27 February 2014 - The Independent Police Conduct Authority today released its summary report on the serious injury to a Dunedin truck driver following a collision with a cattle beast after a Police Communicator’s failure to record significant information during an emergency call.
At 2:19am on 1 June 2012 the Police Southern Communications Centre received a report that unattended cattle on a highway outside of the Southland town of Mataura posed a danger to road users. The caller provided the nearest rural address property identification (RAPID) number and stated the approximate location of the cattle on Old Coach Road.
Officers were dispatched to the general location but were not informed of the RAPID number provided during the emergency call as the Police Communicator had failed to record it. At 2:45am the officers were unable to find the wandering stock and advised the Police dispatcher of this. However, 12 minutes later a second report of cattle wandering on Old Coach Road was received. The Police Communicator informed the caller that Police were aware of the incident but did not create a new event in the Police dispatch system. This meant the Police dispatcher was not alerted to the report, precluding any further Police response.
At 3:32am a third report was received, this time from the ambulance service stating that a truck and trailer unit had collided with a cattle beast and overturned on Old Coach Road about 10 minutes from Mataura. The collision occurred about 750 metres from the RAPID number provided in the first emergency call to Police. The truck driver involved suffered serious leg injuries.
In releasing this report Independent Police Conduct Authority Chair, Judge Sir David Carruthers said the Police Communicator’s failure to record the RAPID number and create a new job for the second report of wandering cattle, contrary to Police policy, meant that pertinent information was not recorded. This hindered Police’s ability to accurately locate the cattle which in this instance had serious consequences.
“Following this incident Police have confirmed to the Authority that current communicator training includes instruction on the use of RAPID numbers. The Communicator involved in this incident has since attended this training,” Sir David said.