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Home / Publications and Media / 2022 Media Releases

Police response to Gisborne family harm episodes inadequate

7 April 2022

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found the Police response was inadequate when they dealt with two family harm episodes, involving a man and his partner, at a property in Gisborne on 1 and 5 January 2020.

On 1 January a woman called 111 to report her partner had weapons, was psychotic, and needed to be removed from the property. The Authority found the emergency call takers failed to correctly code and prioritise the woman’s call and did not record critical information. This led to the attending officers being unaware of the urgency of the situation and having insufficient information to respond appropriately.

On 5 January the woman again telephoned 111 reporting her partner’s behaviour, requesting Police attend because she was frightened. Officers attended and detained the man and issued him with a Police Safety Order before taking him to the Police station. An officer later returned to the house where the woman told him she was being physically and verbally abused by the man. The Authority found the officer failed to understand the significance of what she told him, and he should have interviewed her more fully. Had he done so, he may have gathered information to charge her partner with a criminal offence and detain him in custody, rather than holding him temporarily under the Safety Order.

When the man was released from the Police station one and a half hours later, he told officers the Police Safety Order “would not stop him”. He walked from the station to the woman’s home, broke in with a weapon, and caused serious injury to the woman’s friend, who she had called to support her. The Authority found the officers failed to take steps to protect the woman after the man made the threat towards her when he left the Police Station.

Authority Chair Judge Colin Doherty says: “Police have a significant role in the prevention of and response to family harm. On this occasion the failure to collect, record and act on critical information meant the officers did not adequately respond and prevent harm being caused.”

Public Report 

Police response to Gisborne family harm episodes inadequate (PDF 387 KB)

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