Christchurch terror attack: Police praised for their empathy

Police are being praised for their heroic and reassuring efforts following the attacks.

Hundreds of extra police have been in Christchurch, and the scores of officers with bushmaster assault rifles have become a familiar sight.

But what's also becoming a familiar sight is officers embracing a community in deep grief. They're wearing headscarves in a sign of respect and solidarity - a reassuring presence in a city needing it.

"It's a breath of fresh air seeing that side of them, it's humanity, just people being people and it's good to see that they are just like us," a member of the public told Newshub.

"I'm very very proud about the police also, they really look after us," another said.

The city's top cop says the pride goes both ways.

"Nowhere else in the world do police get this sort of appreciation from the public," Supt John Price told Newshub.

After the city's police officers faced the biggest mass shooting of their careers, they were soon offering reassurance to those in grief.

It's not just the children police have been hugging - it's grieving adults too. Police have been on high alert for nine days now, a tough stance with a soft touch.

"The premises and the principals of the New Zealand Police are that the public are the police and the police are the public," Supt John Price says.

And they say talking to the public is crucial when brandishing guns.

"It's important for us to talk to them, to show them that it's not a barrier," a cop says.

Even though the immediate threat and danger is now gone, armed police remain around the city. Survivors of the massacre say it offers them great comfort, both from terror and from racist remarks.

A thin blue line in Christchurch a lot thicker than usual - and one not only offering protection and comfort, but compassion too.


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