicted the tweet's imminent deletion.

Karen Jones, Deputy Chief Executive of Public Affairs at New Zealand Police, said the police are "extremely sorry" and promised they "will learn from this".

"NZ Police issued a road safety tweet this afternoon which was quickly deleted after we realised the imagery was wrong and insensitive," she told Newshub in a statement.

"We feel terrible about this mistake, as we put victims at the heart of what police do.

"Social media is a hugely important channel to NZ Police and we appreciated the prompt feedback we got from members of our community who pointed out the inappropriateness of the tweet."

The New Zealand Police Twitter account has since apologised to those who replied to the tweet, saying it was "not meant to cause offence".

"Telling someone their family member has died is literally the worst part of the job," they said.

The tweet came shortly after a police press conference naming a person who died after trying to escape officers on Monday morning, and after the names were released of two others who died in a crash on Sunday afternoon.