Safety in immigration detention centres

Reports in Fairfax papers that asylum seekers are mixing with violent criminals in immigration detention ignore the strong steps being taken to maintain centre security and protect vulnerable detainees.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) and its detention service providers take the safety and security of those in immigration detention facilities very seriously and any claims to the contrary are mischievous and offensive.

All detainees undergo a risk assessment prior to placement in the detention network. Multiple factors – including operational requirements, security and welfare issues – are carefully considered before each placement decision is made.

These placements are then reviewed regularly and high-risk detainees are transferred between detention facilities to decrease risk as needed.

Furthermore, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), of which the ABF is the operational arm, has recently established a Detention Capability Review Task Force, led by a Deputy Secretary. The Task Force is undertaking a fundamental review of the immigration detention network to provide assurance that it is strategically aligned, affordable, sustainable and supports capability needs now and in the future.

DIBP has also established a Detention Assurance Team (DAT), which commenced work on 10 November last year. The DAT monitors the effectiveness of standards in place for detention service providers, and recommends action to deal with credible allegations of misconduct.

This Task Force and the DAT, coupled with the recent launch of the ABF, and the passage of the ABF Act, will strengthen the ability of the ABF, the Department and service providers to maintain the good order of the immigration detention network.

Claims that a serious assault had left an Afghan asylum seeker “with partial use of his arm” relate to an incident which occurred in 2012. This matter was referred to police and the offender was convicted.

As in this case, the ABF will continue to apply the full force of the law to anyone disrupting the safety and security of the detention network.

Operation Safe Centres is another clear example of the direct action being taken against those who engage in illegal activities or display abusive and violent behaviour in detention.

Launched in March this year, the multi-agency Operation has seized illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia and numerous other prohibited items with the aim of ensuring all those who reside at, visit or work in immigration detention centres can feel safe and secure at all times.

For Media Enquiries: Media Operations – 02 6264 2244

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