Key Points:

Police have admitted they failed to search a man who used his shoelaces to take his own life in a Rotorua police station cell last year.

Anthony McGuire, 33, was arrested on May 26, 2008, after his partner called police during a fight.

Within hours Mr McGuire was found dead in his cell, hanging by his shoelaces from his cell door.

In an inquest into the death which opened in Rotorua yesterday, police admitted Mr McGuire was never searched.

He was allowed in the cell with his shoe laces, jewellery and a lighter.

"The police accept and acknowledge these failings which led to the circumstance in which Mr McGuire was able to take his life in the manner that he did," Fletcher Pilditch for the Crown said.

The police also said a risk assessment of Mr McGuire's mental state was never completed.

Since the death, a new facility had opened in Rotorua and changes had been made to the procedure for dealing with prisoners, police said.

His partner Donna-Maree Francis said she hoped the inquest would give her answers.

"I want to know why he hadn't had his items taken off him," she told 3 News last night.

"I thought it was the No 1 rule to do that."

The inquest continues today.

- NZPA