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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Police chief defends response time
Carly Mattravers in her car outside her Bristol home
Miss Mattravers blocked the burglars in
A police chief has defended his officers over claims they took 45 minutes to help a woman who tried to trap burglars as they ransacked her home.

Carly Mattravers said she made three calls to Avon and Somerset Police after she saw burglars loading the family car with stolen goods at her house in Hambrook, Bristol.

The 19-year-old was forced to put her car across the gates of the house in a bid to stop them escaping.

Despite explaining the danger she was in during one of the calls to the police - that lasted 20 minutes - Miss Mattravers said officers did not arrive until it was too late.


Our operator was in contact with her, reassuring her and making arrangements

Chief Constable Steve Pilkington
Chief Constable Steve Pilkington told BBC Points West: "Carly Mattravers did an absolutely exceptional job there, but so did my police operator.

"If the family listened to this tape they'd have a different perspective on what took place.

"When you have an incident like that, people are nervous and frightened and they don't necessarily have a good recollection of what took place.

"Within two and a half minutes of that call, the offenders left the scene and we had police units all over that area of Bristol.

Terrifying experience

"Our operator was in contact with her, reassuring her and making arrangements."

But Miss Mattravers said she could not believe how long the officers took to respond.

Her mother Shirley, who was away on holiday at the time, said: "What's so terrifying is what might have happened to her.

'So brave'

"She'd have been better calling her friend, not the police, she could've responded much quicker.

"I think Carly was so brave to do what she did.

"She did everything right. If you dial 999 you expect the police to be there.

"We feel the police have let us down really badly."

Mr Pilkington said he was proud of the way his operators handled the call and said viewers would agree if they heard the recording.


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05 Jul 02 | England
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