Ring, ring, why don't you answer my call? Days spent trying to ring Kapiti police
Kapiti's police station has been accused of never picking up the phone after a man spent three days playing phone tag without ever reaching a local officer.
Paraparaumu's Nigel Coventry was in Hamilton on Wednesday last week when his wife called to tell him there was a burglary near their home in Ruapehu St, Paraparaumu.
It was the second on the street in a matter of weeks, he said. "I wasn't there and she was worried the thieves might try to break into our place."
So he called the Kapiti station to check about the burglary, and "get some reassurance that they've got it in hand". He got an answerphone and left a message.
He got no reply and called again in the following two days.
Each time he was put through to an operator, who told him they would not give details of the burglary and that he needed to go in person to Wellington police station.
"You just want to phone up and talk to the local station," Coventry said. "I had to chase the police."
Police said staff did answer calls at the station, and callers would only be redirected if those staff were already on the phone or dealing with someone at the front counter. Staff numbers at the station had not changed, they said.
Paraparaumu hairdresser Donna Platt said she also received no reply when she had tried to call the police station.
"I find that absolutely obnoxious and disgusting. What is the point of ... getting that local police station up and running and ... now it seems to have become obsolete?"
She tried to call police for issues such as dumped and possibly stolen cars, vandalism, and shoplifting, but couldn't get through. Her last attempted call was about 10 days ago.
The station number that Coventry and Platt called was 04 296 6800, the number listed on the NZ Police website for the station.
Kapiti acting area response manager Senior Sergeant Dean Silvester said office hours were 8am to 5pm on weekdays.
"During this time the phone will be answered by one of the station support officers. If the SSOs are on the phone or dealing with someone at the front counter, the phones go through to the telephonist at the Wellington central police station."
He said calls made out of hours were redirected to police communications centres who operated around the clock.
"There is a phone with a direct link to police communications attached to the front entrance of the station for use outside of office hours."
In September, police announced the Waikanae community base in Kapiti, used by volunteers, would close permanently.
Kapiti Mayor K Gurunathan said police had spoken to the Waikanae Community Board after the announcement, and said new technology made them much more efficient.
"Given that assurance, I find this [latest news] a little concerning, perhaps even alarming."
People should feel safe in the community, and the technology involved with Coventry's delays was as simple as a phone call, he said. Police should "pull finger" over the matter.
He would like to hear from anyone who has had trouble reaching a local officer at the Kapiti station.