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Updated at 4:02 pm on 25 November 2010
Police Assistant Commissioner Grant Nicholls says criticism of Superintendent Gary Knowles, the officer in charge of the Pike River Coal mine operation, has been hard for him.
He says Mr Knowles has been professional throughout what he described as a heart-wrenching operation.
Mr Nicholls says hundreds of officers have been involved in the operation and a debrief will now be carried out.
The Police Association also says Mr Knowles was unfairly criticised for not allowing rescuers to go into the mine.
Association head Greg O'Connor says it is normal practice for police to head such operations. He says Mr Knowles was superbly qualified to lead a multi-agency team.
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