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Lack of communication contributed to tragedy

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

Chester Borrows MP National Party Police Spokesman

25 February 2008

Lack of communication contributed to Burton tragedy

It's clear that Police did a good job in eventually stopping Graeme Burton, but the Independent Police Conduct Authority makes it clear that serious communication problems between Police and Corrections contributed greatly to the tragedy, say National Party Justice & Corrections spokesman Simon Power and Police spokesman Chester Borrows

"The IPCA uses strong language in its report when describing the breakdown between these two departments," says Mr Power.

The report finds:

The Police refused to give intelligence to the Probation Service so it could seek Burton's recall because they were worried what might happen to their sources once the information was out of their hands.

* They could have arrested Burton on December 19 - some 18 days before he killed Mr Kuchenbecker - but seemed unaware of their rights.

* They established an operation to gather evidence on Burton's reported offending while on parole but 'no one took an active interest in or ownership of the situation'.

* They 'did not respond satisfactorily' following the issuing of arrest warrants: the first was not entered into the police computer till two weeks after it was issued by the court, and the second, faxed on December 29, was not entered into the computer system till January 1.

"All this happened despite Corrections and Police both wanting, by December 1, to revoke Burton's parole.

"They agreed he was a threat but somehow they failed to work together.

"If Police and Corrections had been working together better, Corrections would have been chasing Burton when he first breached probation six weeks before his rampage."

Mr Borrows says there is a memorandum of understanding between Police and Corrections -which contains guiding principles about sharing information - and a local service level agreement, but they both failed in this instance.

"The report is clear that both departments should review the memorandum and their local level agreements as regards handling dangerous offenders and sharing sensitive information.

"It's about time the leadership of Police and Corrections finally acknowledged that they failed the public on this."


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