6 Nov 2015

Police didn't help terrified teens, mother says

10:46 am on 6 November 2015

A Whangarei woman has accused police of doing nothing to help terrified teenagers at a party who told officers a man had been threatening to shoot them.


Shannon Parker laid a formal complaint against the police Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Shannon Parker said one officer turned up in a patrol car and removed his own son but did nothing to help anyone else at the house in Glenbervie on 19 September.

She said her 17-year-old son called her about 10pm and begged her to pick him up, saying a man had chased him and others down a driveway, threatening to shoot them all.

"I got straight in the car and headed out there. And the second phone call I got was to say that my son had been hit by the man.

"Someone must've phoned the police because immediately after me, a sergeant and two constables arrived. The sergeant took his own son and left, just leaving the other two officers there," Ms Parker said.

"There were kids everywhere, between 20 and 30 of them... some of the girls were crying... the boys were all yelling out. The kids were all saying that this man had threatened to shoot them.

"They'd all run quite a distance from the property. They were all waiting in the middle of the road when I arrived. So there was a lot of screaming, crying and everyone was talking about these threats of being shot."

Ms Parker said parents then arrived, picked up their children and left.

"The officers really didn't seem to show a lot of care, no concern over the kids, the mention of a weapon... nothing."

Ms Parker laid a formal complaint against the police.

"The complaint revolves around everything from how the officers handled the events on the evening, the sergeant that arrived and took his own son and left.

"It's nearly been seven weeks since the incident and we have no idea what's happened, if anything.

"I don't know if charges have been laid.. nothing."

Another parent told RNZ her son called and asked to be picked up, saying a man had "gone pyscho".

She said when she arrived, there was already a police car there and then another arrived.

A boy got into the second police car and the left, she said.

Investigation under way

In a statement, Inspector Al Symonds said, "The assault complaint is still being investigated. A number of people have been spoken to and conflicting stories of the events have been obtained. A number of people remain to be spoken to.

"A complaint regarding police actions on the night has been received. This matter is being dealt with through the complaints process. Any issues regarding police actions that arise from the investigation will be addressed as an employment matter."

But in an email sent to a parent a few days after the party, obtained by RNZ, police said:

"It appears they [the police officers who attended] spoke with some party goers but possibly [were] not aware of the full circumstances or have not fully looked into the matter on the night.

"It appears that there is a lot more went on and with the criminal allegation of assault and the mention of firearms a full investigation will be needed.

"I have made him [the sergeant in charge] aware of my expectations regarding speaking to all involved and obtaining what the constables actually did at the address."