Polytech report shows safety issues

Otago Polytechnic has almost completed a review of its critical incident procedures, after identifying failings in a response to a person who turned up at the Dunedin School of Art allegedly brandishing a firearm.

An incident report released under an Official Information Act request showed issues contacting students and staff, delays notifying key staff, a breakdown in communication between police and staff and a CCTV camera not being operational.

Deputy chief executive for people and performance Associate Prof Megan Gibbons said the polytechnic considered the incident a learning experience, and had put a revised policy out to staff for consultation.

''I think it probably gave us the chance to see what our processes were,'' she said.

''Obviously staff react in a different way [in an actual emergency].

''One of the things that came up quite clearly was that we had lots of things in place ... but we hadn't practised them.''

The Otago Polytechnic Students' Association president reported students felt unsafe at the polytechnic after the incident, which happened shortly before 3pm, on July 18.

''An alleged armed person entered the art school and presented what is thought to be a gun, then pointing it at a wall and asking a staff member ... if he thought it was real,'' a document said.

The person left the area, and the staff member tried unsuccessfully to contact the Campus Cop, who covers the polytechnic and university area, before ringing the police.

Associate Prof Gibbons said at the time, the staff member had not believed the person had a gun.

The report said the incident revealed a ''lack of staff/learner awareness'' about the emergency 4177 text number, which was introduced as a way for polytechnic students and staff to receive emergency alerts after the Christchurch mosque shootings in March.

ShakeOut Day this Thursday would give the polytechnic another chance to see how well the text system worked, Associate Prof Gibbons said.

Various recommendations had been made to make the polytechnic campus safer, including stickers with the emergency text number to be more visible, and staff training exercises to be held at least twice a year.

''A desktop exercise will be held before the end of November, in conjunction with the University of Otago and police,'' a statement from the polytechnic said.

Police said yesterday no arrests had been made as a result of the incident.

elena.mcphee@odt.co.nz

Comments

A bit of a scare , but hunting the person, arresting and prosecution would be going overboard, as the person was just trying to determine whether fake guns and real guns look indistiguishable.

 

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