Police take action over 'significant' failings

Police have taken action against some of their own after failing to protect Katharine Webb and her children, but those involved have kept their jobs, Otago's top policeman has confirmed.

Southern District commander Superintendent Andrew Coster yesterday told the Otago Daily Times police failings highlighted during the inquest into the deaths of Bradley (9), Ellen (6) and their father Edward Livingstone had been dealt with internally.

He would not say how many officers were involved, or what actions were taken, other than to confirm no officers had been dismissed.

''Where any deficiencies have been identified in the police handling of the Livingstone case, these have been appropriately addressed with the members concerned.

''Police will not be publicly discussing the details of these employment matters except to say all members were found to have acted with good intent in their actions taken in this case,'' Supt Coster said.

His comments came after Supt Coster - speaking during last week's inquest - conceded there had been ''significant failures'' by police in their duty of care to Ms Webb and her children.

That included failing to record and investigate bullet cartridges given to the children by Livingstone, ostensibly as a present.

They also failed to appropriately follow up on Ms Webb's disclosure that Livingstone had trapped her in her room and raped her for five hours, at times while her distraught daughter banged on the bedroom door.

Police also granted Livingstone diversion for breaching the protection order, which was against national policing policy.

He declined to ''speculate'' at the inquest about whether police could have prevented the deaths, but emphasised police were ''well-intentioned'' in their care of Ms Webb.

''Police are 100% committed to protecting victims and this is a really tragic case but we can't change what happened,'' he told the inquest.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

 

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