Carjack victim turns up at police station - told to ring 111

By Kristin Edge, Hannah Norton

The woman drove straight to Whangarei Police Station, pictured, after an attempted carjacking but says she was told to ring 111 instead. Photo / file
The woman drove straight to Whangarei Police Station, pictured, after an attempted carjacking but says she was told to ring 111 instead. Photo / file

A woman who drove straight to Whangarei police station to report an attempted carjacking is appalled she was told by a constable to ring 111 to get a police officer to attend.

Police yesterday apologised to the woman, saying the officer was inexperienced and in the wrong. It was the second attempted carjacking in the city in less than a week.

The 21-year-old Whangarei woman, who did not want to be identified, was at the front counter of the Whangarei Police Station just after 12pm on Thursday when she was offered a landline to call police but opted to go outside and use her cellphone.

Only minutes before she had been in her car and stopped on Otaika Rd waiting to turn into Tarewa Rd when a man standing on the central traffic island tried to open her driver's door.

She described him as of Maori descent, aged in his late teens, of a stocky build, and dressed in a black hoodie with a blue T-shirt or collar.

"He yanked the door and looked at me," she said.

Fortunately her car door was locked and she was able to drive away.

"I went to the police station straight away and was told it would be faster to call 111 and they could dispatch a unit."

Acting Whangarei/Kaipara Area Commander Inspector Justin Rogers said the officer who served her had less than six months in the force, and had limited front counter experience.

"This is not the preferred response from police and he should have called 111 himself on the radio. We have spoken to the officer about the matter," Inspector Rogers said.

Following the call to 111 a patrol car was dispatched immediately but, as more than 10 minutes had passed, the man could not be located, he said.

"Police would like to remind people that if a crime is in progress they should call 111 immediately. If you are in a car, you can call 111 from your cellphone."

The woman said she chose to go into the station rather than ring 111 as she was only three intersections away and was distressed after the incident and wasn't thinking completely clearly.

"They should have seen that I was distressed. I would have expected a better result," she said.

Meanwhile, police are investigating an incident at the BP Wylies Service Station on Maunu Rd last Monday where a man tried to get into a car parked on the forecourt.

A woman, who was in the passenger seat of the car, said while the driver had gone to pay for fuel a man came into the car and began searching for the keys in the ignition.

Police had not received a complaint regarding this incident, but due to the serious nature of the allegation contacted the service station and viewed the CCTV footage.

The footage shows a man in a hooded red jacket opening the door, reaching in and then taking off.

Anyone with information can contact Whangarei Police on 09 430 4500.

- Northern Advocate

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