Failed call to police rocks city resident

SUSAN STRONGMAN
Last updated 05:00 31/01/2014
Gordon Jones
DOMINIKA ZIELINSKA/ Fairfax NZ
SOUGHT HELP: Gordon Jones needed the police at the weekend, but they didn't even pick up.

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Police say a man whose house was pelted with rocks should have called 111 and not the New Plymouth police station.

Gordon Jones, who lives on St Aubyn St, says he called a number from the phone book, expecting to get through to the New Plymouth police station. Instead, his call went through to a central communications automated system and he was put on hold.

"I held on and then the line just went dead - three times," he said.

Jones did not get through to police until the following morning when he called the same number and was put through to Palmerston North, where he laid a complaint about the rock throwing.

Several days later he received a letter from Palmerston North saying that there was not enough evidence to find out who was responsible.

Jones said no police had even visited him.

"They should have at least come and had a look and done their job," he said.

During the missile assault on his home on Saturday, a rock the size of a golf ball went through his glass front door while other rocks landed on his porch and lawn.

Senior Sergeant Robbie O'Keefe of the New Plymouth police said Jones should have called 111 as soon as the stone had broken the window.

"If there's an offender present, people need to be calling 111."

The New Zealand Police website listed the situations in which people should call 111.

This included if someone was badly injured or in danger, if there was a serious risk to life or property, if a crime was being committed and the offenders were still there or had just left, or if a person had come across a major public inconvenience, such as trees blocking a highway.

O'Keefe said 111 calls were prioritised by police and even if Jones felt it was not an emergency, he still should have called the number.

But Jones said the police's suggestion he should have called 111 was just an excuse for a failing phone system.

"In the good old days you could call a number and get hold of the local police," he said.

Jones said one of the windows that he found a stone beneath was of the room where his 4 and 6-year-old grandchildren slept when they visited.

He said he was annoyed, angry and frustrated.

"I think there would be a lot of other people out there like me, too."

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