Investigation concludes into Masterton man left in court cells

Wairarapa Police have concluded their investigation into how a man was inadvertently left in Masterton District Court cells for a weekend in January this year.

“It has been determined that genuine human error and a lack of clear communication led to the incident occurring,” says Wairarapa Area Commander, Inspector Donna Howard. “The staff involved are extremely regretful of the error and fully acknowledge the distress caused to the man.

“I personally met with the man and his wife earlier this week to provide them with the outcome of the investigation and to formally apologise. On this occasion we fell below the standards of service rightly expected of us and we have put steps in place to help ensure it does not occur again.”

Ms Howard says the investigation identified some practices and procedures for improvement, which has resulted in more robust measures now being put in place. Police have also been in regular dialogue with the Independent Police Conduct Authority throughout the investigation, and the Authority will continue to monitor the progress being made.

Ms Howard says the incident has provided a learning opportunity for all staff. 

“The lessons learnt from this incident have been communicated with all staff across the area and we are doing all that we can to ensure this does not happen again,” Ms Howard says. “I am confident that the measures now in place will prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.”

Ms Howard was in contact with the man involved throughout the investigation and he has expressed no ill feeling towards the staff involved.

Ms Howard says the meeting with the man and his wife was positive and after meeting with Police they have advised they are happy with the outcome of the investigation, and want to move on. 


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