INDEPENDENT NEWS

Inquiry Needed to Uncover The Facts

Published: Mon 18 Oct 2004 08:51 AM
Inquiry Needed to Uncover The Facts
ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Police Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today called for an urgent independent inquiry to ascertain just why police responded to an emergency 111 call from missing woman Iraena Asher by sending a taxi rather than a police car.
"According to a police statement today, Ms Asher called 111 on the night of her disappearance. Police phoned to inform her that a taxi was on its way, and Ms Asher then disappeared," Dr Newman said.
"This raises serious questions about the police's ability to respond to emergency calls, and Labour's role in this. Is this a Government that has a $6 billion surplus and, yet, still cannot enable police to perform their emergency response duties?
"The reality is that - with officers deployed overseas, pulled away to guard prisoners, and new officers being ring-fenced for traffic duty - police are struggling.
"Over-stretched and under-resourced, police have already warned that tragedy is looming - whether it be an inexperienced officer attacked by prisoners, or an over-worked police officer committing suicide. Now, it appears that tragedy may have occurred in the form of a missing woman who did not receive help when she called for it.
"Iraena Asher is missing, and the potential for even more tragedy is very real. As such, this issue warrants more than a simple internal or Ministerial investigation.
"The public deserves what really happened. I am calling on Labour to implement an urgent, independent inquiry to determine whether this is a case of Government mismanagement that has led to this failure in emergency response," Dr Newman said.

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