Staff threats ‘won’t be tolerated’

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Police were called to three separate threat incidents on Thursday against government staff at WINZ, ACC and the Nelson City Council. Police are warning that such threats could carry serious consequences with a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.

In the first incident a 51 year old man threatened a staff member at the Nelson WINZ office. He was arrested for using threatening language and later released with a pre-charge warning.

In the second incident a 26 year old man threatened a staff member at Nelson City Council. He was arrested for behaving threateningly and also released with a pre-charge warning.

In the third incident a 46 year old man threatened a staff member at the Nelson ACC office. He was arrested and charged with threatening to kill and will appear in the Nelson District Court today.

Senior Sergeant Shane Miles says any threats against staff at any organisation were taken very seriously and Police would always respond appropriately.

People need to be aware that what they say in the heat of the moment, whether their intention is to carry out the threat or not, will be acted on.

Shane likened the expectation of people’s behaviour in public places and Government offices to the behaviour expected in airports.

“If you go into an airport and make silly comments you can expect that you won’t be getting on your flight. Across the board agencies are taking a very dim view of verbal threats and that is for good reason. Anyone who is employed to do a job should not expect to be subject to any sort of threat in the course of their work.”

He says the maximum penalty for threatening to kill was seven years imprisonment.