Key Points:

When Karyn Scherer's 2-year-old threw a bedtime tantrum, the last thing the busy working mother expected was three police officers knocking on her door.

But that's what happened on Saturday night after a neighbour of the senior Herald journalist called 111.

The police who responded said they had to check everything as quickly as possible, given the number of children who suffered harm.

Police made no apologies yesterday for responding to an emergency call to the Titirangi property from a neighbour who told them: "I can hear a child screaming ... and I've heard it before."

The call was taken at the Northern Communications Centre and a West Auckland patrol unit was sent.

Waitakere Police commander Inspector Mark O'Connor said: "It's always going to be difficult for police to dismiss such cases without going there.

"We do have a lot of physical abuse cases we actually investigate and if we ever got the chance to have intervened earlier there are a lot of kids who may have never suffered serious injury."

Mr O'Connor said the family's details would not be passed to another agency.

"We do have that process for cases we're concerned about but obviously the officers went there and weren't concerned about anything."

A police national headquarters spokeswoman said all reports were taken seriously.