All frontline police officers in Christchurch have been ordered to arm themselves after an incident where up to nine gunshots were heard.
Officers blocked off a street by Avon Park about 7am on Friday, after a report of a firearm being discharged on Avonside Dr. Police said one person reported hearing what sounded like a single gunshot followed by a 30-40 second break, then up to eight more shots. No-one appeared to be injured in the incident, police said.
A police spokeswoman confirmed on Saturday that following the incident general arming was ordered across the Canterbury Police District to ensure the safety of the public and police officers. There had been no specific threat made to the public, the spokeswoman said.
"The decision to arm frontline staff has been made by relieving District Commander Superintendent Mike Johnson in response to this incident, and in accordance with the present risk environment. The situation will be kept under review on a shift-by-shift basis, following risk assessment and in response to the circumstances at any given time.
"As the Police Commissioner has said frontline staff may continue to carry firearms on a case by case basis if particular circumstances necessitate this approach."
While there was no information to suggest any specific risk to public safety, police advised the public should remain vigilant, and report any suspicious or concerning behaviour to police.