Told to wait: East Gundurimba residents Adam and Beverly Smith and their children, Amelia, 3, and Bayley, 2, pictured next to the car they were driving in at the time of the incident.
Told to wait: East Gundurimba residents Adam and Beverly Smith and their children, Amelia, 3, and Bayley, 2, pictured next to the car they were driving in at the time of the incident. Jacklyn Wagner

Two-hour wait after triple-0 call

TWO days after one of the State’s top cops declared Lismore had more than enough police, a local father of two had one question: Where were they when he and his wife and two young children had to wait two hours for assistance after calling triple-0?

Adam Smith, of East Gundurimba, was travelling along Goonellabah’s Oliver Avenue about 5.30pm on Tuesday when a rock was thrown at their car, cracking the windscreen.

He immediately called triple-0 and was patched through to Lismore police who told him they were on the way and to remain where he was.

Two hours and two phone calls later he was told he would have to go the station to make a statement.

“When I rang the second time, about half-an-hour after the first time, they told me they didn’t have any available cars and we would just have to wait,” Mr Smith said.

“So we waited and waited, and it got dark and the kids started to get restless and hungry.”

Yesterday Richmond Local Area Commander Bruce Lyons apologised to the Smith family.

“A two-hour delay is unfortunate, and I understand the frustration and concern of the man waiting for police,” he said.

“At the time there were two police vehicles working in Lismore.

“One was involved in a rescue and one was involved in a serious domestic.

“The job at Oliver Avenue did come over as non-urgent. In saying that, we need to be able to respond in a more prompt manner than whatoccurred that day.”

Yet only the day before deputy police commissioner Dave Owens said police number within the Richmond command were “above the authorised strength”.

That just doesn’t wash with Mr Smith, who said the rock- throwing boy hung around after the incident, giving police plenty of time to pick him up.

“The boy, who was between six or eight, doubled back to the skate park while we were waiting for police to turn up,” Mr Smith said yesterday.

“Some other kids then brought him over and he said ‘yeah I did it’.”

The Smiths’ concerns are supported by data in the latest police annual report.

It revealed the response times for urgent calls have jumped by 15 per cent and non-urgent calls by 40pc or 21 minutes.



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