Armed police were seen around a west Auckland park this afternoon in a dramatic operation to catch a fugitive.

The officers were scouring the area around Lawson Park in New Lynn.

"There were six on one side, there were four on the other side, checking cars, just as I was driving past," said witness Tiaki Albert.

"Then I went past five minutes later and they had a dog unit and then there was no one around."

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Two helicopters were also circling above and some officers were armed, wearing their full protective body kit, Mr Albert said.

He also saw the officers around the Eastglen Rd area.

This was between 3 and 4pm and another witness said she saw four cars and about eight officers.

She also said the police looked like they were armed.

A police spokeswoman said officers had received information a person with outstanding warrants to arrest "was in residence in that area".

"It was suggested that the person was armed. The person was not located but inquiries are ongoing."