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Review Too Little Too Late For Iraena Asher

Review Too Little Too Late For Iraena Asher

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Police Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today called on Police Minister George Hawkins to accept responsibility for the failures of the emergency 111 call service.

"The recently announced review of this service is too little too late for Ms Iraena Asher. But Mr Hawkins cannot absolve himselve of responsibility. He knew the system's flaws long before Ms Asher called. In May, the Police Association highlighted a 50 percent increase in emergency calls to police - at a time when staffing had fallen 2.11 percent -The Association warned that emergency services were inadequately resourced to do their job properly, and that if somehting was not done a tragedy would happen.

"The Association's warning has proved prophetic. We have the tragedy the Association warned about: a young woman needing help was unable to obtain it, and is now missing.

"When there are overworked, under-resourced police fielding over 1.4 million calls a year, mistakes are going to be made. These errors are not inevitable, and could have been pre-empted - had the Minister wanted.

"But the police communication centres have been run as `lean machines'. "Officers are under instruction to `take money, not prisoners' with the public now believing that collecting traffic revenue is a more important police responsibilty than catching criminals and keeping people safe.

"This is not the fault of police. It is the responsibility of the Minister who has known the facts, known the problems, and failed to respond.

"In politics the buck stops with the Minister. He must accept responsibility for any failure in emergency services." Dr Newman said.

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