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Record set straight on response to 111 calls

Record set straight on Southern Communications Centre response to 111 calls

A formal police review has been completed into the claims made by Mr Ron Mark MP about the 111 response to an alleged abduction and an assault in Christchurch on Sunday 4 July 2004.

Superintendent Steve Hinds from the Office of the Commissioner said the review found these claims were based on factually incorrect assertions made by police staff in internal e-mail communications circulated within the Christchurch area. In reality both incidents were attended in a timely and professional manner.

The claim that Highway Patrols ignored calls to assist was untrue. At the time the calls were received, no Highway Patrol vehicles were rostered for duty. There was however a Sergeant and two Constables from the Strategic Traffic Unit working in the Christchurch metropolitan area.

The Sergeant was at the Central Police Station dealing with a domestic violence incident from earlier that day and the two Constables were on routine patrol some 15 minutes ‘urgent duty driving’ from the locations of the two complaints, said Mr Hinds.

"It was also claimed non-traffic staff were diverted from other duties to attend these urgent events. General Duty Units were free and available to attend the calls for service and were not as indicated in preliminary public statements redirected from Priority Two calls."

The last claim was traffic staff were logging themselves as ‘out of service’ and were not available for deployment for other duties, including responding to 111 calls for service, was a misinterpretation of a common technical practice within the communication centres.

The three Strategic Traffic Units had logged on as normal and then proceeded to start routine duty interacting with Southern Communications Centre staff as and when required. This procedure is for the convenience of communications centre staff in terms of managing available resources for dispatch on a priority basis and does not mean the units cannot be deployed.

Interactions with staff at the Southern Communications Centre, the tape of the time in question and the event log were central to the review. All these factual sources of evidence provided a clear record of the events of Sunday 4 July 2004," said Mr Hinds.

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