Police admit woman's 111 call details were not passed on to officers

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Police admit that the handling of Saturday night's incident did not meet the usual standard of putting victims first.
Police admit that the handling of Saturday night's incident did not meet the usual standard of putting victims first.

Police have conceded the response to a woman who barricaded herself in her home and called 111 after being followed for 15km to her rural home did not meet the usual standard of putting victims first.

The woman said she was pursued by a vehicle as she drove from Kaitaia to her isolated house on Saturday, August 13.

Acting Far North area commander Inspector Riki Whiu said the initial lack of attendance after the woman's 111 call on August 13 had been reviewed, and it appeared the details of the call were not passed on to Kaitaia.

That review had included listening to the content of the 111 call.

Read more:
Phone 111 - and nothing happens

"Police successfully manage and dispatch hundreds of calls for service each day, however [this call] was not dispatched to local staff for attendance," Inspector Whiu said.

Staff were required to make an assessment on the information available to them at the time but, in this instance, a further communication breakdown meant the victim had not been contacted by police since her concerns were raised, and that was disappointing.

The woman endured a terrifying night with her children.

"Every time I heard a car I wondered if it was the police, but it wasn't," she said.

At one point, while she was still talking to police communications, she thought she heard someone walking on the road outside the house. She also thought she saw a light, possibly from a torch or a cell phone. She told the call taker that.

"I was shaking. I was a real mess. I was frightened," she said.

The nearest neighbours were 100m away in either direction, although she believed she could have run that far if necessary. She had steeled herself to do the best she could with the bat if her home was invaded, and to tell the children to run.

But officers never came. She had still not heard from police when she spoke to the Northland Age three days later.

"We have made attempts to contact the victim this afternoon, and will be making a time to meet with her to discuss this matter," Inspector Whiu added.

"We strive to ensure our communities are safe and feel safe.

"We attend hundreds of calls for service, and are fully committed to ensuring that we give the best possible service to anyone who calls the police.

"However on this occasion we acknowledge our response has fallen short."

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