Review triggers 111 overhaul

The 111 system faces a major shake-up following a review into a number of high profile failures.

Police Commissioner Rob Robinson today announced the establishment of a national board to oversee the performance of police communications centres.

The review was prompted by incidents including the Iraena Asher case. She called 111 in distress from Piha, west Auckland, but a taxi rather than a police car was sent to her. The taxi went to the wrong address and Ms Asher has never been found.

The Government is to put $45 million into the communications centres over four years in a bid to improve the way they operate.

Police Minister George Hawkins said: "The review has found a number of areas for improvement and this Government is giving the Police Commissioner the resources he indicated he needs to fix them and restore public confidence.

"A lack of training and staff capacity, particularly at command and control level is blamed for poor performance, bad morale and staff turn-over."

Establishing the board, to be chaired by businessman and public sector specialist John Perham, is one response to more than 60 recommendations for change made by an independent review panel.

Mr Robinson said: "I asked for an objective assessment of the communication centres and we now have one. It helps us understand the scope and nature of the inherent difficulties the centres have been experiencing.

"I am aware of the pressures on centre staff and on some of our systems and we now have options to relieve those pressures. I have already had discussions with Government seeking their assistance with this."

The review found management structures in the decade old centres are no longer working and changes are required.

Mr Robinson added that the review found "the communications centre technology used by NZ Police is world class, and that the problems they have identified in the centres are readily fixable".

The other advisory board members will be: review panel member, Mr Kevin McKenna of Price Waterhouse; Mr Greg Magness, Datacom; Deputy Commissioner Steve Long; Assistant Commissioner Howard Broad; Mr Rohan Mendis, Police I&T Service Centre; and the District Commanders for Northland, Northshore Waitakere, Wellington and Canterbury.

- HERALD ONLINE STAFF

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