Hawkins Must Act Now on 111 Crisis - Nats
Act now on 111 crisis, don’t wait for report
National’s Law and Order spokesman, Tony Ryall, says Police Minister George Hawkins should change Police priorities to reduce the risk of more 111 failures.
“The people of this country cannot afford to wait months for the Commissioner’s inquiry to report back. We need action now. Mr Hawkins sets the priorities and provides the funding for Police.
“The Commissioner's inquiry team has heard many submissions, has visited the communications centres, and has studied operations, so surely it must know what basically must be done.
“New Zealanders cannot afford to wait until May when, rumour has it, the report is likely to come out.
“Here is a four-point action plan that the Government should begin immediately:
Start training additional 111 call centre operators now. It is widely known staffing is the major problem at the Police communications centres.
In the meantime, start quick refresher courses for retired police staff – sworn and non-sworn – who are familiar with the call centre work and procedures who can assist on a short-term basis.
Suspend enough speed camera activity to free up officers to improve response times.
Commissioner to issue clear orders that traffic staff must respond to Priority One calls as directed, so that Police respond to a higher proportion of calls where there is some uncertainty.
Mr Ryall says these measures will protect the public while the 111 inquiry grinds on.
“Waiting months leaves open the risk of more potentially disastrous incidents like the incident in Hamilton reported last week.
“Confidence in 111 is collapsing and urgent steps are needed to restore public faith and to support the Police. It is Mr Hawkins responsibility to ensure the Police have enough money to staff a reliable 111 system,” says Mr Ryall.