Security upgrade ‘a jail fail’
QUEENSLAND jail authorities are spending $80 million upgrading a perimeter monitoring system that is worse and less secure than the original, disgruntled officers have revealed.
The officers said they were not consulted on the new system, and its flaws could mean more security incidents going unnoticed, such as people throwing drugs over fences.
Control-room operators used to face cameras outside the jail to capture drug drops or security breaches, but they said the upgraded monitors only switched on if a perimeter fence was breached.
The upgrades included perimeter detection systems, cameras, lighting and digital recording systems.
“It’s absolute madness,” an officer said of the new system. “They were going on with some rubbish about information fatigue.
“They have downgraded the security, not increased it.
“The old system had more options and flexibility; you could bring up any zones, cameras, anything at will.”
Perimeter security had been beefed up over the years, such as when prisoner Brenden Abbott escaped from Wacol’s Sir David Longland jail in 1997.
But the Newman government reduced night dog squad operations, according to the Together Union, whose industrial services director, Michael Thomas, said the perimeter upgrade was “taking it backwards” even further.
“The people sitting behind a desk in Brisbane’s CBD, it appears they just assumed they knew better,” he said. “No one said, ‘well hang on, that’s not the way they are being used now, let’s do an analysis and talk to the people in master control who actually do the job’.”
Mr Thomas said Corrective Services had since agreed to allow wall monitors to show images even if a perimeter hadn’t been breached, but there was still major issues with the upgrade. An extra 32-inch monitor was also being installed, but it wasn’t as big as an existing screen.
A QCS spokeswoman said it was working with delegates to “come to an agreement to ensure a safe working environment for staff and the integrity of prison security”.