Police sorry for delay after man threatened by gang
Police took seven hours to call back a man who was threatened by two gang members in this ‘‘most terrifying’’ incident of his life.
The delay has prompted an apology from police, who say their response was ‘‘below expectations’’.
The Christchurch man, who declined to be named, told The Press he was reversing out of his driveway in Phillipstown about midday on Monday when he clipped a parked car.
He pulled over and got out of his car as the owner of the other car crossed the road with another man. Both men are understood to be gangmembers.
‘‘I wanted to stop and do the right thing, and he asked me if I wanted to f… with the gang ... [then] proceeded to smash my mirror off.’’
The man, a 50-year-old who is on a disability benefit after breaking his neck, was about to take a photo of the other car’s number plate when the second gangmember threatened him.
The victim ran inside to call police, then remembered he had left his keys in his car.
His car was still there when he returned, but the keys – and the men with the parked car – had gone. He then called police and told them what happened.
Police did not call him back until 7.30pm – more than seven hours after the incident.
The Press understands the emergency call taker recorded the incident as intentional damage, when it should have been categorised as robbery. It is understood the error was eventually picked up shortly before police called him back.
Theman told police he had just taken some sleeping pills and asked if they could come around the next day.
The man was worried about his car being stolen, so took the battery lead out just before going to bed.
He got up just before 8am to check if the car was still there and found it had been destroyed.
‘‘I suspected it may have been stolen, but instead of that it was a burnt out vehicle.’’
The man had recently insured the Suzuki Swift and was doing it up for his daughter, who was about to lose her company car.
He said police apologised to him about the delay as he gave his statement on Tuesday.
The seven-hour delay was a ‘‘long time’’, given the incident had been the ‘‘most terrifying thing I’ve been through in my life’’.
‘‘The power of that guy to smash the mirror off like that – I just couldn’t believe it. I was just so happy it wasn’t my head, that’s what I was thinking.’’
Canterbury police metro area commander Superintendent Lane Todd said police were reviewing their response to the incident, which, on the face of it, was ‘‘below expectations’’.
‘‘Police have apologised directly to the victim in this matter for our slow response, and he is being kept informed with the investigation’s progress.’’
‘‘I was just so happy it wasn’t my head, that’s what I was thinking.’’ Christ churchman after a gang member smashed a mirror off his car.