NZ Police has accepted the Independent Police Conduct Authority’s (IPCA) findings in relation to the handling of a 111 call reporting concerns about a child’s welfare.
The great-grandmother of two-year-old, Nevaeh Ager (pictured), called 111 on the evening of March 20 last year with concerns about her granddaughter’s partner, Aaron Izett, and the wellbeing of her great-grandchild in his care.
She was advised that Police did not have the power to intervene or remove Nevaeh from the Maketu property as she and her husband did not have custody.
The following morning Police received a number of calls about concerning behaviour at the same address, which led to the discovery of Nevaeh’s body in a nearby estuary.
The Authority found the 111 call was not handled in accordance with Police policy, Standard Operating Procedures and good practice. It found the call taker coded the event incorrectly, gave inaccurate advice and failed to record detail that may have affected the Police response.
Dispatchers also failed to conduct the appropriate checks and pass on relevant information.
“We let Nevaeh and her family down,” Assistant Commissioner Tusha Penny said.
“Had the information from the 111 call been properly recorded and shared, Police may have had an opportunity to intervene.
“We will never know whether we could have prevented this tragic outcome, and for this we are deeply sorry.
“Police come to work every day to keep our communities safe, but on this occasion, we could and should have done more.
“Police met with Nevaeh’s family yesterday to apologise in person and discuss the Police response to the Authority’s findings.”
The call taker and dispatchers involved are receiving ongoing support and training to ensure they are better equipped to respond to future incidents.
The dispatchers also agreed to share their experience and lessons learned with others in the role.
Aaron Izett (pictured, right) was this month convicted of Nevaeh’s murder. He is due to be sentenced in February.