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111 communicator helps capture offender

18-10-2006 Counties Manukau

Location of incident: Papakura

Incident Type: 111 communicator helps capture offender by posing as victim's friend

A Police 111 communicator posed as a friend on a call to the victim as she made coffee for an armed offender, while Police moved in to surround the property this morning.

The woman, who was eight months pregnant, was trapped with the offender after he returned to the property where he had earlier assaulted his ex-partner - the woman's flatmate - and threatened her with a firearm.

When he returned the woman called Police, and a communicator from the Northern Communications Centre called her back on her cellphone posing as a friend, to find out where in the house the victim and offender were, whether he was currently armed, and other details that Police units waiting outside needed in order to make a safe arrest.

The communicator advised the victim to play along with the role of being a friend, and in between questions about the offender's state of mind, position in the house, and access to weapons, the communicator asked questions about the victim's preparations for the baby and her house-hunting plans for that afternoon.

As this occurred, the offender stood in the kitchen beside the victim while she made him a coffee and kept him calm, unaware she was on the phone to Police.

Outside the property, concealed from view, Police were armed and ready to apprehend the man, with the Police Eagle Helicopter keeping observation overhead.

A short time later, the victim's partner arrived and the pair managed to escape the house and were directed to a safe area established by Police.

Once the offender realised Police were outside surrounding the property, the offender made his way out to the deck with his hands raised and gave himself up to Police.

Police Northern Communication Shift Commander Inspector Barry Smalley said the Police Communicator's role in this incident was vital in establishing details such as the location of the offender and victim, and the offender's state of mind, so that Police could assess the level of action that needed to be taken.

"This was a situation where we had the Armed Offenders Squad on standby, and it could have become very serious for the offender, but because we had a direct line in to what was happening in the house, we were able to ascertain that an AOS callout was no longer necessary, and to apprehend the offender without force," Inspector Smalley said.

Issued by: Communications Manager Leanne Frisbie

ENDS

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