A retired inspector who oversaw the investigation into the fatal shooting of a Hawke's Bay policeman has offered support for devastated colleagues of a slain Auckland officer.
Former Inspector Ross Pinkham, who headed the investigation after Constable Glenn McKibbin was shot dead in Hawke's Bay on April 21, 1996, said the death of a colleague would devastate the whole police community.
"The biggest focus is supporting the colleagues around the person that has died and giving support to the staff that are still working," he said.
"The time when Glenn was shot was tragic and caused a lot of nerves and unrest amongst police staff in Hawke's Bay until the offender was located.
"I have been in touch with Auckland already to share my thoughts to those in the force that I know up there."
At a press conference at Hastings Police Station on Friday, Police Minister Stuart Nash said the officer who died on Friday was a man who "dedicated his career to keeping us safe".
"Over 10,000 men and woman have lost a valued colleagues," he said.
"What an absolute tragedy. What can you say?" Nash said.
He said New Zealand police undertook about 3250 routine callouts, including traffic, every day.
"Words cannot describe when you lose a colleague in this way – keeping in mind the last officer that was shot in the line of duty was here in Hawke's Bay," Nash said.
A total of 22 police officers have been shot and killed on duty since 1890, and 15 officers have been wounded by firearms since 2002.
Senior Constable Len Snee was fatally shot in Napier 2009, and was the most recent police officer to be killed on duty.
Snee died after he and fellow officers Grant Diver and Bruce Miller went to Jan Molenaar's Chaucer Rd home on Hospital Hill on May 7, 2009, to execute what was expected to be a routine drugs search warrant.
Molenaar opened fire with an automatic rifle on all three officers, who were shot in the first minutes of what became a 51-hour siege that ended with the gunman's suicide.
Police Association President Chris Cahill on Friday said the police force had lost a valued member of their family of 14000.
"They all know it's a risky job, but we live with the expectation that they will be back home with their families," he said.
"What we do know is that policing involves all sorts of activities every day and most of them are completed safely, but there are some risks. And here we've seen how routine incidents can be so risky."
When asked whether this might reignite the debate to arm police, Cahill said it was "a debate for the future".