Police could have done more for 111 caller

Thursday, 11 May 2017 - 10:15am
National News
Police accepts and acknowledges the findings of an Independent Police Conduct Authority report into the handling of three 111 calls.

A woman from Omapere, Northland called Police in October 2015 with concerns for the safety of her and her family.

She was concerned because her son, who had mental health issues, was behaving erratically and had pushed her.

Unfortunately, the woman was later stabbed in the back by her son. The victim’s daughter called 111 and a unit attended immediately. The injured woman was airlifted to hospital, and she subsequently recovered from her wounds.

“We agree with the Authority’s findings that Police underestimated the woman’s situation from the first two calls. We should have acted with greater urgency and should not have delayed our response,” says Superintendent Dave Trappitt, National Manager: Communication Centres.

“We also share the IPCA’s view that if Police had attended the address sooner, the stabbing may have been avoided.

“Police have sincerely apologised to the victim for the way in which we responded to her calls. We accept this report’s findings have learnt some valuable lessons from the incident,” says Superintendent Trappitt.

There have been several steps taken by Police since this event, including a full review of the incident from the perspective of policy practice and procedures.

In recognition of Police attending around 90 mental health-related events every day, two years ago Police implemented modernised training that all Police recruits undergo. This is focused on providing recruits with a fuller understanding of the needs of mental health service users.

Additionally, new training which focuses on increasing awareness of mental health and helping people suffering mental distress has been rolled out to frontline Police, including Communication Centre staff.

Communication Centres have also reviewed and updated their standard operating practices requiring constant risk assessment of events under action.

There is also ongoing work to ensure Police and mental health services across New Zealand co-ordinate their response to the community.

Police note that IPCA found no issues with the third 111 call.

A District Court judge found that the man was legally insane when the stabbing occurred. He was later detained under the Mental Health Act.


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