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Quicker response to son's assault needed

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/05/2017

<span style="font-size:13px;">Police should've responded to emergency calls made by a Northland woman before she was stabbed by her mentally ill son, a watchdog has found.</span> © Hannah Peters/Getty Images Police should've responded to emergency calls made by a Northland woman before she was stabbed by her mentally ill son, a watchdog has found. Police should've responded more quickly to 111 calls made by a Northland woman before she was stabbed by her mentally ill son two years ago, the police watchdog has found.

The Omapere woman made two calls to 111 on October, 2015, fearing for her safety as her son began behaving erratically and pushing her.

Police put the incident on hold as he had an appointment with the Mental Health Crisis Team the next day.

The woman called again, as the crisis team wouldn't take him because they did not consider him to be sick enough, but was told police would attend when officers became available.

She called 111 a third time to say she'd been stabbed.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority says the dispatcher should have passed on all relevant information from the first 111 call before deciding it was unnecessary to attend the incident.

Police also shouldn't have closed the event without having told the woman they weren't going to attend.

"Police underestimated the woman's concerns and did not respond to the first or second 111 calls with enough urgency," IPCA chairman Judge Sir David Carruthers said.

Police say they agree with the IPCA findings that they underestimated the woman's situation from the first two calls.

"We should have acted with greater urgency and should not have delayed our response," Superintendent Dave Trappitt said in a statement.

"If police had attended the address sooner, the stabbing may have been avoided.

"We've sincerely apologised to the victim for the way in which we responded to her calls."

Further training around mental health and people suffering mental distress has been rolled out to frontline police in the last two years.

The son was found legally insane by a District Court judge and has been detained under the Mental Health Act.

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