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Police should Have Told Public: Hyde

POLICE Commissioner Mal Hyde has admitted police should have told the public about a sexual assault on two teenagers at Christies Beach three weeks ago.
In a statement released exclusively to The Advertiser yesterday, Mr Hyde said he was "concerned" at the delay and had ordered a report from senior officers.
"I am concerned about the report that the community was not advised about a sexual assault at Christies Downs last month until yesterday," he said in the statement. "Our policy clearly states that the safety of the community is the highest priority. Where there is an identified or potential public risk, the objective will be to release information to the media immediately.
"I understand that the primary reason for not releasing the information in this matter until yesterday was the need to clarify the description of the suspect.
"It appears, however, that the community could have and should have been advised sooner and I am obtaining a full report on the circumstances."
Mr Hyde said he understood from police that because a television reporter had been at the scene and spoken to police, this was seen as enough disclosure although the report did not go to air.
Police then waited almost three weeks to tell the public about the attempted rape at knifepoint of two schoolgirls just metres from schools.
Police said they only released details yesterday about the attempted rape of the two 14-year-old girls near the Christie Downs Primary School and Christies Beach High School because they were following up leads.
Christies Beach High School principal Paul Wilson would not comment on the attacks or police action on the complaints last night.
Mr Hyde made a personal guarantee four months ago that police would ensure the public were advised about active offenders in their neighbourhood.
The commitment was made in the wake of public outcry after police waited more than a month to release details about the rape of a 14-year-old boy in toilets of the Myer Centre, city, on June 21.
It follows several other incidents including:
A GIRL, 7, was abducted from a North East Rd shopping centre and sexually assaulted on Sunday, April 7, 2003- Police waited 48 hours to warn parents.
FOUR months went by with 11 girls assaulted before police informed the public about a man who was targeting young Vietnamese girls as they slept in their northern suburb homes. Police went to the media on May 21 - the first attack happened on January 27. The man attacked a further four times.
A 15-YEAR-OLD girl was raped in a popular Port Noarlunga park on May 26, 2003. Police took seven weeks to release details and an identikit image of attacker, insisting there "was no reason for parents to be alarmed".
FOUR women were indecently assaulted in the same stretch of Adelaide parkland. The attacks began on June 29, 2003. but police waited until July 17, 2003, to warn the public.

Adelaide Advertiser (9-11-2004)
Edith Bevin


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