25 May 2015

Police urged to change missing person reponses

5:10 pm on 25 May 2015

The father of a 21-year-old Hamilton man who drowned after he went missing from Waikato Hospital is calling for the police to change their response to missing persons reports.

Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre

Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre Photo: Supplied

Nicholas Stevens, a patient at the Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre, who had a history of self-harm, drowned in the Waikato River after being let out on an unsupervised smoking break in March.

His father Dave Macpherson said after seven weeks of poor communication with the police, he laid a complaint with the Independent Police Conduct Authority last Friday.

"We believe that unless they change their missing persons system, when people are missing from the facilities like the Henry Bennett Centre, that more deaths will happen because they have a system that doesn't prioritise cases like this."

Mr Macpherson said the police should be swinging into action when mental health patients are reported missing, like they do with young children and the elderly.

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