Despite the number of armed incidents recently police should remain unarmed, the Police Commissioner says.
Mike Bush's comment comes after Pera Ariki Smiler was shot dead by police after brandishing a rifle in Upper Hutt, Wellington on Tuesday.
In a blog released today, Mr Bush said the incident highlighted the unpredictable and dangerous events police officers sometimes face.
"No officer ever wants to be confronted with situations like this."
Although there had been a number of armed incidents in recent weeks, it was important to remember these events were extremely rare, Mr Bush said.
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It was also rare for police to have to use lethal force, he said.
These incidents should never be used as a reason to arm police, he said.
The police and the public were safer if they were not armed with guns, Mr Bush said.
"They recently have been equipped with Tasers at all times, which are not lethal and function at close quarters. Guns reduce the options in tense situations."
Referring to an editorial in the New Zealand Herald, Mr Bush said it was "heartening" to see the professionalism of police staff acknowledged in these events.
"Among other things, it says: 'It may be that just about everybody now recognises the risks we ask police officers to take in situations where offenders are, or may be, armed. The more these dangerous situations occur, the more grateful we should be to those prepared to put themselves in harm's way for the public's protection."'