By 3 News online staff
Arming the New Zealand police would "fundamentally change" the relationship with the public, the Police Commissioner says.
Commissioner Mike Bush has rejected calls from Police Association President Greg O'Connor that officers should be armed at all times.
Mr O'Connor made the comment at the Association's 79th annual conference in Wellington on Wednesday and in relation to the shoot-out between police and an armed man in Kerepehi.
But Mr Bush says officers already have firearms readily available to them if they need to use them, and arming the force would be "quite a different style" of policing.
"I'm sure the majority of New Zealanders don't want to change the relationship they have with the New Zealand police," he told Radio NZ.
"We're a very prevention-focused organisation. Yes, we need to respond when people need it and we believe we've given [officers] the tools, the equipment and the training to do absolutely that."
Mr Bush says assaults on police had declined in the past few years and the use of available firearms – the bushmaster, glock and Taser – accounted for about 5 percent of total use of "tactical options".
source: newshub archive