Top cop says 000 delay “very concerning”

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Police Commander Kate Vanderlaan has described the delay of a 000 call as “very concerning”.

She commented today after Telstra released details of the incident on February 22 when the manager of the tennis centre, Matt Roberts was under siege by an armed mob threatening to kill him.

Cdr Vanderlaan said in a statement: “After liaising with Telstra, we have been advised that it did indeed take 4.46 minutes and 13.12 minutes respectively for Mr Roberts’ two 000 calls to be connected to operators at the Police Call Centre.

“The reason this occurred is that there were no lines available at the time of the call, so the call gets sent back to Telstra and they again redirect the call back to the call centre to again queue for a free line.

“I understand that this is the way the system is set up –  that if there are no lines available at the time of the call, it will be redirected back to Telstra.”

Telstra NT media manager Jane de Gault says more lines could be made available: “If the police asked us for more lines then that is something we would negotiate. We have the work with the emergency services. We would be happy to negotiate on the basis of their need.”

Ms de Gault says in Alice Springs at present there are six lines each for fire, ambulance and police.

Cdr Vanderlaan says: “At the time of the initial call, there were 42 incidents pending dispatch in the Alice Springs area. When Mr Roberts initial call was connected to police, the offenders had reportedly left the area.
“It is very concerning that it took 13.12 minutes for the second 000 call to connect to our call centre.

“I can advise that the second call was answered at 22.19 hours.

“The information given by Mr. Roberts was entered into our system by the call taker, and then a police vehicle in Alice Springs was dispatched at approximately 22.26 hours, arriving at 22.28 hours.”

She says one offender has been arrested for Engage in Violent Conduct, Armed with an Offensive Weapon and Damage Property and a second offender will be referred for Youth Diversion.

“The investigation is ongoing,” says Cdr Vanderlaan.

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